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Pizza with Pesto, Fresh Tomatoes and Mozzarella


  • 6 ounces grated fresh mozzarella (about 1‚ cups)
  • 3 plum tomatoes
  • 1 pound pizza dough (thawed if frozen)
  • all-purpose flour for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto

Special equipment:

  • a large pizza stone (at least 14 inches across)
  • a baker’s peel


At least 1 hour before baking pizza, set stone on lowest rack of oven (if you have a gas stove, stone can go directly on oven floor) and preheat oven to 500°F.

Coarsely grate mozzarella and cut tomatoes crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. On a floured surface with your hands pat out and stretch dough evenly into a 12-inch round, keeping hands flat. (Do not handle dough more than necessary. If dough is sticky, dust it lightly with flour.)

Dust baker’s peel with flour and carefully transfer inch round. Jerk peel once or twice and, if dough is sticking, lift dough and sprinkle flour underneath it, reshaping dough if necessary. Spread pesto over dough leaving a 1-inch border and sprinkle with cheese. Arrange tomato slices over cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Line up far edge of peel with far edge of stone and tilt peel, jerking it gently to start pizza moving. Once edge of pizza touches stone, quickly pull back peel to completely transfer pizza to stone. Bake pizza until dough is crisp and brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, and transfer with peel to a cutting board.

Cut pizza into slices and serve immediately.

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