Beseeching Basil: Pizza Caprese

The herbs are a little late this year.  I've been craving big bites of bright, savory green, and have had to seek satisfaction with mouthfuls of chives. But oh what a difference some basil would make right now! This pizza is a play on caprese salad, and I'm using it to stave off leaf cravings.  I like the surprise of the tomatoes, which look like little pepperonis but taste of summer.

Pizza Caprese
Serves 2 - 4

1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water
1 + cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Combine yeast, sugar, and water; stir and set aside to foam, about 5 minutes.

2. Process or whisk together flour and salt.  Add yeast and process until ball forms, adding additional flour by tablespoons if dough is too wet (if kneading by hand, continue adding enough flour by tablespoons to form a nice silky dough).

3. Add olive oil to clean bowl; place dough ball in oil and roll to cover all sides.  Cover with a towel and let rise to double, about 45 minutes.

1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1 garlic clove, crushed
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons pesto
20 fresh mozzarella pearls
1/4 cup Parmigiano reggiano, grated
1/4 cup Piave
1/4 cup roasted nuts, chopped (such as walnuts or pinenuts)
Fresh basil, lemon for garnish

1. Roll dough very thin.  Top evenly with grated mozzarella, garlic, and cherry tomatoes (skin side down). Salt tomatoes.

2. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until cheese is golden and tomatoes just starting to burst, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

3. Spread pesto over exposed cheese; add mozzarella pearls. Top with remaining cheese and nuts. Return to oven and bake additional 15 minutes or until all cheese is melted.

4. Garnish with fresh basil leaves (when you can get or grow them) and lemon wedges.


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