Portobello Pesto Pizza

One of my favorite things about playing around in the kitchen is trying to recreate favorite meals or desserts that I’ve had at a restaurant. It’s great to enjoy food out, sure, but it’s even better when you can duplicate it (or maybe even improve on it) from the comfort of home. This pizza is one of my latest projects in recreation. (You might remember previous projects: Fig and Almond Cheesecake, Cosi Signature Salad, and White Sicilian Pizza.) Here in Pittsburgh there is an establishment called Church Brew Works. In the Lawrenceville neighborhood of the city, St. John the Baptist Church was built in 1902 and thrived until a diocesan reorganization closed the parish for good in the early 1990’s. The building sat dormant until it was renovated and converted into a brewery and restaurant, which is a very popular destination in the city. I’ve eaten there twice in the last few months and both times ordered their portobello pesto pizza, which I totally fell in love with at first bite. I knew immediately I wanted to make a version at home, and dare I say, I think mine might take the cake!

Their pizza is a basic crust, topped with pesto, portobello mushrooms, red onion, kalamata olives, and provolone and Parmesan cheeses. I absolutely despise olives, so you know I was leaving those off of my pizza. Other than that I kept the rest of the ingredients the same, but I at least doubled the amount of mushrooms and onions, and upped the cheese factor as well. More toppings and more cheese are always good things in my book! Below is a little step-by-step on assembling the pizza…

First, shape your pizza dough and put it on your pizza peel (or whatever pan you will be baking it on):

Next, spread your pesto over the dough:

Then, pile on the mushrooms and onions:

Finally, top it off with loads of provolone and Parmesan cheese:

And in less than 15 minutes you will have a gorgeous, cheesy, bubbling pizza:

I love that I was able to make fresh pesto using basil from my flourishing basil plant out on the deck. Truly adds so much joy to food when you go out and harvest what you’ve grown; I’m loving it. And I’m loving this pizza. I already want to make it again!

P.S. If you’re in the Pittsburgh area during September/October, you must head to Church Brew Works and enjoy their Oktoberfest menu. Two years ago we went with another couple and made an entire meal out of appetizers – their potato latkes are to die for! (I should add that it’s a great place to hit any time of year – great restaurant, truly unique atmosphere, good food and drinks. I’m just a sucker for their Oktoberfest menu ;-))

One year ago: Barbecued Beans

Portobello Pesto Pizza

Yield: One 12-inch pizza

Prep Time: 30 minutes (active), 1 hour (inactive)

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


For the Pizza Dough:
½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
1¼ cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups bread flour
1½ teaspoons salt

For the Toppings:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, sliced
¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup pesto (homemade or store-bought)
8 ounces provolone cheese, shredded
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Make the Pizza Dough: Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

2. Process the flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube. If the dough does not readily form a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.

3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand for a few strokes to form a smooth, round ball. Put the dough into a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

4. Assemble the Pizza: Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven (if using). Heat oven to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes.

5. While the oven is preheating, prepare the mushrooms and onions. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the sliced mushrooms and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the mushrooms have released all of their liquid and both the mushrooms and onions are soft and browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball and cover it with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes. (You only need one ball of dough for this recipe, so at this point you can wrap one ball of dough in plastic wrap, put in a ziploc bag and freeze for another day - just move it to the refrigerator the morning you plan to use it).

7. Flatten the dough ball into a disk using the palms of your hands. Starting at the center of the disk and working outward, use your fingertips to press the dough until it is about ½-inch thick. Holding the center in place, stretch the dough outward. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and stretch again. Repeat until the dough reaches a diameter of 12 inches. Use your palm to press down and flatten the thick edge of the dough.Transfer your prepared pizza dough to a pizza peel, parchment-lined baking sheet or pizza pan (whichever you are using).

8. Spread the pesto over the pizza dough, just as you would pizza sauce, leaving a ½-inch border uncovered. Spread the mushroom and onion mixture evenly over the pesto, and then top with the provolone and Parmesan cheeses. Slide the dough onto the heated stone, or place your baking sheet or pizza pan into the oven.

9. Bake until the crust edges brown and the cheese is golden brown in spots, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice and serve (be careful, it will be hot!).


77 Responses to “Portobello Pesto Pizza”

  1. Jen of My Tiny Oven on June 23, 2011 at 12:22 am

    I have no words for how awesome this looks!


    • Melanie on July 23rd, 2011 at 11:22 am

      I’m with you!


