This was our first attempt at homemade pizza in years, and we were very pleased with the results. I should admit up front that, since it was a work night, we didn’t attempt to make the dough from scratch– that’s more of a Sunday project. We bought a blob of pizza dough from Trader Joe’s instead. But we had some beautiful fresh orange and red heirloom tomatoes straight from the farm, fresh mozzarella, local raw-milk gruyere, a monster of a shallot and some fresh garlic, all from the Headhouse Square Farmers’ Market. The fresh ingredients really made a difference!
Joe stretched the dough out to about a foot in diameter– it was quite springy so that wasn’t an easy task, even for someone who used to work at a pizza shop. We started with a gentle drizzle of olive oil and some chopped shallots and garlic. Not too much, you don’t want to overwhelm the flavors of the tomatoes and cheese. Next, a layer of grated fresh mozzarella, then a quick grate of a much smaller amount of gruyere. Finally, sliced orange and red tomatoes arranged on top of the pie and drizzled with a hint of olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. We don’t have a pizza stone (although, ahem, my birthday is November 15), so we baked the pizza on a cookie sheet. It worked out fine, although a pizza stone would have crisped the bottom of the crust a bit more. The directions on the dough said to bake it for 8-9 minutes, but the tomatoes and mozzarella release so much water that we ended up baking it for about 12 minutes to get some nice browning going.
When it had about 3 minutes to go, Joe sprinkled some chopped fresh basil on top of the pizza.
The result was one of the better pizzas I’ve had in a long time. The tomatoes were bursting with flavor, the basil was delicious, and the garlic and shallots gave it just enough of a kick. The crust wasn’t massively flavorful– when we do it from scratch we’ll salt and season it a bit– but it was perfectly serviceable and had a nice texture to it. I’d prefer homemade, but for an after-work meal on a Wednesday night the packaged dough made this an easy, quick meal. Not bad for a first attempt! I’ll post a picture tonight if our crappy Earthlink internet access is up to it.
Also: The Real Potato received our 5,000th hit today! Woohoo! Cookies for everyone!