Friday, May 20, 2005

Cherry Tomato Pizza Margherita

Cherry Tomato Pizza Margherita (Adapted from Bon Appétit)

cornmeal, for dusting
12 or 16 ounces prepared whole-wheat pizza dough (I used our favorite recipe)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces cherry tomatoes
salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon coarsely crushed fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced
4 ounces whole-milk or part-skim mozzarella, diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, plus additional for topping

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in top third of oven.

Roll or stretch dough into a 13" x 10" rectangle on a cornmeal dusted surface. Transfer dough to a large baking pan coated with nonstick spray. Fold over roughly 1/2" to 1" of the edge of dough to make a thicker border all the way around, pinching to seal. Cover dough and set aside while you prepare the topping.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high until hot, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle in oil - add tomatoes and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cook, tossing tomatoes occasionally, until the tomatoes are charred and just beginning to break down, about 5 minutes. Scoop mixture into a large bowl - add in garlic, fennel and crushed red pepper, tossing gently to coat.

In a medium bowl, toss together cheese and chopped basil. Scatter cheese mixture evenly over the top of the dough. Spoon tomato mixture over the cheese - season lightly with salt and fresh ground black pepper, if desired. Place pan into the oven and bake until the crust has browned and the cheese has melted, about 16 to 25 minutes (depending on how much dough you use). Remove pan from the oven and slide pizza out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. Arrange fresh basil leaves over the top just before cutting.

Makes about 4 servings.

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