I was lamenting with Austin the other day about how it is impossible to walk into Costco without buying everything in sight. I now have 27 kitchen towels, 12 sticks of deodorant, half of a cow (or so it feels), a deluxe clothes drying rack, 50 pounds of dog food, and, of course, 10 pounds of sugar. AND I seem to need mozzarella cheese and tomatoes every single time I go. Why? I don’t know. Because it’s there and it’s good. And, of course, Trader Joe’s just happens to be on the way to Costco, so I naturally stop there for 99 cent whole-wheat pizza dough. Every single week. I never knew I was such a predictable creature of habit. But look at this happy little pizza consequence!
I made this pizza up after weeks of caprese salad (the normal way… on a plate…). I love caprese salads, but after scarfing downeating dozens of them in a matter of months it was definitely time for a slight twist. I’m sure that there are lots of people out there who make this, too,and probably more professional, fancy versions. But on the day that I threw this together I felt like like Picasso in front of a blank canvas. Ok, that’s a little dramatic. But I know for sure that I felt hungry.
This pizza is pretty similar to a margarita pizza, but with the ever-so-important addition of a balsamic reduction. It adds a huge kick of flavor. And feel free to grill it if it’s too hot to have the oven on. (Here is how Lily beats the heat.)
1 pizza dough (you can make your own, buy fresh from a pizza shop/grocery, or just do a premade crust like Boboli)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
~ 1/3 – 1/2 pound of fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced (or you could do about 1 cup of shredded, but it’s not as good)
1/4 cup fresh basil
Let the dough come to room temperature. This could take several hours, so if I plan on making pizza after work, I just put the dough out on the counter before I leave in the morning.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and put your baking sheet (or pizza sheet) in the oven while it heats up. You want it to be hot when you put the crust on).
Spread a thin layer of cornmeal on a flat surface. Roll/toss the dough to an even, thin layer, about 1/4 inch. The shape depends on your baking sheet. Pull the hot pan out of the oven and sprinkle a thin dusting of cornmeal on the pan. Since it’s hot, this might not be 100% necessary, but I don’t like to risk it. Spread the dough on the sheet and bake for about 5 minutes (obviously, don’t do this step if you are using a pre-cooked crust).
While the dough is precooking, put the balsamic into a small saucepan over low heat until it is thick (like maple syrup).
Pull the dough back out of the oven and evenly spread the oil across the crust. Spread the cheese evenly across the crust, and then do a layer of tomatoes, and the basil. Then drizzle the balsamic reduction on top.
Put back into the oven for about 10-12 minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to bubble. Eat right away (or as soon as it’s cool enough to not burn your mouth)!