Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

You will need:
- 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
- 2 (8-ounce) pieces of homemade or purchased pizza dough, recipe follows
- 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/3 cups, grated pasteurized mozzarella
- 2 Roma tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 large garlic clove, minced, optional
- 6 fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon salt

Pizza Dough: (if not purchased)
- 1/2 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
- 2 teaspoons dry yeast
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil

Mix the warm water and yeast in a small bowl to blend. Let it stand until the yeast dissolves which takes about 5 minutes. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor to blend and then blend in the oil. With the machine running, add the yeast mixture and blend just until the dough forms. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until its smooth. Next, transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draft-free area until the dough doubles in volume which takes about 1 hour. Punch the down dough and divide into 2 equal balls. (The dough can be used immediately or stored airtight in the refrigerator for 1 day.) Position 1 oven rack in the center and the second rack on the bottom of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Then, sprinkle the cornmeal over 2 rimless baking sheets. Roll out each piece of pizza dough into a 10 to 11-inch-diameter round. Transfer 1 dough to each prepared baking sheet. Next, drizzle 2 teaspoons of oil over each pizza dough. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the pizza dough, dividing equaling and leaving a 1-inch border around each pizza. Then, arrange the tomato slices in a single layer over the cheese. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and arrange basil leaves on top. Next, drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle garlic all over. Bake the pizzas until the crusts are crisp and brown on the bottom and the cheese is melted on top which takes about 15 minutes. Once it's done, drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil over each pizza and spinkle with basil for garnish and salt. Finally, cut the pizza into wedges and serve. Enjoy!

- Nicole

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