Pizza Noci e Zucchini (Walnut Pesto and Zucchini Pizza)
Creamy walnut sauce is paired with golden pan-fried zucchini and smoked mozzarella on this Neapolitan pizza. This recipe first appeared in our May 2013 issue with Keith Pandolfi’s article The Gold of Naples.
- 1 1⁄2 cups walnut halves
- 3 tbsp. grated Parmesan
- 1 cup olive oil, plus more
- 1⁄3 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1⁄2 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1 recipe Naples-style pizza dough
- Fine semolina, for dusting
- 1 lb. smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 16 fresh basil leaves
- 16 squash blossoms (optional)
- Puree walnuts, Parmesan, 1⁄3 cup oil, cream, and salt in a food processor until smooth. Heat remaining oil, plus chile flakes in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and salt; cook until golden, 8-10 minutes.
- Place a pizza stone under the broiler; heat for 30 minutes. Working in 4 batches, dust 1 ball dough with semolina. Using your fingertips, press dough into a 10″ circle about 1⁄4” thick, leaving a 1″ crust around the edges. Hold dough straight up, and with fingertips circling crust, slide fingers around crust in a circular motion as you would turn a steering wheel until dough in the center is stretched to about 1⁄8” thick; transfer to a semolina-dusted pizza peel. Spread 1⁄2 cup walnut sauce over dough and distribute a quarter each of the zucchini, cheese, basil leaves, and squash blossoms, if using; drizzle with oil. Slide pizza onto stone; bake until cheese melts and crust is puffed and charred in spots, 3-4 minutes. Serve hot.