This pizza is a must if you ever suddenly find yourself with a bunch of lemon basil. However, I’ll also understand if you choose to bathe or roll around in it because it’s so aromatic and intoxicating…
In lieu of actual lemon basil baths, this pizza brings lemon basil to its rightful center of a dish – a vibrant compliment to smoky cheese and chunky mushrooms. I’ve made various versions of this pizza with oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and now morels… and you know what? Oyster mushrooms are actually better for this combination than morels. Their long stems and meaty flavors are more suited for this strongly scented pizza. Morels were slightly too delicate, but works better than shiitakes if you had to choose.
1 large bundle of lemon basil, halved
5 small garlic gloves
3 tbsp olive oil
1 c. finely grated smoked mozzarella
1 scallion, thinly sliced
handful of mushrooms** (oyster mushrooms were actually better than morels)
Pizza dough for one 12″ pie*
+ Make a coarse pesto by chopping walnuts, half of the basil, garlic, and a few pinches of grated cheese. Combine with 2 TB of olive oil.
+ Shape pie into 12″ round – you can spin it or stretch it with your hands- just don’t use a roller.
+ Brush on 1TB of olive oil. Spread pesto evenly on top – it can be in little chunks. Scatter remaining basil leaves over pesto followed by grated cheese. Scatter mushrooms over the cheese then the scallions. Bake until golden brown. Serve immediately.
*I recently started buying Whole Food’s frozen pizza dough because it’s fast and makes a decent thin crust. Just be sure to thaw it out and let it warm up before shaping pie.
** When using morels, soak in salty water for 30 minutes to remove debris then allow to drain completely. When using oyster mushrooms, separate them into bite size clusters and sautée for 1 minute on a med skillet with 1TB olive oil.