The time had come to cut back the basil. In the last few weeks, it shot up from the dirt like a shiny green rocket. To avoid blooming (which spoils the flavor of basil), I cut it back hard and ended up with a whole lot of basil on my hands. I made pesto.
I also had some nice, sweet little cherry tomatoes from the farmers market, and I needed to make something I could pack for a picnic. I thought about trying to make a tomato tart, but I didn't have a lot of time (and honestly, I have yet to make a pie, so I didn't want to mess up dinner the first time trying it). So I made pizzas. Pesto, mozzarella, and cherry tomato pizzas. And yep, they were as good as they sound. Just sweet tomatoes, cheesy goodness, and a nice crisp crust with a smear of pesto.
FOR THE PIZZA DOUGH*
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 tsps (or 1 envelope) dry yeast
- 1/2 cup semolina flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsps salt
- 2 Tbsps olive oil
- 1 cup pesto (approximately)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 lb ball of mozzarella, sliced thinly
- grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Mix 1/2 cup of the water with the yeast. Let it stand about 10 minutes. (The yeast should be somewhat foamy.
- Add the rest of the water, the olive oil, the salt, and the flour and mix until the flour is completely incorporated and the dough is slightly sticky. You may need to do this with your hands.
- Oil a bowl, place the dough in the bowl. Roll it over a few times so that it's thinly coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 45-60 minutes.
- Divide the dough into four equal parts and roll them into balls. Let them rise under plastic for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees (Fahrenheit).
- Flatten the dough balls into thin disks (or if you are using baking sheets, rectangles). Try to make the dough as thin as possible without tearing it. Let the disks or rectangles rest another 15 minutes.
- When it's time to bake the pizzas, spread pesto all over them (as close to the edge as possible).
- Distribute the mozzarella slices among the pizzas.
- Spread the tomatoes on top of the pizzas. Grate Parmigiano Reggiano over the top of the pizzas.
- Bake them in the oven for 15 minutes. Serve and eat. They can also be eaten when they are lukewarm.
* Adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.