Pizza Recipes

Pesto Genovese pizza recipe

Angle view of 2 pesto Genovese pizza’s on plates with a dark marble background

Relish Italy’s pristine pesto Genovese pizza with ragu alla bolognese, fior di latte, and semi-dried cherry tomatoes. The pizza oven baked sourdough crust with blotch charring completes the wholesome gourmet experience!

The origin of Pesto Genovese traces back to 19th century Genoa, Liguria. The earliest collection of the dish is recorded in Giovanni Battista Ratto’s book “Genovese Cuisine.” Ragu alla Bolognese was mentioned first in Pellegrino Artusi’s recipe book, published in 1891. Both pesto Genovese and ragu alla bolognese are authentically served with tagliatelle pasta.

Ooni Pizza Ovens

This pesto Genovese pizza has a fluffy crisp crust topped with creamy cheese, flavorful meaty Bolognese, nutty herbaceous pesto sauce, chewy semi-dried tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and extra virgin olive oil drizzle. The Roman pinsa is another pizza with meat sauce topping. Furthermore, Thai style satay pizza with peanut sauce, Ramen crust pizza with spicy gochujang-tomato sauce, Jamaican jerk chicken pizza with Alfredo sauce, and Burrata pizza with nduja sauce are some pizza with exclusive sauce pairings!

Top view of pesto Genovese pizza sprinkled with fresh basil on a dark background


Check out the ingredients required to make this pizza at home. You can buy the items at your nearby grocery stores or order online.

  • Flour
  • Sourdough starter
  • Meat
  • Veggies
  • Red wine
  • Tomato puree
  • Basil pesto
  • Fior di latte
  • Semi-dried cherry tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Bread flour is an excellent choice for making a sourdough pizza crust. Sourdough starter is fermented flour and water mixture. The highlight of a sourdough crust is its distinct sour flavor and airy crisp texture. Artisan bakeries and natural food stores usually have ready-to-use sourdough starters.

You can make the bolognese with only ground beef, pancetta which browns into a delicious meaty texture. This recipe also uses pancetta which adds a deep pork flavor.

The natural sweetness of onions and carrots, along with the subtle spicy tone of celery, helps balance the sauce’s tomatoey acidity and meaty flavors. Buy the freshest veggies to achieve the utmost taste.

Adding dry red wine to the meat sauce helps extract the flavors of the ingredients beautifully. Sangioveseand Barbera are two fabulous Italian red wines to use in this meat sauce. You can also use dry white wine. Avoid using frizzante or sweet wines in the bolognese.

Tomato puree gives the meat sauce a bold rich color and infuses a sweet and citrusy taste. 

The Genoa-style basil pesto uses Genovese basil and has exactly 7 ingredients. If unavailable, purchase the freshest basil leaves from a farmer’s market. Traditionally the sauce is made in a mortar and pestle. 

Fior di latte is a fresh semi-soft cow’s milk cheese. It has a mild tangy flavor, a springy texture, and excellent melting properties.

Semi-dried cherry tomatoes offer a tart taste and chewy texture. 


Besides bread flour, any strong white flour having above 11g of protein will work. Also, you can buy pre-made pizza dough or readymade sourdough pizza base.

You may use unsalted chicken/meat broth instead of vegetable broth.

Fio di latte can be substituted with fresh mozzarella or burrata cheese.

Ooni Stack

Pesto Genovese pizza Notes

Low-hydration dough must be mixed gently, so keep the stand mixer speed to medium or low. After 3 hours of room temperature proofing, you may store the dough in the fridge for up to a week.

To make the vegetable broth at home, boil a small peeled and quartered onion, a diced carrot, and celery sticks (along with leaves) in a pot of water. Once the water starts bubbling, reduce the heat and let it simmer. Strain the veggies and store the broth in a bottle.

Store and Reheat

Don’t wish to end up with dry and stale pizza slices? Pack each piece with plastic wrap and store in a ziplock bag or well-sealed container. Keep it in the fridge to last up to 3 days, or store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To reheat the pizza in an oven, remove the plastic wrap. Then place the leftover slices on a rimmed baking sheet, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place it on the lowest rack of a cold oven. Set the oven to 275° F and bake for 25-30 minutes.

A pair of pesto Genovese pizza with sourdough crust, sprinkled with basil

How to make pesto Genovese pizza?

  1. Make the dough – Form the dough by mixing the water, sourdough starter, salt, and flour in a stand mixer. Rest for 30 minutes, divide into two balls, and store in oil-greased containers. Proof for 3 hours at room temperature and then keep in the fridge for a day to complete proofing.
  2. Make the ragu alla bolognese – Cook the minced pancetta in hot oil. Add the veggies and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook till browned. Mix the red wine, tomato puree, and vegetable broth. Simmer for 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper before removing into a bowl.
  3. Assemble the pizza – Stretch the proofed dough. Transfer to a cornflour-dusted pizza peel. Spread the fior di latte, top with ragu alla bolognese, pesto sauce, semi-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves. Bake in the preheated pizza oven for 60-90 seconds.

