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Pizzette with Arugula Pesto and Casciotta d'Urbino


For the dough

1 cups/360 ml lukewarm water
oz/2.5 g active dry yeast
tsp salt
tsp sugar
3 cups/440 g all-purpose plain flour
5 tbsp/75 ml extra-virgin olive oil

For the pesto

3 cups/90 g (packed) wild arugula/rocket leaves
cup/25 g freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
cup/60 ml extra-virgin olive oil

For the pizzette

Coarse cornmeal
2 cups/340 g toy box or cherry tomatoes, halved
18 oz/510 g casciotta d'urbino or fresh pecorino cheese, sliced 2 mm thick
Crushed red chillies


Makes: 12


To prepare the dough: Place the water in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on the surface of the water, along with the salt and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes to dissolve and then add half of the flour. Stir to form a very wet and sticky starter dough. Place a kitchen towel over the bowl and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. When the dough has rested and risen by about a third, add the remaining flour along with 3 tbsp of the olive oil. Stir to combine and then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it is sticky but has a spring to the touch. Divide the dough into twelve balls and place them next to each other on a baking sheet/tray greased with 1 tbsp of the oil. Rub the dough balls with the remaining olive oil. Cover and let rest for another hour.

To prepare the pesto: Place the arugula/rocket and the pecorino in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Purée, adding the olive oil in a steady stream until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

To assemble the pizzette: Preheat the oven to 500°F/ 260°C/gas 10. Remove all racks and place a pizza stone or inverted 16 x 12 in/40.5 x 30.5cm baking sheet/tray on the oven floor. Working with one ball at a time, turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and, using your fingertips and palms of your hands, gently stretch each bailout into a circle 6 in/15 cm in diameter. Scatter a small amount of coarse cornmeal onto a pizza peel or baking sheet/tray with no sides before placing a dough round on it. Spread 1 tbsp of the pesto on the dough and top with 2 oz/55g of the tomatoes and 1½ oz/40 g of the Casciotta d'Urbino cheese. Add a pinch of red chillies. Open the oven door and shake the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone or baking sheet/ tray. Cook for S to 7 minutes, until the bottom of the pizza is crisp and golden. Remove with a pizza peel or inverted spatula, taking care not to get burned. Proceed with the remaining dough and ingredients. Serve immediately.

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