Grana Padano PDO Cheese pizza with courgette, lemon & thyme

Everybody loves pizza! It is so glorified that it is almost unbelievable it was originally a peasant recipe...

Pizza is recognised worldwide as the “get together food”, the “weekend vibes food” a true example of what social dining should be all about - sharing! Nowadays you can find pizza in a million ways with any topping you like, but as every good Italian, Chef Danilo Cortellini prefers to keep it simple and focus on just a few ingredients...


  1. To make the dough, knead all the ingredients well until smooth. Remember to melt the yeast first in the warmed water and then add the salt and everything else. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts, shape them into rounds and let them prove in a warm area of your kitchen. Cover with a towel to prevent them drying out.
  2. Now prepare the Grana Padano PDO Cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour. Stir well with a wooden spoon and cook until golden. Now pour in the milk and bring it to the boil, constantly mixing with a whisk to avoid lumps from the flour. Once the sauce has thickened remove the pan from the heat and stir is the grated Grana Padano PDO Cheese and a touch of black pepper to taste. The flavoursome cheese will work as seasoning too. Let it cool on the side.
  3. Now slice the courgettes thinly and season them with salt and pepper to get rid of the excess of water.
  4. Dust your working surface with flour and start working the proven pizza balls with your hand to create large circles. They have to be about ½ cm thick. This part could be tricky, as if overworked, the delicate dough will lose all its accumulated air and become stiff and elastic as it was before the proving. Press with your finger while pulling gently the dough from the centre to the edges and rotate the circle as you go along too. It sounds complicated but is really not, it only takes a few practices rounds to get the hang of it, I promise.
  5. Place the pizzas onto lightly floured baking trays and preheat the oven to 230 degrees. Now cook the pizzas for 3 minutes and then take them out of the oven. Very quickly add 2 spoons of Grana Padano PDO Cheese sauce to each pizza and put them straight back to the oven and cook at 200 degrees for 5 more minutes, until the cheese sauce is well caramelized. Again take the pizzas out, scatter over the sliced courgettes and the diced mozzarella, sprinkle with a few thyme leaves, drizzle with oil and cook for 2 more minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven, add a touch of lemon zest and finish off with extra shaves of Grana Padano PDO Cheese cheese.

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Recipe Information

Preparation Time
30 minutes (& 3 hours proving)
Cooking Time
10 minutes


Ingredients for the dough

  • 250 g of bread flour
  • 250 g of 00 flour
  • 20 g of salt
  • 10 g of sugar
  • 300 g of water
  • 6 g of fresh yeast
  • 100 g of grated Grana Padano PDO Cheese
  • 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil


For the Grana Padano PDO Cheese Sauce

  • 250 ml milk
  • 25 g of butter
  • 25 g of 00 flour
  • 120 g of grated Grana Padano PDO Cheese
  • Black Pepper to taste


For the topping

  • 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 g of diced fiordilatte mozzarella
  • 2 green courgettes
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 30 g of shaved Grana Padano PDO Cheese
  • 1 small bunch of thyme