Celebrity chef and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian has been featured on Food Network competition shows like Iron Chef and Chopped and currently appears on The Kitchen. Mashed.com has called him the “godfather of the sexy hotel restaurant,” and he was chef/partner at Point Royal, one of those “sexy” eateries, at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, from 2017 through early 2020.

During his tenure at Point Royal, Zakarian’s team added pizza to the menu to attract more families to the hotel. More than that, though, “I’m a fan of pizza and love to make my own,” he told PMQ in 2019.

At that time, Zakarian shared his recipe for Point Royal’s signature pie, the Artisanal Cheese Pizza. It features mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil leaves.

Related: Lars Smith of State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria shares his recipe for Asparagus Pizza

This is a photo of a cheese pizza with basil leaves

Point Royal

The Artisanal Cheese Pizza
Courtesy of Chef Geoffrey Zakarian

1 8-oz. pizza dough
3 oz. pizza sauce
4 oz. mozzarella (preferably low-moisture), shredded
6 fresh basil leaves
1 oz. extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated

Preheat the oven to 525°F and place a pizza stone on the top rack of the oven to heat up. On a lightly floured surface, place the ball of pizza dough down and begin to form the crust by pressing from the center, pushing lightly out to form a lip for the crust. Knock down the dough by pressing firmly with knuckles around the dough. To stretch the dough, pick up the dough (which should be a flat 6” by now), and let it drape over the tops of your hands (the hands should be in the center). Slowly move your hands apart, lightly pulling the dough with them, but be careful not to let the dough break over your knuckles. Spin your hands one-quarter around and repeat the process until the dough reaches about 12” in diameter.

Place the stretched pizza on a pizza wheel or flat pan, dusted with semolina flour. Start building your pizza with the sauce first, moving the sauce around the pizza in a circular motion, starting from the center and moving out, leaving about ½” for the crust.

Next, working roughly 8” to 10” above the pizza, scatter the shredded mozzarella so that it falls in a broad area all around the pizza. (Remember that the cheese will melt to about double in area coverage, so you should see a lot of sauce under the cheese.)

Lightly finish with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and slide the pizza onto the pizza stone in the oven. Bake for 8 minutes. At the 8-minute mark, spin the pizza carefully so that the crust browns evenly and cook for another 8 minutes, or until the desired level of crispness is achieved. Remove from the oven, cut into 8 slices, and garnish with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh basil leaves. Serve hot.

Food & Ingredients, Recipes