Can we talk for a moment about the state of the world right now?
Violence in Chicago continues to punctuate not only its streets but also its parks and its homes. Some dark political storms loom on the horizon, threatening us with that American paradoxical hail of fiscal greed and frugality. Syria’s tumultuous civil war is a million times more terrifying than that Furby still hiding beneath your bed. Too many families have become intimate with grief as tragedies like floods, mudslides, and mass shootings have reminded us that the chaos in Grand Theft Auto V is not unthinkable.
For me, these stories, which are only tiny slivers of the violent and uncertain current we cannot see from our scenic shores, are no more tangible than when I gather around the table to share a meal with my family or friends. It is when I am literally breaking warm bread that I am most aware of the abundance and peace in which I live. If a dining room table lined with my loved ones is not a sanctuary, then I do not know what is.
And if the table is a sanctuary, then let a trusty pizza recipe be our doctrine.
Let’s start with the dough.
Then, let’s get down to the business of toppings. Cheese is necessary, obviously.
Roasted Tomato + Ricotta Pizza
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 batch whole wheat pizza dough
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 large tomato, cut into half-moons
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 500˚F. Position one rack in the lower third of your oven and another rack in the upper third of your oven.
2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and egg. Set aside.
3. Press pizza dough out onto a pizza stone or parchment-lined baking sheet. I prefer a very thin pizza crust (which also creates more surface area aka potential for cheese), but you can make a smaller, thicker crust pizza if you prefer. Allow a slightly longer baking time for thicker crusts.
4. Drizzle crust with olive oil. Spread cheese mixture onto pizza dough, leaving a 1 inch border for the crust. Set aside.
5. In a small rimmed baking pan, toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
6. Oven time! Place pizza on top rack and cherry tomatoes on bottom rack. Bake for 15 minutes until cherry tomatoes’ skins have softened and burst. Remove tomatoes from oven.
7. Continue baking pizza until crust is golden and cheese has lovely browned bits, about 8 more minutes. Remove from oven.
8. Toss roasted cherry tomatoes with fresh tomato slices and season with salt and pepper. Top pizza with tomatoes and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Eat and give thanks.