Cast-Iron Margherita Pizza with Pesto Drizzle

Cast Iron Margherita Pizza with Pesto Drizzle
I’ve gotten hooked on a wood-fired pizza joint down on the island; and, they have a margherita pizza with a pesto drizzle that is to-die-for! Well, you know me, I had to come home and make my own version. My way is to make the pizza in a cast-iron skillet! Yes, you read that right; I did, indeed, say cast-iron skillet.

I cannot live without my cast-iron skillets. I use them for everything from pancakes, to biscuits, to steaks, and even to pizza! Why is cast-iron so awesome for pizza? The skillet makes the pizza crust so crispy and delicious.

You can bake just about any kind of pizza in a cast-iron skillet, but my favorite pizza is a margherita pizza. Basil is my favorite herb, and nothing pairs better with basil than fresh tomatoes. To make the pizza even better, we’ve got a Pecan Spinach Basil Pesto to drizzle all-over the top after the pizza has baked!

Let’s get this pizza going!

Pecan Spinach Basil Pesto Ingredients:
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
10 basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup pecans
¼ cup grated asiago or parmesan cheese
Pinch of salt and pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Spinach Pesto Ingredients

Combine all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Spinach-Basil Pesto

Blend until the ingredients come together. You may have to stop the blender or food processor and scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula a couple of times.

Bowl of Pecan Spinach Basil Pesto

Pour the pesto into a bowl and set aside. Makes about ¾ cup of pesto (amount can vary).

Margherita Pizza Ingredients:
1 lb fresh pizza dough rolled out to 12 inches in diameter (or to fit the cast-iron skillet, my skillet is a 12 inch skillet; if you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, you can make the pizza using a pizza stone instead)
½ to ¾ cup canned crushed tomatoes
½ cup freshly chopped tomatoes
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ tsp dried basil
Prepared Spinach Basil Pesto (see recipe above)

 

Fresh Bakery Pizza Dough

I’m very lucky to live near a grocery store that sells fresh pizza dough. It comes in a package that looks like this, and it’s even already rolled out for me. I have seen other grocery stores sell balls of fresh pizza dough that you have to roll out, which is fine too.

Par Bake Pizza Dough in Cast Iron

BEFORE preheating the oven and skillet, I make sure the pizza dough will fit into the skillet. You can trim around the edges if you need to. If you have a little bit of dough coming up the sides, that’s okay, it’s like a deep-dish style. Remove the pizza dough and set the dough aside (flat on a surface that it won’t stick to.)

Par Baked Pizza Dough

Preheat the cast-iron skillet and oven together to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven and skillet has reached temperature, remove the skillet (remember to use your oven mitts!) from the oven and using tongs or a spatula, carefully lay the pizza dough into the skillet. Poke holes in the dough with a fork to help prevent the dough from puffing up during baking. Par-bake the crust for about 5-8 minutes.

 

Using your oven mitts, remove the skillet with the pizza dough from the oven. It’s time to put the toppings on!

Tomato Sauce on Pizza Dough

Using a spoon or ladle, spread the crushed tomatoes onto the dough evenly.

Mozzarella Cheese on Pizza

Sprinkle the cheese over the crushed tomatoes.

Fresh Tomatoes and Basil on Pizza

Distribute the fresh chopped tomatoes on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the dried basil evenly on the pizza.

Cast Iron Margherita Pizza

Return the pizza to the oven and continue to bake for about 15-18 minutes or until the cheese is melted, brown and bubbly. (Baking times may vary.)

Margherita Pizza with Pesto Drizzle

Remove the Margherita pizza from the oven using your oven mitts! Drizzle the Pecan Spinach Basil Pesto on top of the pizza. You can use as much or as little as you like.
*You can freeze any remaining pesto.

Ready to slice Margherita Pizza

If you’re brave, you can carefully transfer the pizza, using a spatula (or two) from the skillet to a cutting board for easier slicing. I like to use Jon’s giant grilling spatula to make the transfer. This is, of course, an optional step. Just remember that cast-iron stays hot for a long while, so use caution.


 


 

 

Cast-Iron Margherita Pizza with Pesto Drizzle

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 8 pizza slices

Delicious Margherita-style pizza baked in a cast-iron skillet and topped with a Pecan Spinach Basil Pesto
Ingredients
  • Pecan Spinach Basil Pesto Ingredients:
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup grated asiago or parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Margherita Pizza Ingredients:
  • 1 lb fresh pizza dough rolled out to 12 inches in diameter (or to fit the cast-iron skillet, my skillet is a 12 inch skillet; if you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, you can make the pizza using a pizza stone instead)
  • ½ to ¾ cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup freshly chopped tomatoes
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • Prepared Spinach Basil Pesto (see recipe above)
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender.
  2. Blend until the ingredients come together. You may have to stop the blender or food processor and scrape the sides down with a rubber spatula a couple of times.
  3. Pour the pesto into a bowl and set aside. Makes about ¾ cup of pesto (amount can vary).
  4. BEFORE preheating the oven and skillet, I make sure the pizza dough will fit into the skillet. You can trim around the edges if you need to. If you have a little bit of dough coming up the sides, that’s okay, it’s like a deep-dish style. Remove the pizza dough and set the dough aside (flat on a surface that it won’t stick to.)
  5. Preheat the cast-iron skillet and oven together to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven and skillet has reached temperature, remove the skillet (remember to use your oven mitts!) from the oven and using tongs or a spatula, carefully lay the pizza dough into the skillet. Poke holes in the dough with a fork to help prevent the dough from puffing up during baking. Par-bake the crust for about 5-8 minutes.
  6. Using your oven mitts, remove the skillet with the pizza dough from the oven. It’s time to put the toppings on!
  7. Using a spoon or ladle, spread the crushed tomatoes onto the dough evenly.
  8. Sprinkle the cheese over the crushed tomatoes.
  9. Distribute the fresh chopped tomatoes on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the dried basil evenly on the pizza.
  10. Return the pizza to the oven and continue to bake for about 15-18 minutes or until the cheese is melted, brown and bubbly. (Baking times may vary.)
  11. Remove the Margherita pizza from the oven using your oven mitts! Drizzle the Pecan Spinach Basil Pesto on top of the pizza. You can use as much or as little as you like.
  12. *You can freeze any remaining pesto.
  13. If you’re brave, you can carefully transfer the pizza, using a spatula (or two) from the skillet to a cutting board for easier slicing. I like to use Jon’s giant grilling spatula to make the transfer. This is, of course, an optional step. Just remember that cast-iron stays hot for a long while, so use caution.

 

2 comments for “Cast-Iron Margherita Pizza with Pesto Drizzle

  1. April 22, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    That pesto seriously has me drooling. And my pizza cravings are now through the roof. Looks like this is getting added to the Campbell menu ASAP!

  2. April 22, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    Looks great. Homemade pizza is pretty awesome, thanks for sharing

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