This Pesto Slow-Roasted Tomato Detroit-Style Pizza features a nutty, herby pesto paired with sweet and jammy tomatoes atop a thick yet light and slightly chewy crust. Loaded with lots of melty cheese, it’s a great weeknight dish. And unlike other Detroit-style pizzas that need 24 hours to ferment, this pizza comes together quickly.
For me, cooking for friends brings me such joy. It really is the greatest expression of warmth I can imagine. I find it soothing and comforting and feeding my friends never gets old. Homemade anything is always better in my book.
WHAT IS DETROIT-STYLE PIZZA
Detroit-Style Pizza has a thick yet light and chewy crust. It’s either rectangular or square-shaped and almost always baked in a dark, thin metal pan. It’s said to have been inspired by either Sicilian pizza or Chicago Pizza, or maybe both. I believe it’s a nice cross between the two. I fell in love with this style of pizza years ago when I visited Detroit. It’s incredible.
For this post, I’ve partnered with Fleischmann’s® Yeast and am using their Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Instant Yeast. What’s great about it is that instead of a traditional blooming, where you add the yeast to warm water to activate it, you simply add this yeast to your dry ingredients. Not only does this save time, but it also makes it easier to work with yeast if you’re new to it. If this is your first time using yeast, RapidRise® Instant Yeast is a great one to use.
RapidRise® Instant Yeast also drastically reduces the rise time on this Detroit-style pizza. While most doughs usually take around 24 hours to ferment, this one is ready to bake in 1 hour and 45 minutes.
DETROIT-STYLE PIZZA PAN
If you scroll around the internet, you’ll find that many recipes for Detroit-style pizza call for a custom pan. And while I can appreciate a custom size, I find that for me, a standard 9 by 13-inch pan works great. The benefit of the custom pan is that it’s made out of a very thin and dark metal which does heat up quicker and conducts heat a bit better yielding a super crispy crust. However, I don’t expect you to go out and buy one just for this recipe.
While you can absolutely go out and grab store-bought, ready-made pesto, I like to make my own, as I’m able to control the flavor and freshness. Also, it’s super easy to make. I start by quickly blanching my basil, which helps the pesto stay bright green (avoiding that nasty brown color you often see in stores). From there, I just blitz it in a food processor with oil and then garlic, toasted pine nuts, parmesan, and a bit of salt. Easy-peasy.
Slow-cooking cherry tomatoes in olive oil at a low temperature turns ordinary tomatoes into super sweet and super soft tomatoes. All their flavor is concentrated making each tomato an explosion of flavor.
HOW TO MAKE PESTO SLOW-ROASTED DETROIT-STYLE PIZZA
- To slow roast the tomatoes, toss the cherry tomatoes, garlic, salt, crushed red pepper, and olive oil and put in a roasting pan. Roast in a 300 degree F oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
- To make the pesto, blanch the basil for 5 seconds then transfer it to an ice bath. Squeeze out all the water and blitz in a food processor with olive oil. Add toasted pine nuts, parmesan, garlic, and salt and pulse until desired consistency has been reached.
- To make the dough, mix together the all-purpose flour, kosher salt, and Fleischmann’s RapidRise ® Instant Yeast in a large bowl. Pour in the warm water and olive oil and mix it together until combined.
- Spread around a few tablespoons of olive oil in a 9×13-inch baking pan and add the dough to the center.
- Using your fingers, press dimples into the dough, pressing outward, so that you are pushing the dough to the corners of the pan. Cover the pan and set a timer for 15 minutes. Repeat the process two more times and by then the dough should reach the corners of the pan. Cover the pan and let the dough rise for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Spread ½ a cup of pesto evenly over the top, then top with both kinds of cheese followed by the slow-roasted tomatoes.
- Transfer to the oven to bake for 7 minutes, rotate it at the 7-minute mark to ensure even baking, and then bake for an additional 7 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then slide it onto a large cutting board.
