I could eat pizza all of the time.
Which, lucky for me, is brilliant since I’ve worked for universities for the past 10+ years. And if you didn’t know it before, the most popular equation on college campuses is Pizza = College Students.
In an effort to further explore the versatility of pesto, I turned to slathering pizza with this herbaceous mixture. And not just any pesto—-but Macadamia Nut Pesto! Thanks to an excess of macadamia nuts I had in my pantry (I was on a mac nut baking binge) I was able to create another version of pesto by substituting pine nuts with them.
The natural creamy rich taste of macadamia nuts was a perfect marriage to pesto and offers some solid health benefits, too.
I made my Macadamia Nut Pesto a tad on the thicker side since I knew I wanted to use it as a “sauce” for my pizza. But if you prefer a looser consistency, just stream in a tad more olive oil when processing it. I also was pretty heavy handed with the amount used for the pizza so adjust according to your preference.
And with college football gearing up this weekend, this unique spin on a pizza pie will be a sure fire win for any game day celebration!
Macadamia Nut Pesto Pizza
16 Ounces Fresh Pizza Dough
8 Ounces Grilled Chicken Breast, sliced
1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
1½ Cups Macadamia Nut Pesto*
8 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
¼ Cup Yellow Cornmeal
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Macadamia Nut Pesto:
2½ Packed Cups Sweet Basil
½ Cup Roasted Macadamia Nuts, unsalted
2-3 Garlic Cloves, finely diced
½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
Approximately ½ – ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
Prepare Pesto. In a food processor, pulse garlic and nuts. Add basil, cheese, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. With the food processor on, stream in olive oil and blend until the pesto is fully incorporated. Be sure to scrape down sides in between steps. More olive oil can be added if a smoother, loose texture is desired. Refrigerate until ready to be used.
Place pizza stone or large baking sheet in the middle rack and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly dust your surface area with flour. Take dough and stretch into your desired shape. Once the oven reaches its temperature, pull the baking stone/baking sheet out of the oven, and sprinkle cornmeal on the surface. Carefully slide the dough on top and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is lightly golden. Remove the crust from the oven and brush with olive oil over top. Spread an even layer of pesto over the crust. Top with the chicken, mushrooms, and cheese. Return the pizza back to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until all the cheese has melted and pizza is golden brown. Serve with additional parmesan cheese and red chili flakes.