  2. Katrina on June 23, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Mmm so yummy looking! Great idea!


  3. The Waspy Redhead on June 23, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Yummmmmmmmm I need this as a midnight snack right about now. 🙂


  4. Rosa on June 23, 2011 at 1:33 am

    Fabulous! I think that’s going to be on the menu very soon,




  5. Paula on June 23, 2011 at 3:41 am

    This pizza looks perfect! I will add it to my recipe binder for when the weather cools off and I think it’s safe again to turn on the oven! 🙂


  6. Sasha on June 23, 2011 at 4:25 am

    This looks SO good! Im not even a massive pizza person but this would be enough to convert even the biggest pizza-phobe, it looks so professional!


  7. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on June 23, 2011 at 7:01 am

    I want this for dinner!


  8. Penny Wolf on June 23, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Perfect timing! My Husband and I try to have pizza every Friday night and we really mix it up. Some times we buy it but mostly I try different recipes. It’s the crust that gets me going. I have mentioned before Di Carlos Pizza and I just can’t duplicate that crust!Not even close. http://www.dicarlospizza.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=64&Itemid=162
    Your creation looks great to try.


  9. Lori on June 23, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Can you post your pesto recipe too! Looks terrific!


    • Michelle on June 23rd, 2011 at 10:46 am

      Hi Lori, I will definitely do a post on the pesto, but in the meantime, here it is quickly:

      2 cups packed basil leaves
      3 cloves garlic
      1/3 cup walnuts (I always have walnuts on hand, never really pine nuts)
      1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
      1/2 cup olive oil

      Process the basil, garlic, walnuts and cheese in a food processor or blender, then with the machine running, slowing pour in the olive oil. Voila!


  10. Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! on June 23, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Amazing! I recently bought a new pizza stone and have been making pizza quite often… This delicious recipe looks like a must try!


  11. Blog is the New Black on June 23, 2011 at 7:59 am



  12. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on June 23, 2011 at 8:00 am

    This pizza looks absolutely amazing! Pesto is one of my favorite ways to change up the basic pizza. And portabelos are such a good pairing with it!!


  13. Ann on June 23, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Wow – that looks amazing! I love pesto & mushrooms! I think my husband would pass, but I’d eat his slices!


  14. Paula on June 23, 2011 at 9:00 am

    So nice that the beautiful old church wasn’t torn down and instead remodeled into a fabulous restaurant. Thanks for the link, I love the character of the place, it’s beautiful although it is a little odd to see those huge brewing vats where the alter and tabernacle once were! Your pizza *re-make* is gorgeous!


  15. Happy When Not Hungry on June 23, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Wow this pizza looks awesome! I’ve never thought to put pesto on pizza before but since my basil plant is growing like mad right now, I’m def going to try this!


  16. Judy on June 23, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Can I come over for dinner?


  17. Arlene on June 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I’ve got pesto in the freezer and will buy some portobellos and kalamatas (sorry–adore them) and will be making this pizza next week. Yum!


  18. Emily Malloy @Cleanliness on June 23, 2011 at 10:31 am



  19. Fran @ www.fransfavs.com on June 23, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I’m salivating! Can”t wait to try it. All I can say is we must be operating on the same wavelength. My husband wanted homemade pizza on Father’s Day, so I made him a Spinach and Ricotta pizza, my version of a Popeye pizza. It was delicioso! I posted it at: http://www.fransfavs.com/2011/06/spinach-and-ricotta-pizza/


  20. Mushrooms Canada on June 23, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Too many times I have tried to recreate a restaurant favourite and I fail miserably! This looks soooo good , I’m glad that yours turned out better 😉
    – Brittany


  21. RisaG on June 23, 2011 at 11:37 am

    This looks wonderful. I want a bite right now!

    I was in Pittsburgh 2 summers ago and had no idea – didn’t know that the place existed. Oh well. I would’ve tried it. I did get to Primanti’s though. I was staying at the Holiday Inn right there in the strip district.


  22. Annalise on June 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    This is exactly my kind of pizza. All those mushrooms- YUM! Thanks for sharing!


  23. The Café Sucré Farine on June 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I do the same thing when I go to a restaurant, I’m afraid sometimes I’m not that fun to be with because I’m analyzing and de-constructing the food – of course no one minds when I serve it up at home! 🙂 This looks just incredibly delicious, thanks for figuring it out, Chris


  24. Elizabeth @TheBareMidriff on June 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Wow. This flavor combination looks and sounds delicious! Thanks for changing things up a bit and using pesto instead of traditional tomato sauce – I’m sure the swap provided a big burst of flavor!


