Italian Pesto

Instead, a generous portion of prosciutto, large chunks of mozzarella, a variety of hand-picked herbs and greens such as rosemary, basil, arugula, and capers. Eggplant, garlic, and green peppers are also popular Italian choices for pizza toppings. Traditionally, Italian pizzas are hearty, flavorful, and savory. One of the key misconceptions about Italian pizza is that it is served like a thick cake, deep-dish style. In fact, the crust is one of the most important components of the meal and is traditionally thin but has a fluffy consistency. Pesto (Italian: [ˈpesto], Ligurian: [ˈpestu]), or to refer to the original dish pesto alla genovese (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpesto alla dʒenoˈveːse, -eːze]), is a sauce originating in Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy. Fresh mozzarella should be your standard go-to cheese for pizza. This style of mozzarella cheese is the classic Italian pizza cheese and its minimal processing offers up a fresh taste with a light and creamy texture. Modern pizza evolved from similar flatbread dishes in Naples, Italy, in the 18th or early 19th century. Pizza was mainly eaten in Italy and by emigrants from there. This changed after World War II when Allied troops stationed in Italy came to enjoy pizza along with other Italian foods.
To me, a good pesto pizza should have bold pesto flavor. I don’t want it to taste faintly of basil, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil—I want those flavors to bowl me over. The key is to spread a generous layer of pesto over the pizzas before baking, and then top them with more pesto when they come out of the oven. Not only do these pizzas taste very “pesto-y,” they also look gorgeous and feel a little more special than your typical pizza pie.
I’ve given instructions for homemade pizza dough below but don’t feel obligated to make it; store-bought pizza dough works beautifully and makes this recipe totally doable on a weeknight. Same goes for the pesto — if you want to make it from scratch, use this recipe, but store-bought works well, too (I like Mama’s pesto from Whole Foods). Italian pizza at home? For over 10 years, Alex and I have been studying the art of homemade artisan pizza. We’ve even taken a few trips to Italy to bring back secrets from Rome and Naples. Want to make the best homemade pizza crust and pizza sauce? Want to bake it just right on a blazing hot pizza stone? We’ll show you how to do it all. Let’s make Italian pizza together!
Before we start: what is real Italian pizza? American-style delivery pizza is nothing like Italian pizza. But just like any popular food, there are different styles of Italian pizza based on region and method. For example:
In Rome: There’s a Roman pizza chef called Bonci who’s made a name for himself making rectangular thick crust pizza with incredible bright colored toppings (see our Rome post!).
In Naples: Naples is the birth place of pizza itself, and here the pizza crust is thin and supple! It’s covered in tangy tomatoes, often a simple pizza margherita.