Roman-Style Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes & Mozzarella

pizza close up.jpg

Roman-Style Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes & Mozzarella

Pizza is one of those foods that you really cannot mess up... even a cheap slice from a random pizza shop tastes like a little bit of heaven and I find that I really don't discriminate between Pizza Hut and the local "gourmet" pizza spot (in Boston, that was

Upper Crust

... in New Haven,

Sally's

or

Pepe's

... in Denver, we are still figuring that out).  I mean, how can you ruin bread, tomatoes and cheese?

However, outside of a slice of pizza in Itlay, I think the best pizza is homemade.  The crust is fluffy and uneven (in a good, handmade way) and flavorful... the cheese and sauce and toppings are exactly as you want them.... and you know all of the ingredients are fresh. 

pre cooking.jpg

Ready for the oven

I love to make pizza dough to keep in the refrigerator for quick weeknight meals. My go-to dough recipe is

this one

 from the June 2003 issue of Gourmet.  What sets this apart from other recipes (in my opinion) is the inclusion of olive oil. This recipe can be doubled or tripled so you have pizza dough on hand - there is always something in a kitchen that can be chopped up and thrown on top of a pizza.  

Because I already have a stand by pizza dough recipe, I wasn't sure I wanted to try the 

Roman-Style Pizza

in the most recent Bon

Appétit

but I am glad that I did (thanks for the review ahead of time, Kate). This pizza was a huge hit.  The crust was fluffy and had a great flavor. The lack of tomato sauce allows the flavor from the toppings to really shine, particularly the roasted tomatoes which were delicious. Especially early in the season when tomatoes lack the flavor they have in the height of summer, roasting really brings out the best they have to offer and only takes 10-15 minutes.  This is incredibly simple and a must make. Try it this weekend!

I've altered the recipe a bit, including the addition of some herbs and spices and I did a mix of fresh buffalo mozarella and pre-shredded mozarella from the store. One of the most useful tools I have in the kitchen is an

olive oil

spritzer

that allows me to spray the pizza dough with olive oil without putting on too much or having it not spread evenly (I use it all the time to

spritz

roasted vegetables, too).  Also, the original recipe called for a pizza stone, which I dont' have.  If you have one, check out

the original recipe

because they suggest pre-heating the stone while the tomatoes roast.  Finally, the original recipe suggests that you can create two pizzas out of the recipe. Perhaps I prefer a thicker crust, but there was definitely only dough enough for one.

Making pizza also creates an opportunity to use one of my favorite fun kitchen utensils:

the Animal House Piranha Pizza Cutter

.  Thanks, Corey & Geoff! 

slice.jpg

Roman-Style Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes & Mozzarella

Adapted from the

May 2011 Bon

Appétit

Yield = 4-6 servings 

  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp.active dry yeast
  • 8 1/2 Tbsp.extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp.kosher salt plus more
  • 2 1/4cups(or more) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 lb. tomatoes (cherry or grape are preferable, but I used Roma because that is what I had!)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Semolina (or regular flour) (for dusting)
  • 2/3cupfreshly grated Parmesan, divided
  • 2cupsgrated mozzarella (about 8 oz.), or 6 oz. buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced, divided
  • 2 tbsp Italian herbs, dried basil or Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Pizazz
  • Chopped fresh basil

Preparation

Combine 3/4 cup warm water (105°-115°), sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let sit until spongy, 4-5 minutes. Mix in 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil and 1 tsp. salt. Stir in 2 1/4 cups flour. Turn out onto a work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticking, about 6 minutes. Grease a large bowl with 1 Tbsp. oil. Add dough, cover bowl with plastic; let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, position oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat oven to 500°. Scatter tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 1 Tbsp. oil, toss, and season with salt and pepper (or spritz with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper). Place tomatoes on lower rack; roast until skins split, 10-12 minutes. Let cool on rack.

Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet with semolina. Roll or stretch dough into a 13x9" rectangle. Cover with kitchen towels; let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer rectangle to prepared pizza peel or rimless baking sheet. Brush with 3 Tbsp. oil, sprinkle with half of the Parmesan, then mozzarella, and top with half of the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and other herbs and spices as you desire.

Bake until crust is browned and crisp, 10-15 minutes. Transfer pizza to work surface. Garnish with basil. Slice and serve.

whole pizza.jpg

Fresh from the oven