PW's Pesto, Fresh Tomato and Mozzarella Pizza ~

Nothing says Friday night better to me.  I adore pizza, grew up on store bought pizza because I lived in a City and we had a few great pizza places to order it from.  Then, we moved to New Hampshire and we only had a pizza chain that did not make great pizza at all.  So, I set out to make pizza on my own.  How hard could it be?  Well, it's not hard, but making the dough didn't appeal to me at all.  So, and trust me on this one, frozen pizza dough from the grocery store is a great source.  And so are your bakeries, or even pizza places.  Often these places sell their dough and cheaply.  In my pizza, I use a pound of pizza dough per pizza.  If it's frozen, I remove it from it's package and place it in a bowl, wiped with a little olive oil, cover with a kitchen towel and let it defrost on the counter for the day.  You want the pizza dough at room temperature.  Your dough will not stretch enough if it's cold, so let it sit and forget about it.  It will rise, but just punch the air out of it and place it on a floured counter and let it rest for 10 minutes, like this:

Next you are going to stretch your dough.  First, place the heel of your hand (palm), into the center of the dough ball and make a dent.  Then as you turn the dough around you are pushing the heel of your hand out away from the center.  Keep doing this a few times and then lift and stretch the pizza a little, fliping the dough over a few times.  It should start to stretch out and look somewhat like this:
Next, you can lift and stretch your pizza dough again and again, to get it wider.  I have my 1/2 sheet pan ready, sprinkled with a couple of teaspoons of course corn meal like this:

Pick up your pizza dough and place on the sheet pan, stretching it to almost fit the whole sheet, like this:

If you have a tiny tear in the center like I do, just patch it by pinching the dough together.  And don't worry about it, after a couple of times at dough stretching, you will feel like a pro.

I forgot a couple of things.  Before you start, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. 
Slice 3-4 roma tomatoes and add a couple of pinches of kosher salt on them and let them sit for 15 minutes like this:

Get a ball of fresh mozzarella, about 6 ounces like this:
 Next ingredient you want is 3 Tablespoons of prepared pesto.  I make my own and freeze it in ice cube trays, but store bought brand is great too.
Now we are ready to spread it on the crust.  It doesn't have to cover the entire crust, just use the back of a spoon to help spread it.

Next you want to add your sliced mozzarella cheese on top.  And press it into your dough a bit, covering most of the area.
Now the same with your tomatoes.  And, I do like to pat my tomatoes with paper towels to take most of the seeds and water off of them.  Too much moisture willl make your pizza soggy.  Place them pretty close together, as they shrink while they bake.
Next, my favorite ingredient, good parmesan.  Reggiano.... and I grate it right over the tomatoes, not ahead of time.  Here I am ready with my bit chunck of cheese and trusty microplane.  Also, after the cheese, add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

After the grated cheese is sprinkled all over the top, take a teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle the top.  Trust me on this one.

Now, pop it in the oven (place rack in the middle of the oven).  I don't use a pizza stone, but you could if you like.  Set your timer for 12 minutes.  Pull the pizza out of the oven and check the bottom crust.  It should look like this, or close to it.  I use a butter knife to check.

And the top should look like this, or even better....
And another shot.  Melted cheese and all crispy, brown crust.  Here is my last rule of great pizza.  Let it sit for 10 minutes before you cut it, or slice it.  I use kitchen shears to cut mine, but a pizza wheel will work nicely to.  Mangia ~
I hope you'll give pizza making a go, because it's easy and so delicious.  And with fresh ingredients, it makes a nice meal to share with your family and friends. 


Kristen said...

Yum,yum, yum!!! This looks delish and I'm going to have to make! Can't wait for summer tomatos!!!

Mary - excited about your blog!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kristen, you'll love this pizza. :)

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