  25. Melissa on June 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    love, Love, LOVE that restaurant!!!! BEST french onion soup i’ve ever had!!! and your pizza looks devine!


  26. Kaitlin on June 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I LOVE portobello pesto pizza; I had no idea it was so simple to make though! Great recipe, your photos are beautiful.


  27. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride on June 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Oh, swoon! I love portobello mushrooms. I would have to leave the olives out also – much too salty for my taste.


  28. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on June 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Oh, this pizza looks incredible. I am going to make it soon with some of my homemade garlic scape pesto!


  29. RavieNomNoms on June 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I have never had pizza with pesto on it! What a fabulous idea though! Why didn’t I think about that?! YUM


  30. Jess on June 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Your pizzas always look so gorgeous, and those topping combinations sound out of this world! I’ll definitely have to try my hand at this sometime soon.


  31. Lindsey@Lindselicious on June 23, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    This looks super delish! I love the pesto combined with the mushrooms. I definately have a craving for pizza now!


  32. Stefanie on June 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    This sounds awesome! I’ve been wanting to make pizza, but didn’t want anything too bland. This seems like a perfect mix!


  33. Felice on June 23, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Great looking pizza and I love your ratio of toppings. The more the merrier!


  34. jess white on June 24, 2011 at 4:14 am

    mmmmm, yummy!


  35. Fran at fransfavs.com on June 24, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Wow–the pizza looks amazing! We must be sharing the same wavelength this past week with the strawberry-rhubarb pie and, in my case, spinach and ricotta pizza with plum tomatoes. Just posted the pizza for Father’s Day (pie a few days prior). I think Popeye would have loved the pizza! Can’t wait to try yours!!


  36. Rodzilla on June 24, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Never thought of Church Brew works for pizza – you’re version looks amazing though, I may have to give them a shot when I’m back in the area.


  37. Valerie on June 24, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Simple and delicious! I’ll make it for sure!!


  38. Becky on June 24, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    This post was more of an inspiration than a recipe how-to for me. I loved the idea of carmelized onions on pizza and had some pesto I had just made from my overproducing basil plant. What a fantastic way to use it up! I’m so excited to go home and warm some up after work tonight. It was yummo. Thanks for the motivation.


  39. Kathy Mercure on June 25, 2011 at 10:46 am

    This looks fabulous and is worthy of Friday Night Gourmet Pizza with wine!
    I recently made a pizza on my pizza stone on my barbecue and it turned out really well. I’m sure this would work on the barbecue on a pizza stone as well because everything is cooked, but the recipe I followed was at a much lower temperature (300 degrees for 15 minutes), which didn’t make too much sense to me. Pizza is always baked at a high temp.
    I wonder if I should try making this recipe on the stone in my bbq at such a high temperature at a quicker pace? That way we can enjoy great pizza all summer long!
    Another way to make this pizza would be with the dough directly on the grill at a higher temp, cook one side for 3 minutes, then flip and quickly add all the ingredients and cook for another 3. It’s fun, energizing and stressful, but if you have another set of hands, it works well.
    However, this recipe is going into my yum file!


  40. miri leigh on June 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Great recipe….can’t wait to make this pizza!


  41. Katie on June 25, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    I love the idea of combining pesto and mushrooms. This sounds delicious!


  42. Sta on June 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Yum! This looks really good!! For a long time, I’ve never liked mushrooms. Now, it’s something I love! I guess my taste buds have changed. 🙂


  43. jennifer on June 27, 2011 at 12:22 am

    great pizza, made it tonight, will have to put provolone on pizza more often, was super tasty. thanks for a great recipe!


  44. Jenn (Cookies Cupcakes Cardio) on June 27, 2011 at 1:15 am

    Wow…that pizza looks amazing! My MIL is Italian…straight from the country… and I think even she would like to eat this pizza!


  45. The Dinner Belle for KimberlyBelle.com on June 27, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Sounds like a great way to use up the basil in my garden too! And I love the use of provolone cheese! I think it’s a great cheese for pizza that is under used. I grew up with it in St. Louis on super thin St. Louis style pizza. Eat it Up!

