Tomato Basil Pizza

Leaving for Italy tonight!

I’m happy! Can’t wait to get myself on that plane!

I’ve had a looong weekend full of contrasting feelings and emotions.

On Saturday I helped Chef Mike at the New York Style Steak and Burger in Tianzifang. It was an amazing experience, the first one for me in a REAL KITCHEN. I knew nothing about it before and, I’m sure, there is a lot more I still don’t know.
Since it is hot here in Shanghai and the kicthen is even hotter I though I should have wear something light and fresh! I grabbed one of my summer dresses and all happy head to “work”. As soon as I arrived, Chef Mike looked at me and said “Ok, first thing first, go wash your hands and put your pants on“…I looked back at him and asked “What pants???“, his was not a sexist comment…later he explained me that PANTS are the dress code in a kitchen, not because you are not supposed to show off your legs but because you need to protect yourself from splitting hot oil or boiling water on your skin. It made sense to me, and I learned my lesson pretty fast. After almost 5 minutes spent in the kitchen, I took a step back to make room for one of the guy and I burned my calf on the hot rice cooker that was on the floor right behind me.

Now I know for sure what to wear next time…

I spent the rest of the 7 hours observing, looking at the people working in the kitchen preparing the various orders. Even only being there looking at what was going on thrilled me to the bone! I had soo many questions I didn’t even dare to ask!
Observing the kitchen dance is fascinating and addictive, I could have stand there for hours without feeling bored!

As soon as I’ll get back from Italy I will be actively participating in the preparation/cooking process. I’ll be helping at the New York Style Steak and Burger every weekend. Can’t wait!

Now, after having spent pretty much the whole day with chef Mike and his kitchen boys (also why are they all guys the one that work in a restaurant kitchen?….nevermind…), I got on a cab to go back home. As soon as I stepped inside the car I saw this advertisement on the front seat. It was an ad for a “special” center here in Shanghai that supposedly is able to increase your breast size…and that illegally uses Monica Bellucci’s body to promote itself. I just glanced at it and remembered of the comment my bf (ok my ex…im trying to get used to calling him such) did about that ad, just a few nights before leaving for India…And just like that all the good feelings and emotions I had from the day spent in the kitchen disappeared and panic and sadness took over, and I start crying! I cried all the way home and it took me a while to be able to calm down and rationalize again…

I guess having these ups and downs is normal, after all it has only been 2 weeks since we broke up…

Anyways, after calming down I binged myself on ice cream and went to sleep and the following morning when I woke up I felt much butter!

As soon as I opened my eyes I felt the urge of making pesto! I had this quite big plant of basil on my balcony and since I’ll be gone for about 3 weeks and I didn’t want it to go wasted I decided to use it for making some pesto sauce!

While I was making the pesto I though “mmm, what about a tomato basil pizza for lunch?“. It immediatelly seemed like a great idea since I had nothing else to eat at home!

So that’s how I ended up making this delicious Tomato-Basil Pizza!

This is going to be my last recipe from Shanghai, all the coming one will be from my hometown kitchen in Lecce!

Give this a shot and let me know how you liked it!


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup warm water (+ more)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 tbsp pesto sauce
  • 1 big ripe tomato
  • 100 g bufalo mozzarella
  • 5-6 basil leaves

For the pesto sauce recipe, check out my older post Homemade Pesto!

Then go ahead and make the pizza dough! In a bowl combine 1 tsp sugar and the instant yeast.

Pour in about 1/3 cup of warm water and wait for about 10 min for it to become all bubbly and freaky

In a bowl of your electric mixer combine flour and 1/2 tsp of salt. Pour in the bubbly/freaky yeast water and mix it on low speed. While mixing drizzle in about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Mix all the ingredients together adding more water until you get a soft and smooth dough

Move the dough into a slightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.

About 2 hours later, defleat dough on itself and spread it on a baking tray (remember to grease it with some olive oil first

Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 more minute!

Now grab your fresh homemad pesto and spread about 2 or 3 tbsp of it on top of the dough

Take one big ripe tomato

slide it up

and distribute the slices on top of the pesto

Sprinkle some salt

Next up, take the bufalo mozzarella out of the fridge

slice it up and place the slices on top of the tomatoes

Finish with some basil leaves and a drizzle of oilve oil

Bake at 250 C for about 25 min  with the rack toward the bottom so the cheese won’t become overly brown before the crust bakes

Remove from the over, let it rest for a few minutes. Then serve!



– LittleDani


About the author:

An Italian living in China with a strong passion for cooking! Browse my 'left-overs' session for many tasty grub!. Follow her on Twitter / Facebook.