Roasted tomato pizza.

We’re getting to the best time of the year now. The tomatoes that were so bright and lovely a few weeks ago are now mottled and sweet, and they beg to be roasted low and slow or stewed down for sauces, and since the air outside has cooled a bit I have no reason not to but oblige them. On Alana’s advice, I roasted a whole bunch of field tomatoes last week and stuck them in the freezer, but I still had a few romas, a hankering for bread and cheese, and a resurgence of old lady disease in my limbs, hands, back, and left big toe that made me not want to put in a lot of labour.

This post is mostly pictures, because I made my focaccia bread for the crust (all the ingredients up to the flour, plus salt – the recipe will make two pizzas if you’d prefer not to make one gigantic one), made pesto for the sauce, and roasted tomatoes for hours and hours to put on top. And then cheese. It’s also short because we made a trip to the garden … let’s just say this is a two-post night. (I know. I’m excited too.)

The aroma in the apartment was amazing, and a valid argument for always working from home. Tomatoes develop a sweeter taste as they roast down, but they smell almost meaty, with a lusty musk that is distinctive to this exact moment in the tomato season. Capture it while you can.

You can see how the light changed as the hours past while the pizza slowly came together. The focaccia crust isn’t the sort of thing you’d make on a weeknight ordinarily, but if you’re in no rush it’s perfect for homemade pizza.

There’s a lot to be said for homemade pizza, whether you dawdle over homemade, buy the dough from your favourite take-away place, or just get frozen dough from the grocery store. The advantage to using dough over a premade crust (other than not having to eat something that pretty much tastes like cardboard and has weird speckles of what you kind of recognize as “cheese” all over the thing) is that you get the smell of baking bread, which is the best thing about pizza, aside from all the cheese. Use whatever cheese you like, but (and this will seem completely out of character) I prefer low-fat mozzarella, because it’s stringier and I like my pizza cheese stringy.

The other thing about making your own pizza is that you get to put whatever you like on it, and you don’t have to feel crushing disappointment when Domino’s puts green peppers on anyway even after you told them how much you hate them. So, you get the satisfaction of the smell of bread baking, as much cheese as you want, whatever toppings you want, and nobody cries because there are green peppers.

And if tomatoes aren’t your thing, you should try this in October with butternut squash, rosemary, roasted garlic, and Gruyere. Holy crap, it will change your life. Try it and get back to me.

You know when your week has sucked and it’s Wednesday and you smell and you don’t feel like trying hard over dinner? Make pizza. Everyone will think you like them way more than you actually do.

A few delightful things occurred today.

It was hot again still at work, and it sucked, but finally the powers relented and admitted that they also felt that it sucked, so now we’re allowed to go home at 3:00 pm until air conditioning arrives, and this is fantastic news. Soon, I will not smell like a foot a mere two hours after my morning shower. I hosted a brainstorming session this morning, pouring sweat and smelling like low-tide scattered with a city’s worth of fusty sneakers.

The good things:

  • I was home early
  • I did some dishes
  • I harvested my first tomato
  • I made pizza dough

Which is not something I usually like to do on weeknights, because my recipe for pizza dough is a three-hour process, not including cook-time, and that simply won’t do on a Wednesday. But one of my favourite local bloggers posted a recipe for the easiest pizza dough in the world on Monday, and I found it last night, and it changed everything.

And I harvested my first tomato from the plant on my deck.

My first tomato!!!So it went without saying that I would have to make pizza tonight. There is simply no point in buying take-out or delivery pizza in the City of Vancouver, because it is all a total waste of time. Ghetto slice is only good for the kind of indigestion and scoots that makes you stay home from work the next day, and the good stuff costs more than pizza is actually worth, which is okay sometimes, but only if there are drink specials, and we enjoyed too many of those last night.

Once you have the crust down, you can top the thing with anything you’d like. I topped mine with a sauce of olive oil, sea salt, finely minced garlic, and black pepper, and then piled on my tomato, some lamb salami, basil leaves, asparagus, mozzarella, and the last of the parmesan, which was not enough for anything but turned out to be just enough for pizza. And you must make the crust. It takes no time at all. I can’t think of a reason not to. I’ll bet you can’t either.

“The easiest pizza dough in the world,” courtesy of everybody likes sandwiches

(Serves four. Or two with leftovers.)

  • 3 tsp. yeast (I used fast-rising, but she mentions in the comment section that she used the regular kind. I liked the fluffy/crunchy effect of the fast-rising stuff, so go ahead and use that.)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (I used 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup of spelt flour. Fibre, you know.)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped (optional … I didn’t have rosemary)
  • A sprinkling of cornmeal

Put your yeast in a bowl, pour the water into it, and add the honey. Let it sit until the thing gets frothy, about five minutes. Add your flour, salt, olive oil, and herbs if you’ve got ’em. Stir until the mixture forms a dough, dump out onto a floured surface, and knead quickly, just to make sure everything’s mixed together, and then put it back into the bowl and cover to let rest, 10 to 20 minutes.

Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet, and move your dough onto the sheet, stretching and pressing the cornmeal in. You don’t want any loose cornmeal or it will burn and smoke and then your fire alarm will go off and you’ll get even more noise complaints.


Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Top with toppings, any kind you like. That’s the thing about homemade pizza – you always like it, because it’s always got stuff you like on it.

Uncooked.Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly and browned.

Pizza.Serve hot on the patio with a cheap/tasty bottle of prosecco. Attempt conversation, but don’t be disappointed if the heat makes it impossible. It’s not like you can’t talk to each other in the wintertime. The way I see it, the food will be there long after you give him the heart attack that gets him. Or her. Or them? So love the food. Everybody likes sandwiches? Everybody likes pizza too.

Pizza. Prosecco. Pretty.