Today I sensed movement outside my kitchen window. I looked out to see my tomato vines falling to the ground, taking the deer netting with them. I went out to see if there was anything worth salvaging and gather any fallen tomatoes. Look at what I found, a huge heart shaped tomato! I brought it in, along with several others but I just couldn't put this one in the sauce pot with the others. So, with the exception of fried green tomatoes, the season is over for me. I am not putting the deer netting back up so they will probably wipe out the rest of the vines tonight. Oh well, a deer's gotta' eat too! I have had a great tomato season and have not water a single one. Tomato sauce is simmering on the stove as I type this.
I guess I had tomatoes on my mind today. As Michael left to spend the day with his daughter, I told him I was going to make a Margherita Pizza for lunch. I didn't realize at the time that I would be making tomato sauce too.
I cheated today and used pizza dough from the local market. I used my homemade marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil from the garden. I actually baked two pizzas today, one baked with fresh tomato slices on it and another with the tomatoes added after the pizza baked. I definitely like the second one the best. The tomatoes were so juicy that they made the crust soggy and the first version took longer to bake. Traditional Margherita pizza uses Roma tomatoes, which are fleshier than the variety I used, so this probably wasn't a fair assessment. But, I liked the second pizza better with just a little torn basil and cherry tomatoes added after baking.
I found the best way to make sure I can slide the pizza off the peel and onto the hot pizza stone in the oven, is to make it on parchment paper. Then I can just slide the peel under the parchment paper and slide the pizza right onto the stone. The paper didn't' burn, even on a hot pizza stone in a 500 degree oven.
- Pizza crust
- Tomato sauce or pizza sauce
- Fresh mozzarella (sliced)
- Fresh Tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 50 degrees. If you use a pizza stone, make sure it is in the oven before you start preheating. If you don't use a stone then a baking sheet or pizza pan will be needed.
- Shape pizza dough as large as you like. The crust can be as thick or as thin as you like. I made two pizzas, about 9 inches across. If your pizza sought keeps shrinking back up, let it site, covered with a dish towel for about ten minutes then try again. Once the gluten relaxes it should be easier.
- Brush pizza sauce over the crust in a thin layer. Traditionally Margherita pizza has very little sauce. Arrange slices of fresh mozzarella on top making sure you leave space between them, Again, this type of pizza calls for less cheese than a regular pizza. The fresh mozzarella will spread as it bakes.
- Place the pizza on the hot stone using a pizza peel, taking great care not to get burned! Bake the pizza until the cheese melts and gets a few browned spots and the crust golden brown. remove the pizza from the oven. Add torn basil and fresh tomatoes to taste.