Pesto Genovese Pizza FAQ

How to prepare the basil pesto Genovese-style?

Process 2 garlic cloves, 15g pine nuts, and 50g fresh basil leaves in a food processor for 30 seconds till finely chopped. Add ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan and 2 tablespoons pecorino cheese, and run for 15 seconds. Gradually add ½ cup extra virgin olive oil while the food processor is running. Process for 30 seconds till the pesto has a smooth creamy texture. Remove into a bowl and mix a pinch of salt.

Which wine goes best with pesto Genovese pizza?

Pinot Grigio” is an Italian wine. Its crisp acidity complements the delicate herbal notes of pesto sauce. Additionally, as the pizza has a meaty bolognese topping, red wines such as “Lambrusco,” “Pinot Noir,” “Barolo,” and “Chianti Classic” pair well too.  

Are milk, spices, and herbs added to the classic ragu alla bolognese?

Milk is often added to the classic ragu alla bolognese. It cuts the tomato acidity and is used during the simmering process. However, herbs or spices (such as rosemary, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, or parsley) are not used in the original recipe. However, some ancient recipes do use a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg.

More Pizza Recipes

Pesto Genovese pizza recipe

Recipe by Pizza Poster Course: Main, AppetizersCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium


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Relish Italy’s pristine pesto Genovese pizza with ragu alla bolognese, fior di latte, and semi-dried cherry tomatoes on a sourdough crust.

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  • For the dough
  • 2 cups 2 00 flour

  • 1 cup 1 lukewarm water

  • 3 oz 3 sourdough starter at peak

  • 1 1/2 tsp 1 1/2 salt

  • 2 tsp 2 cornmeal (for dusting the pizza peel)

  • For the ragu alla Bolognese
  • 10 oz 10 ground beef

  • 5 oz 5 pancetta (minced)

  • 1-2 Tbsp 1-2 extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 yellow onion (chopped finely)

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 carrot (peeled & chopped finely)

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 celery (chopped finely)

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 red wine

  • 1 1/4 cups 1 1/4 tomato puree

  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 vegetable broth (use more if needed)

  • 1 tsp 1 salt

  • 1 tsp 1 crushed black pepper

  • Other toppings
  • 1/2 cup 1/2 basil pesto sauce

  • 3 3 balls of Fior di latte cheese

  • 20 20 semi-dried cherry tomatoes (halved)

  • 20 20 basil leaves

  • 1 Tbsp 1 extra virgin olive oil (for serving)


  • To make the dough
  • Pour the lukewarm water, sourdough starter, and salt into the stand mixer bowl. Mix it nicely.
  • Add the flour. Attach the dough hook and run it on medium speed for a few minutes or until combined into a soft sticky dough. Let it rest in the bowl for 30 minutes.
  • After that, remove the dough on a countertop, divide it into 2 equal portions, and roll each portion to create a smooth ball. Place each dough ball in 2 separate oil-greased containers.
  • Close the lid and let the dough proof for 3 hours at room temperature. Then, store in the fridge for 14 hours or one day.
  • To prepare the ragu alla bolognese
  • Heat the oil into a medium-sized pot placed on the stove over a medium-high flame.
  • Add the minced pancetta and break it as much as possible. Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat till it turns slightly brownish. Stir frequently.
  • Next, add the finely chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Mix well and cook for 3-5 minutes till the veggies soften.
  • Add the ground beef and increase the heat to high. Break it and cook for a few minutes till it browns. Stir constantly.
  • Pour in the red wine and mix well.
  • Stir in the tomato puree, followed by 2 cups of vegetable broth. Cover the pan partially, reduce heat to low, and let the meat sauce simmer for 2 hours till the liquid has almost dried up. Stir at every 20 minutes interval.
  • Finally, season with salt and pepper. Combine nicely and remove into a bowl.
  • To assemble the pizza
  • Preheat the propane gas pizza oven for 15 minutes to 800° F- 850° F.
  • Dunk the proofed dough into a bowl of flour. Coat both sides with flour and place it on the cornmeal-dusted pizza peel.
  • Stretch out the dough using your hands and knuckles (about 10-inches circle), creating a raised outer rim.
  • Spread a ball of fior di latte on the raw crust.
  • Top with 6-7 tablespoons of the ragu alla bolognese leaving a little gap. Distribute dollops (about 6-7 teaspoons) of the pesto sauce, 10 semi-dried tomatoes, and 10 fresh basil in the gaps.
  • Transfer the assembled pizza to the preheated pizza oven. Close the door and bake for 30-45 seconds till its fluffs up and one side start to get charred. Quickly turn the pizza 180 degrees, close the door, and let it cook for 30-45 seconds.
  • Assemble and bake the second pizza similarly.
  • Serve the pizzas drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.


Recipe Video


  • Serving size = 1 slice
    Calories: 530 | Protein: 32.75g | Fat: 21.64g | Carbs: 51.18g | Fiber: 4.5g | Sugar: 5.85g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 1840mg | Potassium: 901mg

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