Saturday, September 17, 2011

Caprese Pizza

I really enjoy watching cooking shows because they generally get my creative juices flowing with ideas for new recipes. I happened to watch a show on Cooking channel the other day while feeding the baby when I had a scrumptious idea pop into my head. I do not remember what show it was but the theme was Caprese dishes (Caprese salad and caprese spaghetti were the two main dishes presented).

In case you are unsure of what Caprese is you can check it out on Wikipedia. Basically, it is a simple dish featuring tomatoes (fresh grown not store bought), fresh mozzarella cheese (not the kind in blocks), and fresh basil. YUMMM!!! Those are 3 ingredients that I just love. Anyway, I had picked up some fresh mozzarella a couple of weeks back for a specific dish (it was on sale), but I didn't end up using the whole amount that I'd purchased. I also had 2 small, perfectly ripe tomatoes from my garden, and loads of fresh lemon basil. Here was my idea - Caprese Pizza. So I tried it on a whim (pizza was on the menu for later in the week but I had to run some errands so I didn't get home in time to make the chicken pot pie that was originally on the menu for that night). I made the first 3 pizzas, 2 pepperoni for the kids and a veggie pizza for Jared and I, but just couldn't stop there. I HAD to try my idea while it was fresh in my head so here goes:
  • 1 tube Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough (I got these on sale for $1 with coupons) - you could substitute homemade but then it would have to be rolled very thin
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon or regular basil leaves, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch kosher salt + kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella sliced into 1/4" thick disks (yes, this is best fresh, you can find it by the deli)
  • 2-3 small tomatoes, about 3" in diameter sliced to 1/4" thick (PLEASE do yourself a favor and use homegrown or buy them from a farmer's market so you know they have been grown for flavor and not just mass production, you will thank me later)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll pizza dough out onto a greased pan according to package instructions.
  2. Mince 4 tablespoons of the basil and through it in a small bowl with the olive oil, garlic, and pinch salt. Brush or rub it all over the pizza dough. Place pan into the oven for 10 minutes. While dough is in the oven, place tomato slices on two layers of paper towel to help remove some of the moisture.
  3. Remove dough from oven, cover with mozzarella disks and tomato slices. Sprinkle remaining basil over the pizza along with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Place back into the oven and broil for 2-4 minutes until the cheese is nicely melted. (Tip: don't put the pizza on the very top rack during broiling. Put it on the 2nd rack.) Let the pizza rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving. 
I thought this turned out SOOOOO delicious and Jared (who usually isn't much of a tomato fan) thought it was really tasty, too.
I forgot to take pictures the first time I made this pizza, and this time I forgot to pick up fresh mozzarella
so I was "forced" to use Touch of Philadelphia style Mozzarella, still good though.

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