Traditional and Pesto Pizzas (Updated)


January 17, 2012 by Sara Kreidler

Don’t get me wrong, take out pizza is great, and we will still order from Pesaro’s across the street from time to time, I’m sure.  But homemade pizza is really simple to make, and it’s so darn tasty.  The kids got a huge kick out of it too — and they especially loved my “I make-a-da-pizza” song.  Sadly, you don’t get to hear it, but let’s just say that I am a totally awesome singer, and my impromptu songs in the kitchen are EPIC.

We mae one “traditional” (red sauce, shredded mozzarella) pizza, and one pesto pizza.  Owen loved both (as did the grown ups) and Oona only liked the red pizza.  Still, a total hit. We’ll definitely be making more pizza soon.

The recipe for the dough is adapted from Jamie Oliver, who kneads his dough by hand.  I am lazy and used my KitchenAid stand mixer with the bread hook attachment.  If you don’t have a stand mixer, or if you just prefer to do it by hand, click the link above to the original recipe for instructions.


For the dough

Please note that this pizza dough recipe yields 4 large pizzas; I made two pizzas and wrapped and froze the other two pieces of dough for later use.

  • 7 cups King Arthur flour
  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water

For the traditional pizza

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 quart canned tomatoes in their juices
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ½ cups grated mozzarella cheese

For the pesto pizza

  • ½ cup pesto (I still have a stash of frozen pesto from last year)
  • 3 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1  large balls of fresh mozzarella, patted dry and sliced


  1. Combine the King Arthur flour, semolina flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer and use your hands to mix well.  Attach the bread hook to the mixer.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the water, yeast, sugar and olive oil and mix well with a fork.  Leave the mixture stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly pour the water and yeast mixture into the flour mixture.  Mix until a smooth, springy dough is achieved, about 1 minute.
  4. Remove the dough from the mixer and use your hands to shape it into a ball.  Sprinkle the bottom of a clean bowl with flour and place the ball of dough in the bowl.  Cover the bowl of dough with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about 1 hour (the dough will double in size).
  5. While the dough is proofing, make the red sauce for the traditional pizza.  Heat the olive oil in a medium sized sauce pot over medium high flame.  Add the garlic and onion and cook until soft.  Add the tomatoes and stir well to combine.  Using a stick blender, blend the sauce until smooth.  Add oregano, basil, salt and pepper and mix well to combine.  Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  The sauce will reduce substantially.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer the dough from the bowl to a flour-dusted surface and divide into four equal pieces; each piece will make one large pizza.  Place one piece of dough on the floured surface and press down on it to form a disc.  Punch the disc with you fist to help work the air bubbles out of the dough.  Repeat with the other three pieces of dough. At this point, you can either proceed with the rest of the recipe, or you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge or freezer for later use.
  7. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough until it is very thin (I made two large, round pizzas, but you could make square or rectangle shaped pizzas just the same).  Place the rolled out dough on your pizza pan or pizza stone, and use a fork to make perforate the dough all over – you don’t want deep gouges, just small pricks in the dough to help prevent air bubbles from forming while the pizza bakes.
  8. To make the traditional pizza, ladle red sauce onto one of the pizzas, adding sauce slowly and spreading it evenly around the dough (note: depending upon how saucy you like your pizza, you may not need to use all of the sauce; I only used about 2/3 of the sauce I made and I saved the leftover for later use).  Sprinkle cheese over the sauce.
  9. To make the pesto pizza, spoon the pesto onto the other pizza and spread it around evenly.  Lay slices of tomato over the pesto, and then top with layers of sliced fresh mozzarella.
  10. Bake pizzas for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbling.  Remove from oven, slice and serve.

2 thoughts on “Traditional and Pesto Pizzas (Updated)

  1. […] intimidates me (although I’ve grown quite comfortable with making fresh pasta dough and my pizza dough turned out nicely too).  But the galette dough actually wasn’t too hard to make, it rolled […]

  2. […] few months ago I made some pizza dough using the recipe in this earlier post and froze the extra rounds, one of which I thawed and used here; if you don’t have pizza […]

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