I have an admission: I love pizza in all its forms. I love it when it’s gourmet and brick-ovened and topped with choice ingredients. I love it when it’s out of a box, taken from the freezer, and baked on the rack of the oven (DO NOT BAKE THE CARDBOARD DISC.). I love it delivered, I love it on homemade crust. I even love the bad frozen French bread pizza. I love making English muffin pizzas and pita pizzas and…well…you get the point.
But, thus far this year, I had not actually made pizza with ingredients from my garden. I’m not really sure how I overlooked this. Perhaps I was afraid to heat up the kitchen any more than it already was? Or maybe I was just that busy this year.
When we had a near-frost in mid-September, I harvested a ton of unripe, kind of ripe, nearly ripe and fully ripe yellow pear tomatoes, and those were still hanging out on my counter, the green ones slowly working their way toward yellow. I still have basil growing out there, and now there’s some arugula in the mix.
I will stop here just to recommend homemade crust over store-bought. I mean, that’s a pretty obvious statement, because isn’t everything homemade better than what you can buy? That being said, I haven’t actually made homemade crust in a long, long time. Not since I had a breadmaker, which I didn’t actually like to use to make bread, but which facilitated a wicked herbed pizza dough. I got rid of the breadmaker when I moved to Iowa, which, every time I make pizza, I regret just a little bit.
I built this particular pizza on a store-bought crust, which I brushed with olive oil before adding the toppings. There’s no tomato sauce on this, but I figured the tomatoes themselves would do the trick, and they did. This particular mix, in fact, does the trick. Olive oil, green and yellow tomatoes, some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper for crunch and flavor, and a topping of roasted arugula and basil and fresh mozzarella. A little sweet, a little bitter, a little salty, a little tangy, and a powerful hit of basil-y goodness.
I love pizza in all its forms, yes. But when it’s topped with my very own garden fresh ingredients? Then I adore it.
One 6- or 8-inch prepared pizza crust
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
8 to 10 mixed ripe and unripe pear tomatoes
1/4 cup torn arugula leaves
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
1/2 c. fresh mozzarella, cut into uniform chunks
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Halve the tomatoes. Put the pizza crust on a pizza stone or cookie sheet, brush the crust with the olive oil, arrange the tomato halves evenly on the surface of the crust, and put the pizza in the oven.
- Once the pizza is in, turn down the temperature to 425 degrees F. I have no idea what this does, but I’m sure it’s highly technical and chemical and trust me, it makes the pizza crispy and crusty and tasty.
- Bake the pizza for 5 to 7 minutes, then take it out. Add the greens and top them with the cheese, and return the pizza to the oven.
- Bake for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the greens look a little crispy and the cheese is melted.
- Remove, slice and eat.
This is my contribution to the second anniversary of Weekend Herb Blogging, an event that I stumbled upon not that long after I started blogging. I’m thrilled to have been a part of it for as long as I have, and I’m so grateful to Kalyn for keeping it alive for two years, which, I daresay, is about a lifetime and a half on the Interwebs. So here’s to you, Kalyn. What’s pizza without a good Chianti? I toast you, my friend. Congratulations on this anniversary.