Creamy Tomato Basil Pizza

This summer I am featuring some of my favorite garden produce recipes. For the entire list, see the Recipes page or click on the recipes label.

Okay, it's confession time: it's Friday and I still haven't done the grocery shopping for the week.  I should have done it any number of times between Monday and now, but for a number of reasons (some more valid than others), it just hasn't happened.  On one hand, it's not necessarily a bad thing to work our way through what we have stocked up in the freezer and pantry, and with a big bowl of beans, peppers, tomatoes, and carrots coming out of the garden every other day, it's not like we've been deprived by any stretch of the imagination.  But without my usual plan for the week, I found myself kind of paralyzed in the kitchen.  Most nights, I would just draw a blank when it came time to decide what to make, and when I would finally come up with something that sounded good, I would realize that I was missing a key ingredient.  Most nights this scenario just ended in giving up and grazing directly out of the night's garden harvest. 

Tonight, determined not to resort to eating a bowl of purple beans and kohlrabi wedges again (and equally determined not to run to the grocery store until tomorrow morning), I considered my options carefully.  After zeroing in on the tomatoes and basil in my garden, I started to flip through some pasta recipes when I discovered a recipe hastily jotted down on a post it note from last summer. Inspiration: found.

The original recipe was for a tomato tart, but I had successfully adapted it to a great pizza recipe last summer (based on what I had on hand, of course).  I quickly got to work on a batch of pizza dough and began to put together this masterpiece of a pizza.  Luckily, I had made a batch of fresh basil pesto the night before, so there was really very little prep time, other than waiting for the pizza dough to rise.  I didn't get the camera out (I'm still a little iffy on the whole taking photos of the food I make thing, seeing as my kitchen doesn't have very good lighting for that and usually the photo quality is not very good), but if I had, you would be looking at pictures of one beautiful pizza right now with its bright green basil, white cheese, and bright red tomatoes.

If you're looking for a traditional pizza margherita, this isn't it, but it is a great take on that classic flavor combination.  Also, don't be wary of the mayo on the ingredient list.  The first time I made this pizza, I wasn't so sure how that was going to taste (and almost left it out), but take my word for it: it's worth a try.  If you need more proof, check our refrigerator tomorrow and you'll see that the leftovers don't last very long.

I wish I could give credit for the original recipe for the tomato tart, but all I have left of that great find is my pink post it note. The rest of the recipe was made up as I went along.

Creamy Tomato Basil Pizza
Pizza crust of choice
Fresh basil pesto
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/8 ground white pepper
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded, diced and drained
Additional shredded mozzarella and fresh basil leaves for topping

Prepare and roll out your pizza dough of choice (this is my go-to recipe).  Spread a few spoonfulls of fresh basil pesto over the pizza dough, making sure to get some of the basil-infused olive oil all the way out to the edges of the crust. 

In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, parmesan, mozzarella, and white pepper.  Spread the mixture over the pesto-covered pizza dough. 

Sprinkle with the diced tomatoes (make sure they are well drained or the pizza will be watery) and top with an additional handful of shredded mozzarella, if desired. 

Bake 8-12 minutes at 500 degrees, until the cheese is golden and bubbly.  As soon as it comes out of the oven, garnish with fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons and let it sit a few minutes to allow it to set up a bit before cutting and serving.   

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