You know, I have never actually made a Margherita Pizza.
I think I have had one, but never actually made one. Kind of weird, huh? I mean, I l know it is a super classic pizza, but I don’t know it’s just not in the circle of pizzas I make. This is probably due to the fact that most of the year tomatoes are just no good unless they are those sweet little grape/cherry/tom-tom tomatoes (what do YOU call umm?). Otherwise, I pretty much hate the big ones and even in the summer they are just so-so compared to the tom-toms.
UNLESS I spend all my money on some fancy heirloom tomatoes that almost never disappoint. Unfortunately, I can almost never find them where I live, so when I do see them, you know I’m gonna snatch them all up.
I know, I am so selfish. You would think I could leave a few for the other shoppers!
Nope. I am just not that nice, and to be honest, I get pretty serious about my produce.
Sorry, finders keepers losers weepers…
And with that, I hope I will forever have a little kid inside of me (fiercely protecting my produce)!
So, I bought all these expensive heirloom tomatoes without one recipe in mind. I thought that was all fine and dandy because I was sure I would have a use for them right away.
But then I put them in the pantry on the bottom shelf and sort of forgot about those succulent suckers for a few days.
Well, I didn’t really forget, I saw them everyday, multiple times actually, every time I went in and out for flour or oatmeal or nuts or whatever else. So I knew they were there and I kept thinking “I gotta use those soon”. Another day would pass, “oh crap, I gotta use those”.
Well yeah, you get the point.
A few days later, ok maybe even more than a few days later, I was hiking and the idea for margarita pizza hummus popped into my head. I knew right away I had to make it. I also knew right away it would be just the perfect thing for those slightly soft and wrinkled heirlooms.
Yep, those slightly soft, slightly wrinkled, heirlooms happened to be perfect.
I kind of roasted the heck out of the tomatoes, but if I am going to cook tomatoes they must have some caramelization to them or I am not going to like them. Cooked tomatoes are not my thing, but anything that can come close to a sun-dried tomato so is, and that is what these roasted tomatoes are like. So delicious I could eat them like candy.
Next, toss the tomatoes in with some fresh basil and pine nuts and you’ve got your mix in for the hummus. The stuff is good.
As for the bean part to the hummus, it is super simple. And yes, I did add cheese to my hummus and yes, it may be the best hummus you ever have.
AND while this is delicious eaten at room temperature, I have to say that baking it with fresh mozzarella on top is probably a good idea. I am showing this to you both ways because I wanted to let you guys choose. Who knows, maybe some of you prefer cold hummus even if it means missing out on warm melted mozzarella. But hey it’s summer and I get it if your house is already a billion degrees. The last thing you want is hot food.
But me on the other hand? Well one, I always like my food hot and two, it’s not hot where I live. In fact, I might even have the heater on my legs right now. Just maybe.
Oh and the pizza bread? Well it’s pizza dough with some pesto and baked over the grill. It’s also perfection.
Cheesy Margherita Pizza Hummus with Grilled Pesto Pizza Bread.
Serving Size: 4-6 GENEROUSLY
- 2-3 medium or 4 small tomatoes, sliced thinish (preferably heirloom tomatoes if possible)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, divided
- salt and peper
- 3 cups cooked cannellini/great northern beans (or 2 cans, drained, but liquid reserved)
- 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 2 rounded tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup fresh shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for topping if desired*
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese*
- 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- Grilled Pesto Pizza Bread
- 1 pound of [your favorite pizza dough http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/toasted-walnut-pesto-caramelized-nectarine-pizza-wspicy-balsamic-drizzle/]
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup of [homemade| http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/toasted-walnut-pesto-caramelized-nectarine-pizza-wspicy-balsamic-drizzle/] or store-bought pesto
Preheat the grill to high heat or heat a large cast iron grill pan or skillet.
Divide the dough into fourths and roll each piece out into a circle. Brush both sides of each piece of dough with olive oil. Spread one side of each piece of dough with pesto sauce.
Once the grill is hot carefully transfer the pizza doughs (one at a time) to the grill. Grill for 2-3 minutes or until lightly charred. Flip and grill one minute longer. Immediately remove from the grill. Cut into triangles and serve with the hummus.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lie your sliced tomatoes flat on the baking sheet and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Generously sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Now sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tomatoes are beginning to char and caramelize around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Meanwhile add 1/4 cup olive oil, the smashed garlic and oregano to a small sauce pot. Warm over medium-low heat, being careful not to burn the garlic for 10 minutes or until hot.
While the oil heats add the beans, tahini, tomato paste, mozzarella and 1-2 tablespoons parmesan to the bowl of a food processor. Add in 1/2 cup of the reserve liquid from the cans of beans (or 1/2 cup warm water). Puree the mixture until smooth, scrapping down the sides if necessary for about 5-8 minutes.
Once the oil is hot, remove the garlic. Carefully and slowly pour the hot oil into the food processor, puree until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. The hot oil should melt the cheese. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil.
Now grab the roasted tomatoes. Finely chop them and add them to a bowl with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and the chopped pine nuts. Toss.
Spoon the hummus into a serving bowl (use an oven-safe bowl if you plan on baking). Spoon the tomatoes over top the hummus. If desired you can stir the tomatoes into the hummus or serve them dolloped over top. Drizzle with olive oil if desired. Sprinkle with basil. Serve with the pizza bread.
To bake the hummus, preheat the oven to 400 degreed F. Add anywhere from 4-8 ounces fresh mozzarella over top the hummus. Bake for 15 minutes, then add the tomatoes and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese becomes bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot with the pizza bread.
As is that bite.