Looking for more recipes? Here are a few more of my favorites:
TIPS AND TRICKS
- If your fingers are sticking to the dough, you can just lightly grease them with some olive oil and it’ll be stick-free!
- You don’t need to run out and buy a pizza peel if you don’t have one–simply flip over a baking sheet and dust it with cornmeal.
- Be sure you’re rising the dough in a warm place in your oven. As we get into cooler months, you want to make sure you’re rising the dough in a non-drafty part of your home.
- You really want to sprinkle the parmesan cheese on the outer edges of your crust. They’ll get nice and crispy when you bake your pizza.
- If you can’t find aged provolone, you can replace it with more mozzarella, fontina, or any other melty cheese that you like.
Pesto Slow-Roasted Tomato Detroit-Style Pizza
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes stems removed
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Olive oil (for pan, dough, and stretching)
- 2 1/4 (270 grams) cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Fleischmann’s RapidRise ® Instant Yeast
- 3/4 (6 ounces) cups warm water
- 3 ounces aged provolone cubed
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella
TO MAKE THE TOMATO CONFIT:
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. In a large baking dish, add the cherry tomatoes, garlic, salt, crushed red pepper, and olive oil. Give it a good mix and transfer to the oven to bake for about 45 minutes, stirring the tomatoes every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
TO MAKE THE SIMPLE PESTO:
- Fill a large saucepan, about halfway with water, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, create an ice bath in a medium bowl with ice and water and set this bowl on the counter right next to your saucepan. When the water is boiling, generously salt the water and add the basil. Use a spider to completely submerge for 5 seconds and then immediately transfer the basil to the ice bath. Once cooled, squeeze out the water from the basil.
- To a small sauté pan, set over medium-low heat, and add the pine nuts. Toast until lightly golden brown.
- Add the blanched basil and olive oil to a food processor and pulse for 20 seconds. Add the garlic, parmesan, toasted pine nuts, and kosher salt and pulse for 30 seconds or until you reach your desired consistency. Transfer to a jar or a bowl, cover, and refrigerate or set aside until ready to use.
TO MAKE THE PIZZA DOUGH:
- Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a 9×13-inch baking pan. The darker the aluminum, the better. This will give you a better crust.
- In a bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, salt, and instant yeast.
- Pour in the warm water and 1 tablespoon olive oil and mix again. The dough will be pretty wet and that’s ok!
- This is a different type of pizza dough; it will be kinda wet so don’t sweat that too much. Just knead it up or mix it up until it becomes cohesive.
- Dip your fingers into the olive oil from the pan and transfer the dough to the greased baking pan. Dimple the dough using your fingers. We’re going to do this every 15 minutes until it reaches the edges. We have to stretch the dough slowly to ensure zero ripping of the dough. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a draft-free place in your kitchen/house and set a timer for 15 minutes.
- Return to the dough and remove the plastic wrap/towel and dimple the dough once more, spreading it close to the edges of the pan–it should be about halfway to the edges by now. Cover once more and set another timer for 15 minutes.
- Return to the dough and dimple and stretch the dough, using extra olive oil on your hands as needed, until it reaches the edges and corners of the pan. Cover the pan and set a timer for 1 hour. This is the last rise required!
TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE THE PIZZA:
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Uncover the dough and spread ½ a cup of pesto on top of the pizza dough, smoothing it out until it reaches the edges. This pizza doesn’t really have a crusted exterior so be sure to take it to the edges too.
- Top it with the cubed provolone (if using) and sprinkle with mozzarella. I like to add some cubes of the aged provolone close to the edge of the pan so it gets all crispy.
- Add the tomatoes on top, evenly spacing them as best as possible.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 7 minutes, rotate the pan 180 degrees. And then bake for an additional 7 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is all melty and bubbling.
- Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and spoon on the remaining pesto. Transfer the pizza to a large cutting board. Slice it up with a sharp knife and serve!