It’s the summer of simple joys.
Without the usual distractions and getaways, it’s been a time to relish the little things. For me, that’s meant really ripe baskets of strawberries at the market, FaceTiming with my mom for longer than usual, and refreshing my balcony so I have a cozy outdoor escape for when I start to feel stir-crazy. It’s been about staying up too late with my bedside table books and savoring slow mornings with a walk and coffee. I’m trying to focus on what I’m grateful for and use this time to learn in new ways to keep things exciting.
Because I’m quarantining alone, I know firsthand how easy it is to get into a recipe rut. I know what works and what I can quickly toss together – with minimal dishes – which, as a result, means my curbside pickup order has basically become a repetitive bore. Don’t get me wrong, I love avocado toast for dinner as much as the next person. But to get myself excited to go back into the kitchen and play with flavors, I need to mix things up. Now’s the perfect time to learn a new dish and add a twist to old favorites. And nothing is a more perfect canvas to highlight seasonal ingredients and punches of flavor than PIZZA.
This pizza combo screams summer. I love anything that leans on a sweet and savory pairing, and this ‘za does exactly that. You get the mellow herbaceous flavor from the pesto, a little salty and creamy bite from the mozzarella, sweetness from the amazing summer peaches that are in season right now, and the luscious tang from balsamic glaze. Dare I call it the perfect combination?
And like everyone else who is over doing dishes, I’ve leaned on some hacks to minimize the amount of effort it takes to pull together an amazing pizza like this with maximum flavor.
For the crust, you can totally make yours homemade – this recipe makes for a great homemade dough – but if yeast is still hard to find for you, a lot of grocery stores or your favorite pizza place that could use your support have pizza dough available for sale! I personally love ordering fresh dough from my favorite takeout spot for the ease of prep and the amazing flavor and texture they create. There’s no shame in letting the professionals handle some things.
Next up, the pesto. I’m personally not a fan of store-bought shelf-stable pesto. It’s never quite bright enough in flavor for me. But because I don’t have a giant basil plant at home, I’ve got a couple options to zhuzh up the jarred option. Depending on the flavor, you can brighten up the sauce by just adding the pesto into a food processor with a bunch of fresh basil, a little extra olive oil, and a little parm. Of course, if your garden is overflowing with basil, capture the flavor of summer with your own version!
I used some burrata I had on hand to top everything off, which I love for its rich and creamy texture. Note that burrata might let off a little extra moisture in the oven than a regular mozzarella might, but it doesn’t make too much of a difference. The mildness of a mozzarella is perfect to pair with the sweetness of the peaches. Pick up a nice, ripe peach, slice it thin, and top off the pizza before sticking the pie in the oven. Twenty minutes later, you’ve got a crunchy golden crust that you drizzle with a thick balsamic glaze and voila!
Whether you’re slicing up this pizza for yourself or your loved ones, I know this will be a new favorite. Here’s to a summer of simple pizza-filled moments!
- 1 ball of pizza dough
- 1/2 cup of basil pesto
- 1 - 2 small peaches, thinly sliced
- 4oz of burrata or mozzarella
- a big handful of fresh basil, chopped
- balsamic glaze to drizzle
- salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and set aside.
- Roll out pizza dough to desired shape. I prefer a crust about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick.
- Place the rolled dough on the sheet tray. Spread the pesto out into an even layer on the crust. Add the sliced peaches and cheese on top.
- Place the tray into the oven and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes until the crust is lightly golden and the cheese has melted. Broil for additional 3 - 5 minutes for darker crust and charred top.
- Remove pizza from oven and let cool slightly.
- Top pizza with chopped basil, balsamic glaze, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.
- Slice and enjoy!
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