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Homemade Pesto Mozzarella Pizza Recipe

Updated on September 20, 2012
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.


While my husband and I were on vacation in the Washington DC area during August 2010, we had a wonderful pesto sausage mozzarella pizza in a charming restaurant in Alexandria, VA. I had never had any particular inspiration to make pizza at home, but this pizza was so good that I decided to give it a try myself. I am very proud of the recipe that I developed and am happy to be sharing it here now. Enjoy!

Let us know what you think of this recipe!

5 stars from 2 ratings of Homemade Pesto Mozzarella Pizza Recipe

Cook Time

Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 1 hour 5 min
Yields: Two 9x13 Pizzas


  • 1 16 oz. box hot roll mix, Pillsbury, in the section with mixes like banana bread
  • 1/2 cup pesto, homemade or store bought
  • 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese or other cheese mixture
  • 1 cup chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 2 mild Italian sausages, thawed, casin removed

If you have a food processor, homemade pesto is very easy.


Pesto from Scratch - Recipe by Laura Vitale

Homemade Pesto Recipe

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons pine nuts
2-3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in the food processor bowl. Process for 1-2 minutes or until the texture is fairly smooth. You may need to scrap down the sides of the bowl once during this process.

Plan Ahead to Reduce Cooking Time for Dinner and to Have More Delicious Chicken


Typically I make the chicken and pesto a couple days prior or simply earlier in the day so they're ready to go when I want to make pizza. If you make them ahead of time, I highly recommend "marinating" the chicken in a couple tablespoons of pesto for a minimum of 1-2 hours to make it really moist and flavorful.

Making the Dough


You can also opt to make your pizza dough from scratch.

Following the pizza dough instructions on the side of the Pillsbury hot roll mix box, make the dough as follows. If you are wearing any rings, please take them off before handling the dough.

1) Add 1 1/4 cup hot water and 2 tablespoons olive oil to the flour and yeast mixture. If it's a little sticky, you can add some flour. I usually knead it with a spoon until it is cool enough to handle. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until forms a solid mixture.

2) Grease two 13x9 baking pans. Divide the dough into two roughly equal pieces.

3) Using your fingers, work the dough into two large, flat pieces. It is okay if the dough doesn't touch the edges of the pans as long as it is an evenly spread.

4) Generously prick the dough with a fork.

5) Cover the pans with a towel. I push the pans right next to each other so I can use one large kitchen towel for both. Let the dough rise covered for 15 minutes.

Cooking the Sausage


After you get the dough rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. While the dough is rising, cook the sausage as follows.

1) Your sausages will come with casein. Remove the casein if you haven't done this already.

2) Spray a large frying pan with non-stick cooking spray. Break the sausages up in the pan.

3) Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat or until the sausages have cooked through. Continue to break them up as you cook them so you don't have any large pieces.

4) After they've cooked, drain the grease.

Assembling the Pizza


When your dough is done rising, it's time to assemble the pizzas!

1) Spread the pesto evenly over both pizzas.

2) Spread the cheese over both pizzas. For the pictured pizza, I used about 2 cups mozzarella, 1/2 cup Colby Jack, and a few tablespoons of Parmesan.

3) Spoon the chicken on half of one of the pizzas and the sausage on the other half.


Bake the pizzas for 20 minutes or until the crust is brown around the edges and the cheese is just starting to brown. I highly recommend placing one pan on each shelf of the oven and switching them after 10 minutes.

Slice and enjoy! If you can't finish all of it for one meal (which believe me, my husband and I cannot by ourselves), it makes wonderful leftovers.

Do you like to make pizza? Check this out!


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