Creamy pesto adds flair to this thick crust pizza created by Ann Bridges of Albuquerque, New Mexico. "The homemade crust is so simple," Ann notes. "It also freezes nicely."
Recommended: Our All-Time Best Pizzas
VERIFIED BY Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil, divided
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
- 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup spaghetti sauce
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 can (2-1/2 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
- 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons oil, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, bout 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, for pesto, place basil and garlic in a blender or food processor; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add cream cheese and remaining oil; beat until smooth. Set aside. In a skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Set aside.
- Punch dough down. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 15-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Transfer to a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. build up edges slightly. Spread with pesto. Layer with the spaghetti sauce, Parmesan cheese, sausage mixture, mushrooms, olives and Monterey Jack cheese. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Yield: 12 slices.
Originally published as Three-Cheese Pesto Pizza in Country Woman January/February 2002, p42