The following excerpt and recipe for Lemon, Mozzarella, & Thyme Pizzette is from Amber Guinness's cookbook "Italian Coastal: Recipes and stories from where the land meets the sea." It's available for purchase on Amazon.

This is an interpretation of the incredible grilled mozzarella and lemon leaves from Da Adolfo in Positano. At this wonderful beach shack restaurant large lemon leaves are placed on the grill with glorious slices of fresh Campania mozzarella on top, lightly melting the cheese and infusing it with a lemony aroma. A huge part of the magic is the ingredients — the Amalfi lemon leaves plucked that morning from the tree and the freshest mozzarella you can get — and of course summer sunshine and the view of the Tyrrhenian add to the experience.

When I’m at home I like to recreate the flavors in the form of pizza slices to be shared as an aperitivo with a drink before dinner. Nowadays you can get very good pizza dough at the supermarket, so I often just buy that as this isn’t ever the main event; just a nice citrusy something to nibble on. That said, if you would like to make your own dough, by all means do. I always use Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “perfect pizza dough” recipe (widely available online) to get the lightest, crispiest results. If you make your own, just adjust the recipe to however much dough you have, allowing about 110 grams (4 ounce) per pizza. Whichever dough you use, take it out of the fridge or freezer at least an hour beforehand to bring it to temperature. Frozen dough may need an extra 10 to 15 minutes for the gluten to relax. 

Lemon, Mozzarella, & Thyme Pizzette

  • Prep Time:40 mins
  • Cook Time:1 hr 10 mins
  • Total Time:1 hr 50 mins
  • Servings:8
  • Medium


  • 3 lemons - finely sliced into 3 mm 1/8 inch thick discs with ends discarded
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar or superfine sugar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Plain flour for dusting
  • 880 grams 1 lb 15 oz pizza dough
  • 4 large balls fior di latte mozzarella - torn
  • A handful thyme sprigs leaves - picked
  • chili flakes to taste
  • grated zest 2 lemons
Photo by Saghar Setareh
  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 325°F (conventional oven) or 300°F (convection/fan-forced oven). Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Cut the lemon slices into quarter wedges, removing any seeds as you go. Place on the prepared tray, allowing a little space in between. Lightly sprinkle each slice with sugar and salt, then place in the oven for 15 minutes until the lemon slices dry out and begin to curl up at the edges.

  • Step 2

    Meanwhile, lightly dust a baking tray with flour. Divide the pizza dough into eight even portions, folding the edges over and tucking them underneath to make a neat ball. Place each ball on the floured baking tray.

  • Step 3

    Remove the lemons from the oven and increase the 475°F or as hot as it will go. Lightly flour two more baking trays and place in the oven while you prepare the pizza. Drain the mozzarella and tear into very small pieces with your fingers. Leave in a colander in the sink for 5 minutes to drain off any excess liquid.

  • Step 4

    Lightly flour a clean work surface and place one ball of pizza dough on it. Use your middle three fingers to push down into the center of the dough, then with those fingers keep pushing outwards to stretch the dough, using the other hand to rotate it so it flattens out evenly — don’t use a rolling pin or you will push out all of the air. When it becomes quite wide and flat, lift and hold it by the edges in your hands, rotating it and allowing gravity to pull it down and stretch it. You want it to be about 24 cm (9 ½ inch) wide and 1 cm (½ inch) thick.

  • Step 5

    Sprinkle a handful of mozzarella over the base and season generously with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and chili flakes, to taste. Add a few dried lemon slices. Repeat with three more pieces of dough to make four little pizzas. Remove the hot baking trays from the oven and use a spatula and your other hand to transfer two pizzas onto each, making sure they are spaced at least 1 cm (½ inch) apart. Bake for 7 minutes or until the edges are browned and crispy (less if you have a proper pizza oven).

    Photo by Saghar Setareh
  • Step 6

    Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make another four pizzas and bake as soon as the first batch comes out of the oven. Scatter over the lemon zest and enjoy the first batch while the second batch cools slightly. Slice the pizzette into wedges and serve from a chopping board or serving dish alongside the rest of your aperitivo.

Tomato & Chili Topping

If you would like to offer two types of pizza, you can make four of the lemon and four with tomato and chili (another favorite). Cut 200 grams (7 oz) datterini cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise and then widthwise so they are in quarters. Toss them in a small bowl with some fine sea salt, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, a finely chopped red chili (deseeded if you don’t like it too hot) and a few chili flakes. Spoon some of the mixture over a prepared pizza base, leaving a dough border, and drizzle over some olive oil. Bake in the hot, hot oven for 10 minutes until the crusts are brown (less if you have a proper pizza oven). 

Courtesy of Thames & Hudson

Excerpted from Italian Coastal, by Amber Guinness

© Thames & Hudson Australia 2024

Text © Amber Guinness

Reprinted by permission of Thames & Hudson Inc,