Pizza night is ON with this four cheese pizza with tomato basil arugula salad! It’s super easy to make and tastes ridiculously amazing.
My kids go for this four cheese pizza with tomato basil arugula salad because it’s, well, cheese pizza. I go for it because it’s fontina and fresh mozzarella and goat cheese and pecorino romano! It sounds and looks fancy, but it’s pizza so it’s also totally approachable. And everybody loves crispy, chewy crust + melty cheese + garlic & pesto + the most beautiful produce summer has to offer. And the homemade pizza crust is completely easy to throw together – it’s just 5 basic ingredients and truly, it’s fool proof. Also, just to make things easy I use the pesto from Costco – I actually love that stuff and it is so nice to have on hand for pizzas or sandwiches or pastas when I need to throw something together super quick.
Another reason to love pizza night is that it is so fun for everybody to get involved in it. The girls are in heaven if I tell them to run grab their rolling pins from the toy room. They always come sprinting back to roll out bits of dough. And they LOVE sampling and sprinkling cheese over the pizzas. Anything that gets my girls happily helping in the kitchen works for me, especially when it is easy stuff like this. I love seeing them have a sense of ownership over the things we are preparing.
So a quick note on cheeses – go with the fresh mozzarella for this recipe. It’s so, so, so much better than the pre-grated stuff and when cheese is pretty much the star of the dish, you want to do it justice. Just slice it into nice, thick slices and it will do it’s job of getting melty and bubbly and make you proud. And for the goat cheese, I just use the plain stuff but you could try any of the many flavored varieties of goat cheese that you might find at the store if you want.
This four cheese pizza with tomato basil arugula salad recipe is going to make you 3 decent sized pizzas like the one below. That’s going to take care of probably 4-6 adults. You could do it on the grill if you felt like it, or just bake it in a super hot oven like I did this time around. You could just stop at cheese pizza and not do the tomato basil arugula salad to top it off (I mean, just look at that golden, cheesy goodness below!) but trust me, that simple salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, chopped basil, freshly minced garlic, peppery arugula and juicy tomatoes truly make this something special.
You might want to be strategic about hiding one of your pizzas though, just so you can be sure to have some leftover for lunch the next day.
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- 6 tablespoons pesto
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or grated
- 4 ounces fontina, grated
- 4 ounces plain goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, freshly grated
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 pints grape tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 16 fresh basil leaves, cut into very thin strips
- Salt & pepper
- 3 handfuls arugula
In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and stir to combine, the let it sit and proof for 5-10 minutes, until slightly foamy.
Meanwhile, in a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Turn the paddle on at low speed and drizzle in the olive oil slowly, mixing until combined.
Pour the yeast mixture into the oil and flour mixture and mix until completely combined.
Prepare a clean bowl with a little extra oil so that the dough won't stick to the sides while it rises, then scrape the dough into the bowl, turn to coat in the olive oil, and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 1 hour, or place the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
To prepare the dough for pizza assembly, divide it into three roughly equal parts. Roll out each ball of dough on a lightly floured surface to form a very thin crust, then transfer to a clean baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
While oven is heating, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each of your three pizzas and gently brush over the crust. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, then spoon 2 tablespoons of pesto onto each pizza and gently spread it around the dough, leaving a slight margin around the edges to create a crust.
Arrange the slices of fresh mozzarella with 4 slices to each pizza, then sprinkle the fontina, goat cheese, and Pecorino Romano over each pizza.
Bake each pizza until the crusts are golden and the cheese is bubbly, around 12-15 minutes.
While the pizzas are baking, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir, just until fragrant and lightly golden (but not brown). It should take less than a minute.
Remove from heat and immediately add tomatoes and stir, giving them a chance to warm up from the residual heat in the pan.
Let the tomatoes, garlic and oil sit for a few minutes to cool before adding the balsamic vinegar and basil, and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine.
Top each pizza with a handful of arugula, then spoon some of the tomato basil mixture over it and drizzle a bit of the pan juices of the top. Slice and serve.
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