Maybe this is a bold statement, but I think pizza is definitely a worthy weeknight dinner, especially served with a fresh salad. It’s also a super way to get creative with toppings, sneak in extra veggies, and have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.
This recipe calls for heirloom tomatoes, which can usually be found in bright yellows, reds, and greens in the spring and summer months. Bites of warm tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and basil could not be more perfect. If you can’t get your hands on heirlooms, substitute the freshest tomatoes you can find, or feel free to get creative with other fun toppings that your family loves.
A key to making good pizza at home is the pizza pan. I use a perforated pizza pan which helps cook the dough fast, and is what helps to give the pizza that authentic fluffy crust. For all the pizza lovers out there, it’s a worthwhile piece of baking equipment to have in the kitchen.
Entertaining tip: Sometimes I get impromptu dinner company in the evening. I want to serve something delicious, yet I don’t want to spend a long time in the kitchen when I could be enjoying my friends and family. So I always keep a few extra packages of pizza dough in my freezer. Once defrosted (make the salad during this wait time), it’s pretty much a hop skip and a jump to a seemingly well planned meal (wasn’t it?) Use herbs, tomatoes, olives, or any vegetable in your kitchen to turn a simple pizza into a fancy looking meal.
- 1 ball of pizza dough, fresh or frozen
- 4 tbsp marinara sauce
- 6 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (3/4 cup)
- 1⁄2 fresh ball of mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 2 heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 4-6 leaves fresh basil
- 1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
- 1⁄8 tsp pepper
- 1⁄8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
If using frozen dough, thaw at room temperature on a floured surface or floured piece of parchment paper (easiest for cleanup). Once defrosted, preheat the oven to 425. Roll the dough in all directions to flatten into a larger circle. Pick up the dough and turn around to stretch the dough further until it is about 12 inches in diameter. This should take 2-3 minutes. Spray a pizza pan (or other pan) with cooking spray (alternatively, use a paper towel to dab on some olive oil, or a baking brush). Place dough on pan.
Spoon sauce into the center of the dough, and using the spoon spread to the outer parts of the dough in a circular motion. Top with shredded cheese, then tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella and basil. Sprinkle the spices on top.
Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the crust is starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
Remove pizza from pan (place on a clean surface or parchment paper), cut into eights and serve.
Notes: If planning the pizza ahead of time, you can defrost the dough in the refrigerator overnight.
If the dough is fighting back when rolling it out and stretching it, it needs more time to come to room temperature. Let it rest for 10 minutes and come back to it.