February 4, 2012

Tomato and Basil Pizza

Phew. This has been one busy weekend. And it's only Saturday afternoon. That's okay, though. I like busy. Especially when it's with things like spending time with my friends and family...and baking, of course.

I have quite a few pictures and recipes from this weekend, but I'll start with the homemade Tomato and Basil Pizza my mom and I made last night. Here we go...

Tomato and Basil Pizza

Tomato and Basil Pizza

2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds small-to-medium sized fresh tomatoes, sliced 
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and quartered lengthwise or thickly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional oil for the pizza 
12 branches of fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Bay leaf
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
12 oz fresh pizza dough (we bought whole grain dough in the Publix bakery...it was delicious) 
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
One bunch of fresh basil 
Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
2. Toss together the tomatoes with the garlic, olive oil, thyme, bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper (be generous with the salt). Then, lay the tomatoes out on a non-stick baking sheet that's large enough to hold the tomatoes in a single layer. 
3. Roast in the oven for 1 hour, checking midway during roasting to make sure the garlic isn't burning. If the tomatoes are getting overly dark on the bottom, turn them with a spatula. 
4. After one hour, turn off the oven and leave tomatoes in the oven until oven cools completely. Roasting time will vary depending on the size of tomatoes; just roast them until they've given up their juices, as shown in the picture.
5. To make the pizza, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and place a heavy baking sheet on a rack on the lower third of the oven.
6. On a lightly floured surface, roll and stretch the pizza dough into a 14-in circle. Place the dough on a sheet of parchment paper. 
7. Brush the dough with a thin layer of olive oil. Drain the tomatoes well, then distribute the tomatoes and garlic over the dough. Put the mozzarella slices over the tomatoes, then place a dozen fresh basil leaves on top of the pizza and grate some Parmesan over the top. 
8. Transfer the pizza to the baking sheet by grabbing the hot baking sheet out of the oven and slide the pizza onto the hot baking sheet.
9. Return the pizza to the oven and bake for 10 to 20 minutes, until the pizza is baked to your liking; the bottom crust should be crisp and the top should be slightly browned and bubbling. 
10. Remove from the oven and serve with additional Parmesan cheese if desired. 

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