Walnut Pesto Margherita Pizza

Ever since Noah took up sourdough bread baking about a year ago, homemade pizza has become a serious addiction and not something that we take lightly anymore. He has delved deep into the pages of Tartine’s self-named book to learn the art of making a perfect sourdough pizza crust and when we need a quick overnight version he follows the recipe found in Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. Both crusts are delicious, but I have to say that the sourdough one wins out because of its complex flavors developed over days of natural fermentation.

Whichever crust we use, our pizza nights have grown to involve at least 5 or 6 mounds of soft, pillowy pizza dough waiting to be stretched out (not rolled) on our limited counter space. The rest of the counter space is scattered with various toppings. Very rarely do two pizzas get the same topping treatment because that's boring and we like to be creative. One of our favorite pizza concoctions is this Walnut Pesto Margherita Pizza with beautiful heirloom tomatoes, toasted walnuts, and freshly made basil pesto. It’s not the most traditional Margherita pizza, but it’s arguably just as delicious. 

// Walnut Pesto Margherita Pizza // makes 2 pizzas
As mentioned above, we like to use homemade pizza doughs, but if you don't have the time (or energy) feel free to use store-bought ones. The heirloom tomatoes are non-negotiable, though.  

For the Walnut Pesto:
1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups packed basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan, shredded

~ 1 lb heirloom tomatoes, depending on how big pizza crusts are, sliced into 1/4" rounds
8 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup walnuts (not toasted)
1/2 cup packed basil leaves, julienned
2 homemade or store-bought pizza crusts

1. Preheat oven to 550 with pizza stone inside. Let preheat for at least 30 minutes

2. To make the pesto, place the walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, basil, salt, and black pepper in a food processor. Process for about 1 minute or until ingredients are roughly chopped, scraping down sides as you go. While motor is running, slowly add olive oil in a thin stream. Process for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides again, until pesto is smooth. Transfer pesto to a bowl and fold in parmesan

3. To assemble pizzas, roll out dough on floured surface to desired thickness and place on a lightly floured pizza peel. Spread about 1/4 cup of pesto over dough (amount depends on size of pizza crust). Top with half of the tomato slices, goat cheese, and walnuts. Slide pizza onto baking stone in oven and bake for 6-7 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown. Turn oven to high broil and bake for another 2 minutes. Remove from oven and repeat for second pizza. Garnish with basil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  Eat!