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Pizza’s with Homemade Pesto and Tomato Sauce

16 November 2020

We went for a walk over the canals this Saturday, and although we’re in semi-lockdown it was still super busy. It was around 18h00, so the take-away smells were coming from all sides and when we smelt pizza I knew I was going to make that the next day.

This pizza dough recipe is the best I’ve made so far. It does need 2 hours to rise and another 20 minutes to rest, but I assure you it’s worth it. I like my pizzas thin and crispy and rob likes them slightly fluffy and a thicker crust. This dough is the best of both worlds.

I made 2 versions:
Tomato sauce, pesto, mozzarella and ansjovis (leave out if you want to keep it vegetarian, or replace with olives for example)
Tomato sauce, fennel & Aji lemon chili sausage, mushrooms and rucola

Both the tomato sauce and pesto I made quickly myself, but your can use store bought if you prefer. For the sausage I used pork sausage and mixed through the Aji chili (@jonz_amsterdam ) and crushed fennel seeds.

Pizza dough recipe from @anitalianinmykitchen

Pizza's with Homemade Pesto and Tomato Sauce

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Dinner, lunch Italian
By Saffron Serves: 2-3
Prep Time: 2.5 hours (incl. rising + resting time) Cooking Time: 15 minutes per pizza Total Time: 3 hours


  • Pizza Dough
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tspsugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 1/4 cups all purpose flour or bread flour (680 grams)
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • Toppings
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella
  • Tomato sauce, store bought or homemade (see below)
  • 2 tbsp pesto, store bought or homemade (see below)
  • 10 slices ansjovis
  • Handful sliced chestnut mushrooms
  • Handful rucola / arugula
  • 1 plain pork sausage (or store bought fennel sausage)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 chili (optional)
  • Olive oil to drizzle
  • Pepper & salt to season
  • Any other ingredients that you love on pizza
  • Pesto (this makes a small batch of about 1/2 a cup)
  • Handful of basil leaves, I used about 3/4 of a store bought plant. Leaves and stems.
  • ±80g parmesan
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (don't add all at once, keep some aside to adjust thickness to your liking)
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts or almond flour (I didn't have any pine nuts, almond or walnuts work well too).
  • 0.5 garlic clove, or more if you want it really garlicky
  • Pepper & salt to taste
  • Tomato pizza sauce
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Pepper & salt to taste


Pizza dough (15 minutes making dough, 2 hours and 20 minutes rising and resting)


I made it by hand, but of course you can also use a mixer.


In a large bowl add warm water then add yeast and sugar, let sit for 5 minutes, then stir to combine.


Add the olive oil, flour and salt, then mix until the dough starts to come together.


On a lightly floured surface remove dough from the bowl and knead until dough is smooth and elastic approximately 10 minutes (if dough is really sticky add a little extra flour).


Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a large clean kitchen towel, leave in a warm spot for 2 hours.


Pre heat the oven for a minimum of 30 minutes to 260°C celsius (if your oven doesn't go that high then just as high as possible, it might take a bit longer to bake the.


Punch dough down a few times and divide into 3 balls, let dough rest for 20 minutes.


When ready to make the pizza's: Place dough in desired pizza or cookie sheets (lightly oiled) and fit dough into desired shapes. Use your hands and not a rolling pin, the rolling pin will flatten the air bubbles out which you need to keep the crust nice and light.

Pesto (7 minutes)


To a blender add the basil, parmesan, nuts, 1 tbsp olive oil, and garlic. Blend until smooth, you might need to scrape down the sides now and then.


Add more olive oil to get to desired thickness and texture.


If too wet, you can add more nuts / almond flour.


Taste and season with pepper and salt.

Tomato pizza sauce (5 minutes chopping, 20 minutes cooking)


In a small saucepan sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant and translucent, ± 2 minutes.


Add the oregano and tomato past and cook for 3 minutes.


Add the tin of tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes open with the back of a wooden spoon.


Let simmer for 15 minutes.


Taste and season with sugar, salt and pepper.


Blitz with a handheld mixer until smooth.


Set aside until later use.

Sausage (5 minutes)


Remove the casing from the sausage.


Grind the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar and add to the sausage meat, mix well.


For extra spice add chili flakes or finely chopped fresh chili.


Before adding to the pizza dust the pieces pf sausage meat with some flour, this will help them crips up even better in the oven.

Making the pizza's


Now it's time to add the toppings to the pizza. Start with the tomato sauce and then add the rest.


Watch out with the fresh mozzarella: less is more in this instance. It really melts well and spreads out over the whole pizza, so you don't need huge amounts.


Bakes for 15 minutes until the edges are turning nice and brown and the toppings are bubbling and melting.


To roll out the pizza dough use your hands and not a rolling pin, the rolling pin will flatten the air bubbles out which you need to keep the crust nice and light.

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