Fennel, Pesto, and Calabrese Pizza

This fennel, pesto, and calabrese pizza is bursting with summer flavours. With a lemony basil pesto base and balsamic-infused fennel, olives, spicy calabrese, and cheese as toppings, this pizza is sure to become a favourite. 

Makes 4 medium pizzas, enough to serve 8. 

Fennel, Pesto, and Calabrese Pizza

1 batch of Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough (must be made 18 hours in advance), or 1 lb of store-bought pizza dough

Basil Pesto

  • 1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino or Asiago cheese
  • 2 cups fresh basil

  • Sautéed Fennel

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, chopped 
  • Pinch each fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½  tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • Everything Else

  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced 
  • 180 grams organic calabrese sausage, thinly sliced 
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella or fontina cheese

  • Green Goddess Avocado Hemp Dipping Sauce (optional)

  • 1/2 cup water
  • ½ cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2 a medium ripe avocado
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup fresh dill 

  • Instructions: 


  • Prepare the pizza dough according to the instructions. 
  • Prepare the pesto: Place the pumpkin seeds and garlic in a food processor fitted with the ‘S’ blade. Process until coarsely ground. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Transfer into a container or jar until ready to use. 
  • Prepare the fennel: Warm the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, until lightly browned. Add the fennel and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for two more minutes. Remove from the heat. 
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. If using pizza stones, preheat them in the oven.
  • Divide the pizza dough into 4 equal pieces. On a floured surface and with lightly floured hands, take one of the pieces and stretch or roll out with a rolling pin to fit the area of your pizza stone or sheet pan. (If using a sheet pan, it’s a good idea to lightly oil it with some olive oil.) Transfer the dough onto your pan. 
  • Spread the dough with ¼ cup of the pesto, followed by a quarter of the fennel, a quarter of the olives, a quarter of the calabrese, and a quarter of the cheese. 
  • Bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the crust is lightly browned. 
  • Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the remaining dough and toppings.
  • If desired, make the green goddess dipping sauce while the pizza is baking by combining the water, avocado, hemp, celery, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, honey, salt, pepper, and dill in a blender and blending until smooth. (This is also a great all-purpose dip for raw veggies and roasted potatoes!)

    Recipe & photos courtesy of Up Beet Kitchen

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