One of my biggest food pet peeves is unripe tomatoes. You know the ones, those tomatoes you buy at the grocery store or get at restaurants throughout most of the year. The ones that travel many, many miles in a picked-before-they-are-ripe state. The ones that are rarely red inside and are lacking that full, wonderful flavor that tomatoes are supposed to have.
Since joining a CSA a few years back, I have pretty much stopped buying fresh tomatoes at the store. We enjoy fresh tomatoes only 1 or 2 months out of the year, when they are in season and are showing up in my weekly CSA bag. The rest of the time? I change my meal plans to reflect the lack of in-season tomatoes in our lives and go with recipes that utilize canned tomatoes instead. This approach has worked great!
Sometimes, though, in the dead of winter, you need a little something to remind you of those summer and fall days, when fresh produce is in abundance. One of my most favorite foods is margherita pizza and it fits the bill when I’m feeling a little itch for summertime food. And a can of petite diced tomatoes is just what I need to make it happen.
I recently started working with Hunt’s canned tomatoes and have really appreciated learning about about how they can their tomatoes. All of their tomatoes are grown in California, picked when they are ripe and canned within hours of harvest. The tomatoes go through a FlashSteam process, instead of being treated with chemicals like other canned tomatoes. As a result, the full tomato flavor is maintained and the tomatoes are fresh tasting.
Which brings us back to the margherita pizza. A can of petite diced tomatoes works perfectly on margherita pizza. The pizza has all that great fresh tomato flavor I am always striving for. No unripe, mealy tomatoes for the Maynards…or their pizza. Here’s to delicious margherita pizza any time of year!
Year-Round Margherita Pizza
- One recipe Uncle Tony’s Pizza Crust
- Olive oil
- 1 can Hunt’s petite diced tomatoes, drained
- Fresh mozzarella, sliced
- Fresh basil
Divide the Uncle Tony’s Pizza Crust dough into four pieces. Roll each piece out to 9 inches.
For each pizza, spread about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the surface of the dough. Spread 1/4 of the canned tomatoes on the crust, then sprinkle with a bit of salt. Top with sliced mozzarella and bake pizza (preferably on a pizza stone at 500 degrees F) until edges are browned, about 8 minutes or so. Sprinkle with sliced fresh basil. (Putting the basil on the pizza AFTER baking is key!)