Friday, August 6, 2010

Pizza with Panache

Pizza is a dish that lends itself to creative thinking. You can make it traditional, innovative, sweet, or savory. My favorite pizzas are light on sauce with a few great tasting toppings. Whenever I go home to St. Louis I try to get a St. Louis thin-crust pizza with hamburger and onion (sometimes black olives too). The best part of St. Louis pizza (and salads at the pizza places) is provel cheese. Provel cheese comes in ropes, it was created about 50 years ago for the purpose of topping St. Louis pizzas. It’s a combination of provolone, white cheddar, and Swiss. It melts well, doesn’t get stringy, and stays hot (watch out for burned mouths).

When I’m here in Boston and thinking about pizza, I prefer to make it at home. It’s faster than delivery and we can make it exactly the way we like. Homemade pizza is also a great way to use up all those leftover ingredients in the fridge.

We had picked up some premade pizza dough and the grocery store and set it out on the counter to warm up to room temperature. Like the start of most of my kitchen adventures, I looked in the fridge and pantry to see what we had on hand.

From the freezer I pulled out at tin of Pestos with Panache’s Succulent Strawberry Pesto. I’ve enjoyed corresponding online with the pesto maker, Lauren, and had a chance to meet her in person at the SoWa Market earlier this summer. The strawberry pesto isn’t sweet – it’s a fabulous traditional pesto with the addition of bright red strawberries.

To top of the pizza, I chose shredded Monterey jack cheese and a few golden delicious apples.

This is a quick meal and perfect for a light dinner. You could also make the case for serving it at breakfast accompanied by some fluffy scrambled eggs and a cup of tea.

Pizza with Panache
1 container/bag of prepared pizza dough (or a pre-baked crust like Boboli)
1/4 cup Pestos with Panache Succulent Strawberry Pesto
1-2 golden delicious apples, cored and sliced into thin slices (I did not peel my apples)
Monterey Jack cheese, as cheesy as you like
Sprinkle of corn meal for the baking surface

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Measure out pesto (it is frozen) and warm for about 10 seconds in the microwave to make it more spreadable and set aside (don’t completely melt it)

Stretch out, toss, or roll out pizza dough to desired shape and thickness
Place the dough on a pizza stone or baking sheet covered with the cornmeal, this helps to prevent sticking
Bake the crust for 6 minutes

Remove the prebaked dough from the oven
Using a silicone brush, spread pesto all over the crust
Top with the apple slices, spreading evenly over the crust
Top with as much cheese as you’d like

Return pizza to the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and the edge of the crust is golden brown
Remove from oven and let the pizza sit for a minute or two, so you don’t lose all the cheese when you slice it

Serve with a lightly dressed salad and try to save a few pieces for lunch the next day!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16-20 minutes
Pizza stone, cutting board, knife, bowl, pizza cutter, serving utensils


  1. I have heard a lot about Pestos with Panache but I haven't had a chance to try it out yet. This sounds like a great pizza though! Have a great weekend and I'll maybe see you at the Food Truck Fest on Sunday!

  2. lovely pizza and your right it is a great way to use leftovers yum

  3. Your pizza looks delicious & I have never heard of Provel cheese - thanks for the info! I just signed up to follow your fabulous blog - stop by and visit me sometime at Looking forward to your next post - Cheers!

  4. Very cool pizza idea. I still have a tin of Pestos with Panache in the freezer and really want to do something creative with it. That cheese sounds really neat!


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