Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Pizza

I know. I know what you’re thinking: Why, when all I want to do is suck on lettuce to counteract the post-holiday blaachhhh would she post a PIZZA. Honestly, woman. Get a grip.

I understand, I really do. I feel the same way. I have a full menu of soups and salads and whole grain stuff to make (and eat) for the foreseeable future. But you see, I’ve been marooned in the midwest for the last few days due to snOMG and I haven’t yet had time to cook. So this pizza, which I made a few weeks ago, is all I have. And frankly, this post is all about the roasted tomatoes anyways.

These tomatoes are magical, people. Magical. I think I mentioned previously that I have a thing for tomatoes; I eat a tomato and mayo sandwich for lunch almost every day during tomato season and when I’m hung over I want marinara sauce at 8 AM. I love the umami-laden vegetable-fruits so so much. But you see, there’s this huge swathe of the year when all I can find are the dreaded “winter tomatoes.” You know the ones, pale and mealy and only resembling their summer counterparts by name. This, my lovelies, is a way to solve the anemic tomato problem and get you other tomato lovers through the seemingly-endless winters.

Roasting slowly, with herbs and vinegar and garlic and tiny sprinkle of sugar for caramelization, can turn even the most feeble tomatoes into juicy flavor explosions. I have used these tomatoes for everything. Mostly I have to try not to eat them all at once directly out of the oven. If I manage that, then they can go out with cheese platters, on bruschetta, on sandwiches, as sides to chicken or beef, or on pasta. They’re delicious hot or cold. These guys are jacks of all trades. This time, I was craving pizza.

I wanted something simple. Mostly, I wanted a good, homemade  crust, crispy on the edges and just doughy enough around the edges to remind me that I was eating bread, something a little creamy, but subtle enough to let the tomatoes shine. For the crust, I turned to Mark Bittman, the king of simple. For the creamy and subtle, I turned to ricotta, bolstered with a little grated parmesan for salt and spunk. What resulted was amazing. A perfect, warm, creamy crunchy, doughy, spunky, SIMPLE, dinner. I know you just want to suck down lettuce right now, but that will get old in a couple days. When it does, you should try this. Or at the very least, make the tomatoes…. you can eat them with your lettuce.

Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Pizza

Serves 2 to 3

I used campari tomatoes for the roasted tomatoes because, well, they were the only ones that looked half decent. You can use whatever though- the oven will fix them. PLEASE remember to use parchment or foil to line your roasting pan or you will have a serious mess on your hands!

Pizza!!

1 recipe pizza dough, recipe below
garlic and herb infused olive oil, recipe below
1 c. part-skim ricotta
1/4 c. grated parmesan
salt and pepper
1 recipe roasted tomatoes, recipe below
2 thyme sprigs, leave removed

  • Heat oven to 500°F
  • Oil a pizza pan and press out/stretch one ball of pizza dough to desired size/thickness (mine was probably 12-14 inches in diameter)
  • Brush the crust with the infused olive oil
  • In a small bowl, mix the ricotta and parmesan and season with salt and pepper
  • Spread the cheese evenly over the crust
  • Arrange the roasted tomatoes over the ricotta; the more the better, IMO
  • Sprinkle with thyme
  • Bake 10-15 min or until the crust is crisp and browned

Mark Bittman’s Pizza Dough, adapted from The Essential New York Times Cook Book

3 c. all-purpose or bread flour
2 t. active dry yeast
2 t. course sea salt or kosher salt
1 c. water (105-110 degrees MINE)
2 T. olive oil

  • In a food processor, pulse the flour, yeast and salt. While the machine runs, add the water and oil until a ball forms. You can add up to 1/4 c. more water as needed; the dough should be slightly sticky
  • Dump the ball onto a floured surface and knead breifly to form a smooth ball
  • Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (1-2 hours)
  • Divide dough into 2 equal pieces, set on floured surface and cover in plastic wrap (if you’re only making one pizza, you can freeze one of the dough balls for up to 1 month)
  • Let rise 20 min or until puffed

Ina Garten’s Roasted Tomatoes, adapted from Back to Basics

12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed
4 T. olive oil
1 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 lg garlic cloves, minced
2 t. sugar
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 t. thyme leaves

  • Heat oven to 450°F
  • Spread tomatoes, cut-side up on a parchment-lined cookie sheet
  • Sprinkle tomatoes evenly with olive oil, balsamic, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and thyme leaves
  • Roast 25-30 minutes or until caramelized

Garlic and thyme infused olive oil

1 c. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 large thyme spigs

  • Combine olive oil, garlic and thyme in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat
  • Simmer for 20 min
  • Turn off heat and allow to sit until ready to use
  • Any extra oil (there will be a lot) can be stored at room temp or in the fridge, for a good long time
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