It’s summertime, and the livin’s easy, especially when you’re grillin’ pizzas while sipping on rosé. Grilled Zucchini Pizza with Pea Pistachio Pesto is not only a great way to highlight those garden veggies, but also a special way to highlight the weekend.
Early summer vegetables are exiting the garden and entering the kitchen. The grill is fired up most nights in place of the oven, and it’s hard to beat a dry rosé on a hot night after a long work week. Although the summer solstice was nearly a month ago, summer all of a sudden feels official. You know, lived in. Alive with activity, light, and sounds; buzzing with laughter, growth, and enthusiasm.
Amidst all the excitement our first few weeks of July, we started looking forward to a long weekend at home, delighted to find ourselves with one this past weekend. Although I truly enjoy going out, catching up, and entertaining, we have just as much fun throwing house parties sans guests. Party of 2, err 4, if you count the dogs. I’m not sure if that makes me content, boring, or easily amused, but it’s charming to me all the same.
I’ve never needed an excuse to whip up a special meal, have a cocktail, or go out for ice cream. So we did just that; all of the above. Special doesn’t have to be fancy or anything expensive. It just has to be something you really enjoy. For me, pizza is one of those things. However, I don’t think we always give pizza the time and thought it deserves. It’s often an afterthought of a long day when you don’t want to go near the kitchen, but this grilled zucchini pizza is far from that.
Sometimes, taking the “fast” and “convenient” out of pizza can make it more fun (and healthy . . . er). I prefer making pizza from scratch because I put more thought into it. I know where all of the ingredients come from and it’s a great way to highlight whatever is growing in the garden in a way that feels weekend-worthy indulgent. Plus, making your own pizza dough is really easy: no fancy equipment needed. My favorite recipe is Roberta’s Pizza Dough. If you follow the link there is a great video tutorial as well. I’ve used it same day as written in the recipe, next day like they do in the video, later in the week, and frozen/thawed if longer than one week. And guess what? All are delicious.
You know what I haven’t done though? Grilled my pizza using this particular dough recipe. I knew I had to try it, but I wasn’t sure how. How was I going to make a grilled zucchini pizza? So, I did what any self-respecting adult in 2017 would do: I googled it. Best grilled homemade pizza. Best way to grill pizza. Grilled pizza directly on grate or on pizza stone? Grilled pizza direct heat or indirect heat? And guess what? I think I found my favorite technique. This video is a great guide. I have this pizza stone and this pizza peel. The peel is a tad pricey, but as I may have eluded to, homemade pizza is one of my favorite indulgences, so it was well worth it. If you make a lot of pizzas at home (and I think you should), this thing is the cat’s meow!
If you don’t have a peel, no worries. You can use a cookie sheet flipped upside down. Just be sure to use a little extra flour and some cornmeal to help with sticking (trust me, I know). Also, if you don’t have a pizza stone, this technique looks promising. I just wanted to be able to top my pizza before placing on the grill.
And if I may, I’d suggest a Brut Rosé along with that fabulous, smokey grilled zucchini pizza. No booze for you tonight? I’m thinking a sparkling raspberry lemonade, because there’s something about bubbles that make the night feel extra special. Definitely have a glass of whatever it is while you’re grilling and soak up that summer feeling.
Grilled Zucchini Pizza with Pea Pistachio Pesto
Pesto (makes about 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
- 1/4 cup toasted pistachio nuts
- 1/4 cup freshly-grated aged parmesan
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- S&P to taste
- Handful of soaked wood chips for smoking
- Favorite pizza dough store-bought or homemade (I like Roberta’s pizza dough link above)
- 1/4 cup pea pistachio pesto or favorite store-bought pesto
- Zucchini rounds sliced thinly (about 1/8-inch); enough to cover pizza
- 4 zucchini blossoms
- 2 ounces fresh mozzarella thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup low-moisture mozzarella shredded
- 1/3 cup whipped ricotta
- Sprinkle sliced zucchini with salt and place in colander to drain, at least 30 minutes. Before topping pizza, pat dry with paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- Create a foil packet with pierced holes for wood chips. Remove grill grate and place packet on burner. Return grill grate and place pizza stone on top of grates and close the grill. Heat on low for 5 minutes, followed by medium for 5 minutes, and high for 5 minutes until grill registers at least 500 degrees.
- Meanwhile, turn one dough ball out onto a lightly-floured surface. Gently stretch dough into a 10- to 12-inch circle. Transfer to floured pizza peel or inverted cookie sheet.
- Spread a thin layer of pesto over the pizza dough, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Layer the fresh mozzarella, followed by the zucchini blossoms, whipped ricotta by spoonful, low-moisture mozzarella, and finally the zucchini rounds.
- Transfer to hot pizza stone. Close grill but check after a few minutes, rotating as necessary. Depending how hot your grill is, this could take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Once edges are puffed and lightly charred and the bottom is crisp, slide pizza back onto peel or cookie sheet. Allow to cool about 1 minute and slice to serve.