Fresh Tomato & Basil Pizza
Thank heavens for August. And, thank heavens August is almost over. It is *hot* right now, I am seriously uncomfortably warm in my living room. So what did I decide to do? Set the oven to 450.
As I discussed yesterday, we went to West Concord and had a nice time hanging with the dog, getting some great bread, snacking and walking around. On my menu for this week I wanted to do a fresh tomato pizza to celebrate the season, and I wanted to do it with just our San Marzano and Russian Black Prince tomatoes, but sadly I lost a couple to critters and was left with only one of each. Because of this, I put “good tomatoes” on my list, and when we were in town we stopped at this lovely store, Debra’s Natural Gourmet, which had some beautiful Brandywine tomatoes right up front! I grabbed a couple, grabbed two from our garden, and started to work right when we got home tonight!
I used a little trick I learned here today (thanks Jen!) to help infuse the tomato slices with basil flavor by pre-salting them and scattering the basil early. I let those work while I worked on the rest of the pizza. I wanted to give the pizza a hint of pesto flavor, so I chopped garlic and pine nuts together into a paste of sorts, which I spread with the sauce and basil before adding the tomatoes. I was surprised but the garlic did manage to shine through all the sweetness of the tomatoes and basil, and the little kiss of olive oil at the end brought all of the flavors together. This was SO good, but it really depends on the quality of your tomatoes so don’t skimp! Just take your time and enjoy this, and celebrate the cool end of the summer!
Fresh Tomato & Basil Pizza
- 1 Pizza/bread dough (or a ready-made crust, or canned Pillsbury-style)
- 3-4 medium heirloom and/or assorted color tomatoes
- 1 small bunch basil
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce (whatever you like)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp. pine nuts
- 1/2 cup mixed shredded Italian cheeses (Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, etc.)
- extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Using serrated knife, slice tomatoes thinly and arrange on a large platter or cutting board without overlapping. Season liberally with some kosher salt and let sit.
- Carefully remove at least 15-20 whole basil leaves from stems, set aside. Chop up another handful of leaves and scatter evenly on the sliced tomatoes.
- Stretch or place dough on baking sheet, spread the sauce in a very thin layer evenly around the dough.
- Chop the pine nuts and garlic together, and mince very finely, almost into a paste. Distribute evenly on the pizza.
- Lay the reserved basil leaves evenly around the pizza, just enough to cover the surface.
- Place tomatoes all over the pizza in one layer, alternating colors or tomato types, or whatever strikes your fancy. Be careful to keep tomato slices intact.
- Sprinkle cheese mixture over pizza just to cover, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the whole thing with and bake for 12-13 minutes, adjusting for the size of your dough. Let cool (if you can), slice, and devour instantly.
- Feed your hungry dog (or your hungry mouth) the rest of the tomato slices that wouldn’t fit on the pizza!