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Pesto and Cherry Tomato Pizza

Vary the pizza topping by using cured meats such as salami or pepperoni. Or, substitute other quick-cooking, freshly cut vegetables, like bell peppers or mushrooms.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. coarse cornmeal
  • 1 yeast dough ball (see related recipe at left), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Shape the dough
Sprinkle the cornmeal evenly over an 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet. Place the dough on the prepared pan. Very firmly press down on the center and, working from the center outward, push and stretch the dough to the edges of the pan to achieve an even thickness. (If the dough is difficult to handle, set it aside, covered, for 10 minutes.) Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for at least 15 minutes.

Assemble and bake the pizza
Place a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 450°F.

Spread the dough evenly with the pesto, leaving a 1/4-inch border uncovered. Arrange the mozzarella and tomatoes evenly over the pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, 15 to 18 minutes.

Cut the pizza into serving pieces and serve warm. Makes about 8 pieces.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Small Plates, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).