Off-Grid Cooking: Brick Oven Tomato Basil Pesto Pizza

I have tried many different pizzas in my lifetime but my favorite is made in a brick oven; brick oven pizza is just amazing! Today I want to share with you this delicious recipe, including instructions on using the brick oven. Tip: make sure you get the fire in the oven going for about 2-3 hours before cooking.  Also, the pizza stone must sit in the oven for an hour before baking.

Of course, you want to start out by making your pizza dough. There are so many recipes for pizza dough available to choose from, so find one of your favorites and follow the instructions. Set the dough aside and begin working on the pesto sauce and watching the fire. A thinner crust is a little better for baking in the brick oven but a thick crust will also work well -- just cook it longer and rotate it a little more often.

To properly use a brick oven you will need a few items:

Baker’s Peel / Pizza Paddle

Cast Iron Pizza Stone/Pizza Stone

Fire Resistant Oven Mitts


Basil Pesto Sauce

2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves

½ Cup Grated Romano or Parmesan – I like to use a mix of both.

½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/3 Cup Pine Nuts

3 – 4 Garlic Cloves

Salt & Pepper to Taste


First, blend the basil leaves and pine nuts in a food processor.

Add the garlic and cheese to the mortar and pestle and mix.

Add the oil to the mortar and pestle. Add the oil slowly for it to blend properly.

Mix in the salt and pepper and it’s ready. Sometimes I like to let it stand for several minutes to let the flavors blend.

The Pizza

Roll your dough out to about 14 inches or to fit the size of your baker’s peel.

Toss some cornmeal onto your bakers peel to keep the dough from sticking, and then place the dough straight onto it. You will make your pizza directly on the peel.

½ Cup Fresh Mozzarella

½ Cup Provolone

3-4 Plum or Roma Tomatoes

1 Pound of Pizza Dough of Your Choice

Corn Meal For Dusting

3-4 Tablespoon Pesto Sauce

Build your pizza up however it is you like to make it. I like to add the pesto sauce then layer the different cheeses and tomato.

When the pizza is ready to go into the oven you simply open the oven and slide your pizza from the Baker’s Peel onto the pizza stone that has been heating in the oven. Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes, spinning it half circle after about 5 minutes. Remove the pizza, slide it off to cool, and slice.

One of the really cool things about a brick oven is there are tiles on the oven floor that you can just put the pizza straight onto without the pizza stone. A pizza stone will help the pizza cook more evenly all the way around because it draws in all the heat from the oven floor and surrounding and stores it. When the pizza hits the pan it begins to cook evenly.

If you don’t have a brick oven you can still make a pizza using other methods to baking over open flame.

I love to play around with my recipes. This pizza is delicious with fresh spinach leaves placed straight on top when it comes out of the oven. Another thing I like to do sometimes is to add fresh cool tomato slices directly on top of a pizza fresh out of the oven. I love it on a hot summer’s night.