Monday, October 15, 2012

Tomato and Cheese Pizza

                What is so special about a tomato and cheese pizza?  Why would I bother posting about something as boring as a tomato and cheese pizza.  I sometimes think that just a few ingredients put together in just a simple way makes the best dish.  It's a new way to discover some old flavors.

                 I remember there was a take out pizza place near where I had once worked many years ago, before I was married.  They had a bruschetta pizza on the menu.  I had never had something like that.  I always had had the regular tomato sauce and cheese pizza with some varied toppings.  To have a pizza without cheese was new to me.  Bruschetta topping which consisted of chopped plum tomatoes, garlic, and onions laid on a thin crust pizza dough was the best pizza I had ever eaten.  That ended up being the only pizza I ever bothered getting again at the take out place.

                 I had these beautiful vine ripened tomatoes that I had just picked up at the grocery store the other day.  My mind brought me back to that old pizza place.  I suddenly had a craving for the simple.
I was going to make a pizza without that typical tomato sauce.  The flavors of the grilled tomatoes was the only tomato flavor that was going to be necessary.

I made my own pizza dough.

Ingredients for the pizza dough

  1. 1 cup of warm water
  2. 1 Tbl olive oil
  3. 3 3/4 Cups bread flour
  4. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1 1/2 Tbl sugar
  6. 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
Just combine all the ingredients in a bread maker in the order listed and put it on the dough cycle.  Once it is done kneading, let the dough double in size.  It may take an hour or a bit longer.

If you use a mixer, or mix by hand, just combine all of the ingredients to make a nice dough ball.  This is a smooth dough.   Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it and let the dough double in size.

Once the dough has risen, you can make one large pizza, or divide the dough.  I used 1/3 of the dough to make a 12 inch diameter pizza.  The crust was nice and thin.  Brush some olive oil on the dough.  Stretch out the dough gently and then let it rest for a minute.  Then continue to stretch and let it rest until the dough has reached the diameter you wish.

Place the dough in a pre heated 500F oven for 5 minutes.  The center of the dough may rise up.  It did for me.  When I took it out to let it cool, I was able to flatten it out again.

Brush some more olive oil on the dough again.

  1. Sliced, ripened, on the vine tomatoes, or plum tomatoes.
  2. Fresh mozzarella cheese
  3. Minced garlic from 2- 3 cloves
  4. Slivers of fresh basil
  5. Balsamic glaze (purchase at your local grocery store.  Found in the vinegar section)
Sprinkle the garlic around the pizza crust.  Then take slices of the mozzarella cheese and distribute it around the pizza crust.  Place the tomato slices evenly over the cheese and crust.  Then place the slivered basil over the pizza.

The first time the dough was cooked it was cooked on a pizza pan.  (You can use a baking sheet if that's what you have).  Now the pizza is going to cook directly on the top rack of the oven.  (Not on the top most spot, but the second highest tier.  I was able to get the dough of the pizza pan and on a baking sheet because my pan has edges.  I then slid it on the rack.  Place the pizza back in the oven for 5-7 minutes.  For me it was 7 minutes.  Keep a watch.  After 7 minutes the outer crust had a nice brown color, and there was steam coming from the tomatoes.  I slid the flat baking sheet under the pizza and was able to remove the pizza cleanly.

Once the pizza was out I took my balsamic glaze (which I recommend to use on this), and drizzled it on the pizza.

It is amazing that something so simple could taste so good, but it really does.  The dough is thin and crisp.  The balsamic glaze doesn't overpower, but it enhances the tomato.

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