    The Dinner Belle for Kimberlybelle.com


  46. Mskye on June 28, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Pesto, portobellos, pizza: yum! I’m wondering if you have made pizza doughthat doesn’t require the long rising period. I made some the other day that turned out great (http://mskye.com/cooking/?p=256), but maybe pizza dough that has been allowed to rise is even better. Any experience comparing the two?


  47. TallCakes on June 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    great looking pizza! hard to go wrong with shrooms and pesto on any pizza.


  48. Lindsay @ Pinchofyum on June 28, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Making this TONIGHT! 🙂 I was looking for a recipe with portabellas and voila. Here it is.


  49. Kristina on July 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    This pizza is amazing! I have made it twice already. I added chicken in w/ the sauteed mushrooms and onions and used a packet mix for the pesto but next time I am going to try making my own pesto. I may even add a head of roasted garlic next time. The crust is so easy to make and so delicious! THANK YOU!!!


  50. Bakingmehungry on July 2, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    This looks so tantalizing! The cheese, pesto, portabello is a great combo!


  51. Tali on July 3, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Wow! Looks incredible! One question though:
    If I don’t have a food processor, only a stand mixer, would I be able to get the same results?


  52. Angelica on July 6, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Been studying this recipe for a few days! Finally able to make it and I’m surprised how similar it looks like yours.


  53. Shumaila on July 12, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Tried this recipe and loved it! Have posted about it on my blog.




  54. Carrie on July 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I think you left the salt off of the list of ingredients for the pizza dough. I made this pizza last week for my boyfriend and parents – everyone loved it!


    • Michelle on July 25th, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      Oops, you’re right! I edited it to correct the recipe, thank you for the catch!


  55. Betsy on July 29, 2011 at 11:01 am

    OMG! Have been waiting for an opportunity to make this. Just the picture alone makes me salivate! Since my kids won’t even look at a mushroom, I had to wait for a dinner party. That party was last night. I served this as an appetizer to our grilled meal. It was a huge hit! Was almost gone before I got to try it. Thanks Brown Eyes! Made my own pesto too! YUM!


  56. Debbi on August 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Didn’t find your site till recently just seen your Portabello Pesto Pizza been looking for a recipe for Pizza topping without tomato for ages (husband hates tomatoes) Thank you so much will be trying this out very soon


  57. Lorena on August 24, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Made this tonight. Didn’t have any mushrooms on hand so I made it with bell peppers. It was awesome. My family loved it. Thanks!


  58. Amy on September 1, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Made this tonight for dinner and it was heaven on my plate; My husband who is not a fungus eating fan went back for 2nds, 3rds, and 4ths. He loved it and I’ll be making this again soon thanks again.


  59. Marilyn on September 13, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Yea! I finally tried it, and it was wonderful! It truly tasted like a pizza joint pie. Happy Mushroom Month. 🙂


  60. Hydralord_IV on November 6, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Hey, this pizza looks AWESOME! Going to try making it sometime…


  61. Shiloh Barkley on December 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I’ve made this twice now and decided to blog about it it’s sooo good! Gave you a shout out!


  62. Danielle on March 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Do you bake it at 500 degrees?


    • Michelle on March 11th, 2013 at 12:44 am

      Yes, as the recipe states, you bake it at 500 degrees.


  63. Jeniece on July 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Delicious! Super quick and easy and fills you up! I will definitely make it again!


  64. Carol on September 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    I FINALLY got around to try this pizza and oh my is this yummy!


  65. YDH on November 20, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    This recipe is great, thank you! I was wondering what to do with the dough if you’re serving the pizza for dinner and need to make the dough in the morning…is it best to leave the dough in the bowl, or roll it out but not put toppings, or completely bake it then reheat? Reheated pizza is never the same, but sometimes dough could rise “too much.” Wasn’t sure what to do in this case. I appreciate any advice, thank you!


    • Michelle on November 21st, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      I would refrigerate the dough, then let it come to room temperature when you’re ready to make the pizza. Enjoy! 🙂


  66. Heather on May 9, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    I LOVED this recipe!

    Thanks for sharing!


  67. magdykaram on June 9, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    this pizza is look very good, i’l try to make it


  68. MAYA @ MAYA- KITCHENETTE on February 27, 2015 at 2:45 am

    This pesto pizza looks fabulous and so easy. 🙂 !


  69. Leanne on July 13, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I don’t have a food processor or hand mixer. Can the dough be made without either of these?


    • Michelle on July 16th, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      Hi Leanne, You can certainly make the dough by hand, it will just take some elbow grease!


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