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Fresh Basil and Tomato Pizza, with Mushrooms

July 18, 2010

Alicia and I, it has been said, love to bake a pizza pie! They are really leagues better than any delivery, and significantly better than the it’s-not-delivery frozen pizzas. At times we will make our own crust, mix the yeast and pound out the dough, but we have to remember to start the process in the morning before the pizza night, and we only seldom have such planning acumen. So we generally resort to the next best option; instead of settling for a premade crust, we will buy raw dough at the supermarket and stretch it out ourselves before piling on those toppings. I like a very thin crust, and for style points I really like to twirl the crust around in the air (though it is not as effective as it would seem).

This pizza actually only used half the dough of a standard dough-ball, because we had used half for another pie a week or so before. I stretched the dough out so it became extremely thin. We generally will mix tomato sauce and pesto together, a concoction I experimented with while cooking alone for the first time. It forms a delicious base for most of our pies, but for this fresh, light, and summery pizza, we decided to instead lay down a layer of tomato sauce and arrange freshly chopped basil over the sauce. I still had a healthy basil plant from Alicia’s Homecoming Scallops meal, which worked beautifully in the pizza sauce.

We arranged freshly chopped tomatoes and mushrooms across the surface, being sure to cover all of the chopped basil to prevent them from burning or wilting in the oven. After cooking the pizza for ten minutes or so, we took it out, turned off the oven, and decorated the warm pie with chunks of mozzarella. We then put it back into the still-warm oven, which allowed the cheese to melt just a little, but it did not cover the pizza like cheese normally does. What resulted was a fresh and light summer pie, with wafer-thin crust, and delicious basil and tomatoes harmony. For an extra touch, we tossed a little bit more freshly chopped basil at the end for great flavor. My roommate Will gave his slice a mouth-full thumbs up.

Fresh Basil and Tomato Pizza, with Mushrooms

serves 2-3

  • Pizza dough (we use pre-prepared raw dough)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Freshly chopped basil leaves
  • 1 freshly chopped tomato
  • Freshly chopped red onion
  • Mushrooms
  • Mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Stretch out the pizza dough on a baking sheet or pizza stone, extra thin.
  3. Spread the tomato sauce on the crust, leaving of course a border around the outside.
  4. Artfully spread the chopped basil leaves over the sauce.
  5. Cover basil leaves, and as much of the pizza as you would like, with the chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, and onion.
  6. After about 10-15 minutes in the oven, remove the pie and turn off the oven. Spread chunks of mozzarella around the pie before putting it back in the oven for just a few minutes, to let the cheese melt and the pizza finish baking.
  7. Remove the hot pie from the oven, allowing to cool before arranging the last of the chopped basil. Enjoy!

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