Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cherry Tomato Pizza Margherita

I'm on a quest to make GOOD homemade pizza. I'm also on a quest to use up all the cherry tomatoes growing in my garden. So it was time to try the recipe for Cherry Tomato Pizza Margherita from the April, 2010 issue of Bon Appetit magazine which I have been holding on to for a few months.

I was looking for refrigerated pizza dough at Whole Foods and couldn't find any. Finally one of the employees told me I could get pizza dough from the guys who make the pizza! How exiting is that? So I went over to the corner and had a choice between regular (which I still think is made with whole wheat flour) or multi-grain. I chose the multi-grain. It was only about $2.50 and I got about 22 ounces of dough. I was also advised that I could freeze it if I didn't use within 24 hours.

So home I went all excited with my fresh pizza dough and buffalo mozzarella. I went out back to pick tomatoes off the vine and clip off some basil. I confess that my buddy did most of the work... he wanted to try and flip/spin the pizza dough up in the air so I let him have at it. The dough was foreign for us to work with. We ended up making this recipe three times in one week while trying to perfect it and we learned that adding a bit of flour helped alot! And after watching a few videos about flipping pizza dough, my buddy is becoming quite talented at it.

I worked on the tomatoes. And the tomatoes were so tasty after we finished with all the seasoning, we were drinking the leftover juice!

In this recipe they advise to spread the cheese out all over the dough and then dollop the tomato mixture on top. This seems opposite of what we were used to - spreading tomato sauce on the dough and sprinkling with cheese. But it comes out really well so if you try this, I recommend following their instructions. Yum!

Cherry Tomato Pizza Margherita
Serves 4

1 13.8-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 12-ounce bag cherry tomatoes, stammed
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 teaspoon fenndl seeds, coarsely crushed in plastic bag
1/4 teaspoon diced crushed red pepper
1 4-ounce ball fresh mozzarella in water (ovoline), diced
4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella, diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves plus small leaves for garnish

Position rack in top of oven and preheat to 425° F. Unroll dough on heavy large baking sheet; pull to about 12x8-inch rectangle, pinching any tears to seal. Fold over edge of dough to make border.

Heat large skillet over high heat 2 minutes. Add oil, then tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until tomatoes are charred and beginning to break down, about 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in garlic, fennel and crushed red pepper. Using back of fork, crush tomatoes in bowl, leaving large chunks intact. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Toss cheeses and chopped basil in medium bowl.

Sprinkle cheese mixture evenly over dough, right up to border. Spoon on tomato mixture in dollops, leaving some cheese uncovered. Bake pizza until crust is crisp and brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Loosen pizza with metal spatula and slide onto board. Garnish with basil leaves.

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