Recipe by River Cottage

“Coming up with unusual pizza toppings has become a bit of an obsession for Hugh – this is a current favourite.

It’s not worth making the dough in smaller quantities than this, but if you’re only feeding a few, you can freeze some of the dough (in pizza-sized portions) and scale down the topping accordingly.”

This recipe features in “Hugh’s Three Good Things”, published by Bloomsbury, and available from


Makes 3 pizzas, each serving 2–3

For the pizza dough:

  • 250g plain white flour
  • 250g strong white flour
  • 1½ level teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon easy blend (instant) yeast
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil, plus a little extra

For the topping:

  • About 300g kale or cavolo nero, leaves stripped from stalks and cut into ribbons
  • Extra virgin olive oil to trickle
  • 25g butter
  • 3 onions, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 200g cooked peeled chestnuts (vacuum-packed are fine)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


To make the pizza dough, put the flours in a large bowl with the salt and yeast. Mix well. Add the oil and 325ml warm water and mix to a rough dough. Flour your hands a little. Tip the dough out on to a work surface and knead for 5–10 minutes until smooth. This is quite a loose, sticky dough – as it should be – so try not to add too much flour. It will become less sticky as you knead.

Trickle a little oil into a bowl, add the dough and turn it. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, 1–2 hours. Preheat the oven to 250°C/Gas 9, if it goes that high, or at least 220°C/Gas 7. Put a baking sheet in to warm up.

Meanwhile, add the kale or cavolo to a pan of boiling salted water and cook for about 3 minutes until tender. Drain in a colander and refresh under cold water. Drain, then squeeze out excess water.

Return the pan to a medium heat. Add a dash of olive oil and the butter. Sweat the onions for 10 minutes or until soft and golden. Take out half and

combine with the kale. Add the garlic and chestnuts to the onions in the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add 200ml water and simmer for 2–3 minutes. Reduce to a rough purée with a handheld stick blender. Season.

Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and deflate with your fingers. Rest it for a few minutes, then cut into three. Roll out one piece as thinly as you can. Scatter a peel (pizza shovel) or another baking sheet with a little flour (or polenta) and place the dough base on it. Spread one-third of the chestnut purée over the base, then scatter over one-third of the kale and fried onion. Give the whole lot a generous trickle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.

Slide the pizza on to the hot baking sheet in the oven (for a really crisp crust). Or, simply lay the baking sheet on the hot one in the oven (to avoid the tricky pizza transfer). Bake the pizza for 10–12 minutes until crisp and golden brown at the edges – even a little burnt in places. Repeat with the remaining dough and topping.