Pesto and Mushroom Pizza

Vegetarian Pesto Pizza

Introduction

We could argue all day about whether the UK's national dish is shepherd’s pie, fish and chips or chicken tikka masala, but what we do know for certain is that the Brits will eat, on average, over 730 pizzas in their lifetime, spending almost £10,000 for the privilege.

Our recipe is designed for pizza novices - and as long as you follow it to the letter, you should hit the spot first time with no burnt crusts, raw dough or soggy bottoms.

Pro tip
Impress your bread-making friends by referring to the second knead as “knocking back”.

Recommended equipment
Pizza stone or tray
Pizza peel
Pizza cutter
Precision, medium-weight digital scales
Precision, small-weight digital scales

Ingredients for one 10-inch thin crust pizza

'00' white bread flour 110g (plus more for dusting)
Tepid water 70g
Semolina 20g
Olive oil 7g
Sugar 3g
Yeast 2g
Salt 1g

Toppings

 Mozzarella 125g (1 ball)
Tinned mushrooms 150g (1 small tin)
Cherry tomatoes 100g
Pesto 50g

Method
Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, flour and semolina and sift onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the middle and pour in the tepid water and olive oil.

Mix with a fork in a circular motion until the dough starts to come together. Ditch the fork and knead with your hands for 3-4 minutes until you have a smooth, springy ball of dough.

Dust a large bowl with some more flour and place the dough in it. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in the warmest part of your kitchen for at least an hour, during which time it should double in size.

Give the dough another quick knead (“knocking back” as it’s called in the trade) and roll the dough into a broadly circular 10-inch shape. Transfer the dough to an oiled pizza tray (if you have one) and spread the pesto all over, making sure to go right up to the edges.

Add your toppings, followed by the mozzarella. Crank your oven as high as it will go - preferably at least 240°C - and cook until the dough is cooked and the mozzarella is bubbling, about 8-12 minutes.

Serving suggestions
Brussel sprouts Caesar salad with garlic breadcrumbs
One-skillet kale with lemon zest
Slow cooker spinach and leaks with crème fraiche
Creamy dill and sweet potato salad
Cannellini beans with olives and parsley