Professional-quality pizza ovens are a gem in the crown of many a well-equipped patio or deck. Large, built-in brick ovens are certainly nice to have if space and budget allow, but most backyard enthusiasts now opt for remarkably powerful countertop models that cook with more ease and precision than their more traditional predecessors.
The Kalamazoo Outdoor Pizza Oven (above) features powerful top and bottom gas burners that, once preheated, turn out perfect Neapolitan-style pizzas in less than 3 minutes. Like a classic pizza oven, the open door cooking allows you to monitor your pie as it cooks, moving it as necessary and leaving you ready to pull it out at exactly the right moment. And, like many of the other extremely powerful countertop ovens in its class, the Kalamazoo is also adept at expertly roasting vegetables and baking loaves of bread to crisp, evenly browned perfection. Pizza is the star attraction, of course, and this simple pesto- and zucchini-topped pie is a recipe worthy of the oven’s unique capabilities. Feel free to adapt the recipe to work with your own brand of pizza oven by following your manufacturer’s directions.
Pizza with Pesto & Zucchini
- 2 cups (2 oz./60 g) lightly packed fresh basil leaves, plus more leaves for garnish
- 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) toasted pine nuts
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 small zucchini
- 1 batch Food-Processor Pizza Dough, divided into 2 balls
- 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- Shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish
Preheat a Kalamazoo pizza oven with the upper and lower burners set to medium-high.
To make the pesto, in a small food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, lemon zest and juice and garlic. Pulse until the ingredients are uniformly minced, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth and thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Trim the ends of the zucchini but do not peel. Using a vegetable peeler or a mandoline, shave the zucchini lengthwise into long, paper-thin strips. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 pizza dough ball into a 12-inch (30-cm) round and transfer to the pizza peel. Spread half of the pesto evenly on the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch (12-mm) border uncovered. Top with half of the zucchini, then sprinkle with half each of the mozzarella and red pepper flakes.
Transfer the pizza to the pizza oven. Bake until crisp and browned to your liking, 3 to 5 minutes, rotating the pizza as needed to ensure even browning. Transfer to a cutting board and scatter some shaved Parmesan and basil leaves on top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make a second pizza. Cut into slices and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen