Roasted Tomato & Pesto Pizza, for one!

Q: What’s better than a big ol’ yummy pizza?

A: A small yummy pizza, just for you!

Despite how often I make them, this is the first one to actually make it on PK. Sadly, my preference for natural light in my photos directly conflicts with the fact that I make most of my pizzas in the evening, and the few leftover slices don’t exactly make for good pictures. I’ve considered dragging out the lighting equipment, but the kitchen chaos that occurs while making pizza isn’t exactly a welcome environment for large, in-the-way things, and the whole thing would likely end in me poking an eye out on an umbrella tip. And while I do think I could seriously rock an eye patch, my already-poor depth perception could not handle such a major blow. And thus, the majority of my creations have gone undocumented.

So while I was house-sitting in NY a few weeks ago, I knew that awesome sunroom + boredom had to = pizza photography. And luckily, I was able to get this in before a rather harrowing bake-a-thon that I’d volunteered to do for the annual fundraiser at a local arts center (including, amongst other things, a very epic rainbow cake).

(I grossly underestimated both the amount of time it would take me to do everything—5 hours for the cake alone!—and the level of anxiety I would experience transporting a 6-layer cake along windy dirt roads in humid weather.) All in all, it was an extremely fun and rewarding experience. And I’m glad I was able to get the pizza in before the post-bake-a-thon exhaustion!

Ah, the simple perfection that is basil + garlic + tomatoes + mozzarella.  And what better last hurrah for our summery friends, before they’re overtaken by root veggies and squash? (I don’t know about you, but as soon as I start to feel a chill in the air, I begin craving heartier things. And as yummy as they are, caprese salads and sandwiches just won’t cut it!) But a hot, melty pizza, all for me? Yep, that’ll do!

Individual Roasted Tomato & Pesto Pizzas

yield: 3 sizable small pizzas (it took me a while to make it through mine, so you could even get 4 out of this, especially if you’re serving them with other things)

  • 1 batch of pizza dough, divided into thirds (or quarters, for smaller pizzas)
  • 1 cup of roasted tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup of pesto (behold, my dazzling early photography)
  • ⅓ cup of plain greek yogurt
  • 2 cups of mozzarella, grated
  • cornmeal, for dusting

Preheat your oven to 475°. Stretch dough out until thin, taking care not to rip it. Place each one on a separate piece of parchment paper. (If you have a pizza stone large enough to accommodate more than one at a time, then go for more.) Since you will likely be baking these in batches, using the parchment paper will keep you from having to deal with sticky dough. (Note: Using the parchment paper means you can skip the cornmeal entirely if you like. I prefer to sprinkle it on the crust edges anyway, just because I like the texture.)

Combine yogurt and pesto, and then evenly distribute over the surface of each dough. Sprinkle ⅔ of the mozzarella evenly over each one, then tomatoes, then the rest of the mozz.

(Note: No parchment paper pictured above, as I was only making one. I was also afraid of running out during the bake-a-thon!)

Brush the crust with a mixture of olive oil and honey (not noted in the above ingredients, but I highly recommend it), then sprinkle with cornmeal. Bake the pizzas for 10–15 minutes, or until the crust begins to turn golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes, then cut and eat. Or don’t even bother cutting—just fold it in half if you want! It’s your pizza.

(To freeze, place uncooked pizzas on a cookie sheet and stick them in the freezer. Once they’re pretty solid, wrap each one in plastic wrap. To bake, allow them to thaw on parchment paper until they’ve reached room temperate, then follow the above instructions.)

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