Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ricotta Pizza with Fresh and Roasted Tomatoes

Oh sure... I'm aware that I can order pizza right from my computer nowadays and have it brought to my front door.  And believe me, there are nights when we do that.  But sometimes, it's just fun to buy the stuff and let the kids make their own.  Times when the "doing" and the time spent together is just as valuable as the actual eating.  When we do order pizza, I pretty much eat whatever the kids want.  But I'll be darned if I have to do that when its a make-your-own-pizza night.  

Suffice it to say that I am quasi obsessed with roasting cherry tomatoes.  The roasting makes them SUPER sweet and bursting with a much more complex flavor than they were born with.  I am also replacing the traditional red pizza sauce with an herbed ricotta and Parmesan base - smooth and creamy to showcase the big bright flavors on top.  And for an extra pop of color and flavor, fresh basil and oregano on top.  

For this, I'm not even bothering to make my own dough.  It's been a long day at work, and the kids and I are using pizza dough from a can.  I know, I know.  Some people will bad mouth me for that.  You are certainly welcome to make your own.  This was just one of those easy, breezy evenings with the kids. 

I adapted this recipe from one I found in Everyday Food - From the Kitchen of Martha Stewart Living.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • kosher salt, cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 can of pizza dough
    • or 1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
    • I used the heirloom cherry tomatoes because they are beautiful
  • 1 large tomato, preferably heirloom, cut into half moons
    • I can usually find the large yellow heirloom tomatoes, which are beautiful; but today, there were none, so I used roma tomatoes instead
  • ~ 1 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves, for serving
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons, for serving

Step-by-Step:

Start on the tomato topping -

Add to a rimmed baking pan
Season to taste with kosher salt, cracked black pepper

Create the ricotta-Parmesan base -

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 large egg
Season to taste with kosher salt, cracked black pepper, dried basil
Mix cheese mixture well

Prepare the crust -

On a baking sheet, stretch or roll the pizza dough into a 16-inch oval.  
  • If you have a pizza stone, I would suggest sliding your prepared dough onto the preheated stone in the oven.  I used the same pant the kids used... because guess who gets to clean up?  Exactly.
Drizzle the dough with about a tablespoon of olive oil, and spread around.   
  • For recipe purposes, I would recommend making your pizza crust a little thicker than I did here.  In reality, however, I got the leftover dough after the kids were finished making theirs.  That's what mom's do, right?

Spread the ricotta mixture over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border.
Ricotta, Parmesan mixture

Bake the cherry tomatoes on the bottom rack and the pizza on the top rack until the tomatoes are soft and the skins begin to burst - about 15 minutes.


While the crust is baking -

Slice your larger tomatoes...

Remove roasted tomatoes after about 15 minutes.  Skins will begin bursting and they will get really soft inside.  Yum.  (I wish I had made double this amount of them.)

Assembly -



Toss the roasted tomatoes with the fresh tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle with a little aged balsamic vinegar.  The older the better.
Garnish before serving with oregano leaves and basil leaves, cut into ribbons.
This is practically a salad! :)



And yes, the kids did get to make their own.   
  • They have been learning a lot about shapes lately, so they let that be the theme tonight.  Canon made a triangle pizza, and Lily went with a square.
 

Written Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F, with your oven racks in the upper and lower thirds.  Combine the ricotta and the Parmesan, add in the egg, and season with salt, pepper, and dried basil.  On a baking sheet, stretch or roll the pizza dough into a 16-inch oval, and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil.  Spread the ricotta mixture over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border.
  2. On a rimmed baking ban, toss the cherry tomatoes with remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.  Bake the cherry tomatoes on the bottom rack and the pizza on the top rack until the tomatoes are soft and the skins begin to burst - about 15 minutes.  Remove the tomatoes from the oven but leave the pizza dough in until it is a deep golden brown (maybe another 5-8 minutes).  
  3. Toss the cherry tomatoes with the sliced fresh tomatoes and season them with salt and pepper.  Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and top with the tomato mixture.  Garnish with fresh oregano leaves and fresh basil leaves, and drizzle with a bit of aged balsamic vinegar.

Order the Menu Musings Cookbook!

Looking for more pizza ideas?

I have some other fun pizza options for you, if you aren't in the mood for the pizza delivery guy. 



  • Grilled Pizza
    • Throw your pizza ingredients on the grill outside for a smoky, almost charred crust that makes your home pizza experience really cool.




Or perhaps another ricotta and tomato combination? 


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