Zucchini Lemon Pizza with Truffle and Hugo

Hello and welcome to Pizza and a Movie! I suppose it’s technically Fall now, but you still have some summer zucchini, right? Today’s vegetarian pie is so flavorful and texturally beautiful; with zing from fresh lemon and umami richness from black truffle paste. We are skipping the Mozzarella today in favor of nutty Gruyére. One of the superior melting cheeses, Gruyére gives this pizza an extra level of flavor with a smooth and creamy texture. Our movie this week is an older film from 2011, Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese. Let’s get right to it: Zucchini Lemon Pizza with Truffle!

Zucchini Lemon Pizza with Truffle

Zucchini Prep

To ensure every single bite of each slice has zucchini, I decided to slice the zucchini in wide strips, rather than rounds. This is an easy job with a Y-peeler. You’ll get long, thin zucchini ribbons. These thin ribbons will also allow me to use them raw – they will cook just enough to take away the raw edge, but not enough to get soggy. I will use about half of one large zucchini. Preheat your home oven to 450 degrees.

Slicing a zucchini into ribbons

For the lemon, use one lemon and slice it into paper-thin rounds. Pull out any seed or seed fragments from each slice. Then I have about 1 cup of freshly grated Gruyére cheese. To top the pie when it comes out of the oven, I have Sabatino Tartufi Black Truffle Paste and a hunk of Pecorino Romano that I will grate over the whole pie. You can go with white truffle paste, instead of black if you like.

Zucchini Lemon Pizza with Truffle ingredients

Build the Zucchini Lemon Pizza

Spin, stretch or roll your dough out to about 12-inches. Spread an even layer of the grated Gruyére over the dough. Leave a little of the Gruyére aside to top the pizza before it goes into the oven, if you like. Lay the zucchini ribbons over the Gruyére in a slightly overlapping pattern. Then top with fresh lemon slices. Sprinkle on any remaining Gruyére, and we are ready for the oven.

Zucchini Lemon Pizza

Bake the pizza for about 15 minutes in your home oven, until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden and puffy. It takes about 90 seconds in the wood oven.

Zucchini Lemon Pizza

When the pizza comes out of the oven, use a teaspoon to dollop some of the truffle paste evenly around the pizza.

Zucchini Lemon Pizza with Truffle

Then use a rasp-style grater, or zester to grate fluffy mounds of Pecorino Romano over the whole pie – even the crust!

Zucchini Lemon Pizza!

Zucchini Lemon Pizza with Truffle

This is such a simple pizza, but it packs a flavor punch. The truffle paste would do that well enough on its own; but when you add the fresh lemon, the slight bitterness of the rind and the bright pop of lemon really lift the whole pizza to another level. Zucchini adds a vegetal flavor, it’s tender, and has the springy give of raw zucchini. Cooking the fresh lemon takes just enough its raw tartness and bitterness away, giving wonderful balance to this pizza.

Movie Night: Hugo

We have our Zucchini Lemon Pizza ready, let’s get to the movie! Hugo is a totally unexpected film from Martin Scorsese. Based on a book by Brian Selznick, Hugo centers on an orphaned boy who lives in the walls of a Paris train station in the 1930s. In the first half of the film, we see the hero, Hugo Cabret navigating his world in the train station; attending to the upkeep of the station’s clocks, avoiding the station inspector. Hugo is committed to fixing an automaton that his father had tried to fix before his death and it is this desire that leads him to make a friend and discover the real identity of an older man who runs a toy shop in the station.

This film is beautiful; with gorgeous cinematography, direction, set design, costumes and music. When it was originally released in theaters, it was shown as a 3D movie; I wish I could have seen it in that format. A love letter to cinema history and film preservation, Hugo is wonderful film for the whole family, and it’s just as breathtaking for adults. Hugo is available to stream on Netflix.

