Cutting corners

I’m a reformed tomato-hater. Like, ‘used to pick tomatoes out of salsa’ tomato-hater (nothing is left but tomato juice and, I don’t know, corn).  I’ve changed my ways, though, but even now when I see recipes that call for a lot of tomatoes, especially cooked tomatoes, I am still slightly apprehensive. But after going to the farmers market just a few days ago, I became excited to use the huge heirlooms I bought for this recipe.

I made this pizza not really knowing what to expect and I was quite pleased with the results. The tomatoes did not disappoint; they’re not too soggy and they really make the flavor of the pizza. It guess it doesn’t hurt to use farm-fresh tomatoes. I mean, the pizza also has pesto, so what could really have gone wrong here?

I originally planned on making the pesto from scratch and using fresh basil, but it didn’t happen. This keeps happening- the first time was thwarted by pine nuts sticker shock. Then it happened again a few days ago, when I couldn’t find basil at the farmers market or Trader Joe’s. Sigh, one of these days I’ll get around to it.

Fresh basil on top would have only made the pizza that much better, but even dried basil added a great flavor to the pizza. Despite a few substitutions here and there, it’s still a really great tasting pizza.

BTW I made this pizza not only because it sounded tasty but also for a contest. Who doesn’t like free stuff?

Come share in the tomato love at the Tomato Love Recipe Exchange, hosted by Gimme Some Oven & Bake Your Day, sponsored this week by Pizza Home Chef. Also visit Recipe for Change to learn more about how to support tomato farmers.

Fresh Tomato Pesto Pizza adapted from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2002

  • ½ of this pizza dough (you can also use a Boboli crust or your favorite pizza dough recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • ⅓ cup pesto (I used TJ’s brand pesto but you can find recipes for homemade pesto here and here)
  • 3 cups chopped seeded tomatoes, about 2 pounds
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded provolone cheese (I used a mix of mozerella and provolone)
  • ¼ cup chopped basil leaves

Preheat oven to 450°.

Prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray and dust with cornmeal. Place dough on the sheet and shape it. Using a small spatula or spoon, spread pesto over the dough, leaving a border that is about a ½-inch. Then scatter tomatoes over the pesto, next the garlic slices, and then finally the cheese. Bake in a 450° oven for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is light brown and the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with basil leaves on top.

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