So, my pizza situation is pretty awesome.
I am a quick bus ride one way to the flagship Franco Manca Brixton. And a quick bus ride another way to the longstanding Eco Clapham, where I sampled my first sourdough pizza and my first taste of truffle oil 8 years ago. There is a reason I married the man who took me there!
So, when I’m putting together a quick and easy pita pizza snack, which is always such a good idea, I have some amazing sources of inspiration. They may be quick, they may be easy, but they can be a little bit fancy too!
Today’s was inspired by my first trip to Franco Manca in Brixton. Having just been to see The Fault in Our Stars movie with a friend, I was in need of a top notch glass of wine and some comfort food, and boy did they deliver. I ordered the daily vegetarian special, which was buffalo mozzarella and wild garlic pesto. Oh. My. God. It was so simple, but the incredible quality of ingredients they use made it one of the most memorable pizzas I’ve ever had.
So, taking inspiration from that pizza, I’ve created a 15 minute version which I think you’ll love!
I’ve used chives instead of wild garlic, because they are so much more accessible, and cherry tomatoes instead of a pizza sauce to keep things really quick and easy. If pushed for time, I’d rather be using plain tomatoes than a canned or jarred sauce. Although I do have a 5 minute pizza sauce recipe up my sleeve, today we’re making pesto so it kind of feels like too much effort to make a sauce.
I’m not always this lazy, but today, I dunno, I’m super tired. Wake me up when it’s Christmas.
Using a really high quality mozzarella will pay off in this recipe. With so few ingredients, each has a chance to shine. So if you have the budget for it, go ahead and do that! But it’s not essential. I used a cheaper store brand mozzarella today, and it was still amazing.
You can get this on the table in 15 minutes. The first 5 minutes you’ll spend pre-heating your oven and chopping the tomatoes and mozzarella. The next 10 minutes you’ll spend preparing the pesto while the pizzas are in the oven.
(A disclaimer: This timeline is realistic only if you have an oven which pre-heats really fast. Otherwise it’s maybe 20 minutes. Still not bad for a melty, oozy, delicious pizza.)
Orrrr… You can make a full dinner out of this by serving alongside a big salad. That’s actually a great idea. Make the salad before the pizzas, while the oven is pre-heating, and it’s still going to be a 30 minute dinner. I feel like a really leafy Romaine, full of peppers and avocado, with Italian dressing, would be perfect. (I’m totally feeling The Brown Eyed Baker’s Italian dressing for these purposes.)
The pesto recipe uses measuring cups, because volume measurement seems easiest here- but if you’re a metric purist and don’t own any, a standard mug is about 1.3 cups, and a cup is 16 tablespoons, so that should give you a sense of things. And the pesto doesn’t need to be too exact, it’s a very adaptable recipe!
caprese pita pizzas with chive pesto
Yield 2 pizzas, with leftover pesto
- 2 pita breads
- About 8 cherry tomatoes
- 1 125g / 4.4oz ball of mozzarella
- About 1/2 cup of chives
- A handful of basil leaves
- 1/4 cup of pine nuts
- 1/4 parmesan (or other hard Italian cheese)
- 1 small garlic clove
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 a cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Pre-heat your oven to 200C / 390F.
- Meanwhile, slice the cherry tomatoes into thirds and roughly chop your mozzarella.
- Assemble the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella on top of the pita bread.
- Place on a baking tray, and put in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make your pesto by blitzing all of the ingredients in a small food processor.
- When the pizzas are ready, spoon the pesto on top.
If you’re digging the caprese pizza concept but have a little more time – head on over to my caprese pizza with buttermilk crust recipe. It’s one of my all-time faves! I also have a Truffled Portabella Mushroom Pizza if you’re feeling like something more fancy.