Pizza night: pesto trapanese pizza with mozzarella and sausage.

Pizza with pesto Trapanese, mozzarella, and sausage

Pizza is not something we make often during the summer because we try to avoid turning the oven on high for long periods of time, but with the weather not being so swampy or hot over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, we decided that Friday would be the perfect night to have the first pizza night in what seemed like ages. I had the idea of putting some pesto Trapanese on one pie instead of doing either a canned tomato sauce or just using fresh tomatoes on their own, and then Michael decided that the thick slab bacon and baby leeks usually available at the Teet would do well for the second one.

Bacon and Baby Leek Pizza with Asiago

I’ve always liked the though of using pesto as a pizza sauce, but I’ve also been concerned that doing so would turn the otherwise vibrantly green herb-based pestoes into, well, less-attractive versions of themselves from prolonged exposure to heat. The pesto Trapanese with its tomato and almond base is a much better solution if you ask me, as both of those ingredients benefit from exposure to heat, and while the mint probably loses some of its green vivacity its flavor doesn’t suffer much at all. With some sausage and mozzarella slices on top, you have one pretty summer-friendly and kickass pizza on your hands.

The key to getting it right, though, is to make sure your pesto is on the chunkier side. I was lazy and threw in whole tomatoes (seeds and all) after coring them, and this definitely made the sauce far too watery; I drained some of that by putting the sauce through a sieve and the texture was just what we needed. You could avoid this by coring and seeding your tomatoes before combining them with the other ingredients, of course. I also prefer making this with an immersion blender rather than a regular blender, because I can control how much all of the ingredients are processed with greater ease, and when texture is a major consideration control is essential.

Sausage and Pesto Trapanese Pizza

  • One half of my trusted dough recipe
  • 1 1/2 cups pesto Trapanese, drained of excess liquid
  • 2 links sausage (we used a combination of hot and sweet Italian-style sausage)
  • 1 small ball mozzarella, sliced
  • Corn meal, for dusting

Preheat the oven to as hot as you possibly can. Obviously, this will vary by ovens, so at minimum try to go for 475 degrees.

Place the mozzarella on paper towels on a plate to drain, and cover with additional paper towels to help wick away as much moisture as possible.

Meanwhile, start stretching the dough out on a clean cutting board, and then lay it on either a baking sheet or a baking steel/stone lined with cornmeal. Dot with a fork and bake it for about five or six minutes, then add on the sauce, cheese, and sausage and bake until the top of the crust gets golden brown and the cheese is nice and melted. Let rest for a couple of minutes out of the oven, and then slice into pieces and serve.


14 Comments Add yours

  1. Darya says:

    Oh, I love pesto trapanese! It’s one of my favorite variations around pesto. Love the idea of using it as a pizza base. And sausage on pizza is wonderful!

    1. elizabeth says:

      I make pesto trapanese all the time during this time of year because it’s such a great way to enjoy fresh tomatoes in sauce-form. And you’re right–sausage+pizza=delicious.

  2. Both look terrific. My next door neighbor just installed a pizza oven, so this is timely. What else is on the bacon and leek?

    1. elizabeth says:

      Shallots, asiago cheese, some salt, and some olive oil and probably a little bacon fat. 🙂

  3. Brianne says:

    That pesto sounds awesome. Mint and tomatoes?! I mean, really. We had pizza this weekend, too–we’re trying to master grilled pizza and just can’t, so blasting the oven will have to suffice for now. It’s worth the heat to avoid another grilling disaster 😛

    1. elizabeth says:

      I don’t think it’s streaming anywhere save for Amazon (where you can buy it), but Good Eats’s “Flat is Beautiful V” is all about the grilled pizza and if you haven’t seen it check out the transcript:

      (The person or people who put up all of those transcripts are SAINTS.)

  4. I’m kinda with you–life is too short to peel and seed tomatoes. 🙂 It’s been raining here for 3 days straight–definitely pizza weather.

    1. elizabeth says:

      Oh, most definitely then–rainy weather definitely calls for pizza.

  5. Dana Fashina says:

    This looks so yummy Liz!!
    You know I’ve been wanting to do pesto pizza for a while but it is hot and HUMID here so I’m gonna have to wait this idea out a bit.
    Pizza is general is such a fun thing to make and so Fn colorful, ugh.
    Fall time. My time for pizza is the fall, sigh.

    You always leave such great tips when you cook, and now I don’t have to look for a pizza dough recipe. haaaaay!

    1. elizabeth says:

      Yeah–definitely don’t try to work the oven when it’s humid. I was baking chicken yesterday which was a huge mistake (except the chicken was delicious when it was done) because I was such a sweaty mess just standing in our kitchen.

      The dough recipe is a good one–Jim Lahey is a freaking genius. You might have to play with it slightly (adding more water or flour) depending on the humidity or dryness of your kitchen.

      1. Dana Fashina says:

        Don’t you hate it when that happens?
        When by the time you exit the kitchen you need another shower.
        God – why don’t we have central air????I I swear if my apt wasn’t so awesome, I’d move out so FN fast…

        Good to know about the dough, thank you!

  6. emma says:

    You just taught me a new word. I’ve never heard of trapanese before, and it sure sounds tasty.

    I was hunting around for a winter hat this morning. It’s never going to not be chilly here, I’m convinced.

    1. elizabeth says:

      It’s a Sicilian pesto–I first found it (I think) through Lidia Bastianich, and then used the recipe as found in Made in Sicily, and now every summer I look forward to the tomatoes being good enough to make it. What I really like about it is that it tastes really good even without garlic, so I make it for my half-Sicilian MIL who can’t eat garlic (I know that sounds really strange!).

  7. shannon says:

    both of those pizzas look PHENOMENAL. We’re the same in the summer: less pizza, because less oven is always a good thing when it’s 100 degrees out.

    Clearly, I’d make an exception for either of these. Especially for that whole bacon/leek/asiago situation you have going on there.

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