Let’s hypothetically say I was stranded on a island minus a Sandals Resort, and could select only one dish to eat amidst my indefinite stay. What would I choose? Well, I think homemade pizza would be my selection. (Remember this is a hypothetical, so I can pick!) May seem kind of simple, but pizza has cheese, and bread, and delicious going for it. But not just any plain cheeser, rather my homemade caprese. Fresh basil, tomatoes & buffalo mozzarella adorn fresh pizza dough with accent flavors of parmesan-romano, garlic, balsamic and lemon zest for a kick. I have been hooked on this combo for years and there were even times I ate it daily, though I can’t say I recommend that…
My first blog post a couple of years ago featured this very pizza, but without a recipe and much info. I think it’s time to change that!
I love toppings and lots of them, and I make several types of pizzas, like prosciutto with fontina & arugula, BBQ chicken, meatball, and even a cheeseburger pizza that is oddly delicious! Yet, for some reason I find myself gravitating to the simple fresh flavors of caprese, again & again. I aspire to always have the time to make fresh dough, but the reality is I never do! I detest store bought pizza dough from the can or par-baked Boboli; not sure why, but I just can’t work with it. Instead, I like to get fresh dough from a specialty grocery, or better yet, a local pizza place! Usually the restaurant will only charge a couple of bucks for a same day, fresh ball of dough. All required of you then is to toss it/roll it out to desired thinness, top it & bake it. Not so bad at all!
Time for a good glass of Sangiovese and a hot slice…
- 1 ball fresh pizza dough, floured
- 2-3 vine-ripened, red tomatoes (pretty ripe), slice & deseed/remove guts!
- 1 ball fresh buffalo mozzarella sliced thin-medium
- shredded Parm-mozzarella cheese blend
- lemon, for zesting
- ~ 2T balsamic vinegar for lightly marinating tomatoes & mozz.
- fresh basil (about 5 big leaves, or many smaller), chopped
- 1 jar fresh authentic Italian marinara, like Rao's regular or arrabbiata.
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- EVOO for brushing crust for initial browning
- corn meal for dusting bottom of pizza dough
- Preheat oven and baking stone (if you're using) to 475 degrees.
- Slice tomatoes and fresh mozz thinly, and drizzle with good balsamic, setting aside for use at end of pizza. (drain any/all access fluid).
- Roll fresh dough into pizza crust shape at desired thickness (thin better), making sure to flour rolling pin & work surface well.
- With fork poke small holes in raw dough throughout (to avoid bubbling-up in oven).
- Using a lightly-oiled, large baking pan, or just a baking stone, apply thin layer of corn meal & carefully transfer rolled-out dough for baking in oven.
- Brush raw dough with light extra virgin olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste.
- Transfer pan/preheated stone back in oven, and brown crust alone for about 10-15 min depending on thickness. (You want edges & bottom of dough to firm a bit)
- Once dough begins to bake, slide out from oven and apply even layer of sauce and minced garlic. Bake another 8-10 min.
- Now increase oven temp to 500 degrees & add even layer of shredded parm cheese mix, baking till crust begins to brown.
- Once crust is browning, you can add the slices of tomato and mozzarella alternating over pie.
- Bake several mins until melted.
- Remove from oven making sure crust is browned and add chopped basil and lemon zest on top.
- Cut with a sharp pizza cutter, and eat immediately!
This one is best on a thiner crust, so roll it out well!
Sometimes my pizzas are perfectly round if I’m feeling a little OCD, but mostly they’re more rectangular or amoeba shaped. More rustic I like to tell myself, and I’m no good at tossing dough in the air, unless I have a spare ball to work with after I drop the first one on the floor.
We want to avoid extra moisture in this pie, so deseeding and gutting the tomato slices is crucial. Also, we let the sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella soak in drizzled aged balsamic for awesome flavor, but not so much that is is soggy or overpowering. Using low moisture, fresh mozz can be very helpful for this one. We only add the tomatoes and mozz at the end to just melt, and we crisp the dough and sauce ahead. The chopped basil and lemon zest go on the warm pie after it comes out of the oven, so to keep the flavors bright and fresh. Im starting to get hungry!
Sure, ordering-in pizza is super convenient, but homemade, straight- from-the-baking stone, is superior to say the least! No more Digiorno people…Pin It