Monday, September 5, 2011

Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes

My roommate got some tasty Roma tomatoes from the Menlo Park farmer's market and asked me how to make a roasted tomato pizza. So I spent a couple of hours showing him how to do it. It came out very good. Pizza seems easy to make and does not cost much, but you need to make an effort (labor of love) in order to get a really delicious reward -- the discovery that homemade is the best!
First you need to make some pizza dough... about one pound or so. You can use basic bread dough and mix in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. It's easy to find good recipes on the Internet, or you can just buy dough from a store (Trader Joe's sells one pound of fresh pizza dough for a little more than a dollar). 
Check the basic pizza dough recipe and baking tips at the end of this post.

Here is how to make roasted tomatoes and assemble and bake the pizza:

Slice about 4 pounds of ripe Roma tomatoes in half, then toss with 5-6 sliced fresh cloves of garlic, some sprigs of fresh oregano and thyme, olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Spread tomatoes, garlic and herbs on a baking/sheet pan and bake about 45-55 minutes in preheated oven (350 F) or until the juice is pretty much evaporated.


This is how it will look after roasting for 50 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Sprinkle rice flour lightly on a cookie sheet pan. Roll out the dough and place it on the pan (a cookie sheet pan is the simplest/easiest way to do it - you don't need a pizza stone). Lightly brush olive oil on the dough, then spread the roasted tomatoes on the top, then cheese whatever you like (sliced fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzarella, provolone, Gruyere, etc.). Finally, sprinkle some sliced fresh basil leaves if available. Place the pan on the lowest shelf in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.

Here is my roasted tomato pizza with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil.
This is traditional "Pizza Margherita" that I learned in Naples, Italy.
You may serve it with some grated or shaved Parmesan cheese, but they don't in Naples. They drizzle olive oil over on the pizza.

Pizza Dough-Pasta per Pizza

Preheat the oven 450º F
Makes one14-inch Pizza Crusts
Preparation time including rising: 2 hours, active time: about 20-30 minutes

1 tablespoon (1/4-once envelope) active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
3/4 cup warm water (about 110° F)
2 – 2 ¼ cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Extra flour (rice flour or semolina) for kneading and dusting

1.      In a small bowl, combine the warm water and sugar, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast into the water and let stand for about 5 minuets, until foamy.

2.      In a food processor, combine 2 cups of flour and salt. With the motor running, pour the proofed yeast mixture and the olive oil down through the feed tube. Process the mixture until it forms a ball. Adding more flour, a little at a time. If the dough is too wet, process for 20 seconds to knead the dough.

3.      Form the dough into a ball and place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn it to coat with oil. Covered with plastic wrap and a dish towel, and let the dough rise in a warm place, for 1-to 1½ hours, or until doubled in size.

Or put the dough in the refrigerator and let it rise overnight. Next day, let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours before proceeding with the recipe.

4.      To shape the pizza, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Gently form the dough shape you like about ¼ inch thick and transfer to the baking sheet. Scatter the sauce and mozzarella cheese over the pizza, leaving a ½ -inch rim, and layer the topping as you wish.

5.      To bake the pizza, place the baking sheet with a pizza on the lower oven rack and bake for 10-12 minuets. If you have heated baking stone, then, finishing baking the pizza by sliding it off the pan directly onto the baking stone (be careful, not touching hot stone or the oven!). Bake the pizza on the stone for 4-5 minutes to crisp the bottom until well browned.

No comments:

Post a Comment