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Grilled Pesto Pizza with Arugula and Feta

A full flavored pizza made with fresh Basil Pesto and peppery arugula. The dough is best made 1 or 2 days ahead of time. It freezes well and makes a great traditional oven baked crust too.
Prep Time4 hrs
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time4 hrs 5 mins
Course: Pizza
Servings: 4 pizzas
Author: Tricia

Ingredients

For the sponge:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups tepid water, about 80 degrees
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the pizza dough:

  • The sponge
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 scant tablespoon table salt

For the toppings:

  • 4 balls of pizza dough
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup crumbled Feta
  • 1 cup prepared pesto (see link in NOTES)

Instructions

To make the sponge:

  • Add the yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water stirring to dissolve the yeast. Allow the yeast to rest for 5 minutes or until it becomes creamy. Add the olive oil and then gradually stir in the flour with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover and let the sponge rest and rise in a warm place (about 85 degrees) for 1 1/2 hours. I use my microwave as a proofing oven. It is very warm inside when I keep the task light on underneath. Be sure your dough is free from drafts. The sponge should double in volume and become very bubbly.

To make the dough:

  • Use a rubber spatula to deflate the sponge and fit the mixer with the dough hook. Add 2 cups of flour and the salt to the sponge and mix on low for 2 or 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and add a spoonful of flour, one at a time, if needed to help bring the dough together. It should be cleaning the sides of your mixer bowl. Continue to knead on medium for another 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled mixing bowl and turn it to make sure all sides are moistened with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rest in a warm location for another 1 1/2 hours. The dough should double in volume and hold an impression when you gently poke it with a finger. 
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into four pieces and cover the pieces set aside to work with later. Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten into a disk. Roll the dough into a 8-9 inch circle using a rolling pin. If the dough snaps back and doesn’t hold it’s shape, let it rest a few minutes then try again. Transfer the dough to the pizza peel or rimless baking sheet.

To make the pizzas:

  • Preheat your grill as hot as you can get it. Working quickly, oil the grate of the grill then slide the pizza dough onto the grill. Cook for a minute or two until it is cooked on the bottom and the top starts to bubble up. Quickly turn the pizza dough over and continue grilling until done, 2-4 minutes more.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough. Top each with pesto, arugula and feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • If you want to make the dough ahead of time wrap each piece of fully risen dough in plastic wrap, then place it in a Ziplock bag. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • You can also wrap the dough tightly and freeze until needed. To thaw the frozen dough, place it still wrapped in the refrigerator overnight. Both frozen and refrigerated dough should be allowed to come to room temperature before shaping - about 2 hours.
  • Generously grease the grate of your grill with vegetable oil. Pour oil into a small cup or bowl. Fold a paper towel to fit into the bowl. Use the oil soaked paper towel and tongs to grease the grate. Grease again in between crusts.
  • Use a rimless baking sheet or pizza peel dusted with cornmeal to transfer the pizza dough onto the grill.
  • Have an oven mitt and tongs ready when grilling the pizza dough
 
Click HERE to get the recipe for our easy BASIL PESTO
 
Adapted from a recipe by: Steve Sullivan, published in Baking with Julia