Thank you all for joining me today for Pizza and a Movie, in case you missed any recent posts in this series, check out the Pizza and a Movie tab. Remember, September is not over yet, so there is still time to email me your pictures of any Djalali Cooks recipes you create. I will compile your images into a Reader’s Favorites post sometime in October. Email your images to, or DM them to me on Instagram. Take care and be well everyone! xo Kelly

Zucchini Lemon Pizza with Truffle

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Dinner, Main Course American/Italian
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes Total Time: ~30 Minutes

Zucchini Lemon Pizza with Truffle is so flavorful and texturally beautiful; with fresh lemon zing and black truffle umami richness.


  • 1 Prepared Pizza Dough
  • 1 cup Grated Gruyére Cheese
  • 1/2 Zucchini, sliced into ribbons
  • 1 Lemon, sliced into paper-thin rounds
  • Black Truffle Paste (like Sabatino Tartufi Black Truffle Paste)
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated over cooked pizza



Preheat oven to 450 degrees.


On a floured pizza peel, dust the dough with flour and create a crust around the perimeter of the dough and flatten down the center.


Stretch it out on the backs of your hands, left hand over right hand, until the dough is roughly 12-inches around.


Add more flour evenly on the peel and lay the dough on the peel.


First add a layer of Gruyére cheese, reserving a little bit to top the pizza before it hits the oven.


Lay the zucchini ribbons over the the cheese, in a slightly overlapping pattern.


Top the zucchini with the lemon slices. And sprinkle on the remaining Gruyére.


Bake the pizza for 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.


When the pizza comes out of the oven, use a teaspoon to dollop as much or as little truffle paste as you like, evenly over the pizza.


Use a rasp-style grater to grate the Pecorino Romano over the top of the whole pie, be sure to top the crust too.


Slice and enjoy!

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  • Mari
    September 24, 2021 at 10:21 am

    Happy Friday everybody, and have a wonderful effortless weekend. I am dying to see that movie! Yet another one I haven’t heard of due to keeping my head down and missing most of the cultural zeitgeist of the last twelve years. Okay I admit that I have been looking for an excuse to use cultural and zeitgeist in the same sentence even though it’s is a bit redundant, because my youngest son’s email nom de guerre is zeitgeist, and he is a culture vulture. At any given time he can tell you who everybody who is anybody, is, which movies and TV shows you HAVE to see, CDs that are about to drop, and where the best restaurants are. He is also into the future and sci-fi, which dovetails nicely into this weeks challenge. But before we get to that, D and I would totally love that pizza. Mine of course has to be wheat free and dairy free, so it might lose something in the translation, but his will be the real deal. I think we will both be very happy regardless. It’s genius.
    Okay this week’s Stump The Chef is not about pizza, but it could be, if you want it to be. Imagine a galaxy far far away. Or think of California. George Lucas is frantic to throw an epic wedding and reception for a dear friend of his named C-3PO, who is engaged to the love of his life. Dot Matrix. He isn’t a billionaire movie mogul for nothing. He has connections, so naturally he calls Kelly Djalali, who accepts the job. The wedding and reception will be held at Skywalker Ranch (and I will be in the library if you need me.). There will be an intimate gathering of three hundred people. What do you feed them, and what kind of wedding cake is there? Money is no object.

    • Kelly Djalali
      September 24, 2021 at 12:04 pm

      Hi Mari, Wow! This is really tough challenge! Of the 300 guests, I have to assume that a good number of them are robots and won’t be eating, lol! The wine of course would be from Napa Valley. Hors d’oeuvres would be like, small glasses of cold cucumber soup; grilled octopus bites; abalone tartare; and uni-topped tuna sashimi. Of course there would be caviar and blinis with all the accoutrements. The mains would be a selection of either local pheasant with a black currant reduction; wagyu filet mignon; or a vegan roasted vegetable dish, made with vegetables grown at Skywalker Ranch, of course! The cake would be a spherical chocolate cake with a mirror glaze done in a space or galaxy motif. A fancy soiree, indeed! Thanks so much for this fun challenge! See you here again soon, xo kelly

  • Mari
    September 24, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    That menu would be perfect for so many events. Everything sounded amazing. The cake was literally out of this world, and I love the idea of it. Next week we are back to the movies, but we are going to regularly throw in some off beat challenges. It’s so much fun to see what you come up with. Thanks for another fun Friday.