Margherita Pizza

One of my favorite seasons has arrived – college football season! It’s a fall Saturday football tradition at our house to eat pizza and yell Roll Tide!  Our favorite? Any pizza grilled on a stone. Stone grilled pizza is so fabulous; there’s nothing better than a perfectly crispy crust with a slightly smokey taste. It’s as close to brick oven pizza as you can get. But if you don’t have a stone, this recipe works great in the oven too. Today’s pick, a simply delicious Margherita pizza.

pizza on the grill

Margherita Pizza

About a 1/2 cup pizza sauce or marinara
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
3 medium fresh tomatoes
10-12 fresh basil leaves
Pizza seasoning (optional)
16 ounce package of thawed frozen prepared pizza dough (follow package directions for rising) or your favorite recipe.

Prepare dough; roll into 12 inch diameter and transfer to pizza pan or stone. (I spread a little yellow cornmeal on the pan or stone first). Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Thinly slice tomatoes; set out on paper towels to absorb moisture. Pat dry.

Thinly slice mozzarella.

Chiffonade the basil. (Stack basil leaves and roll them tightly, then thinly slice the leaves perpendicular to the roll).

Spread sauce on top of dough. Don’t go heavy with the sauce; you just want to cover the dough in a thin layer. Top with tomato slices, then mozzarella. Sprinkle on pizza seasoning.

Grill Directions:

Keep in mind some grills run hotter that others so your baking times may vary. My advice: keep an eye on your pie.

Cover grates with a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Place stone with prepared pizza on top of foil. Grill should be COLD. If you put a cold stone on a hot grill it will break the stone.

Turn on all 3 burners –  front, middle and back, to HIGH. Close lid and cook for 15 minutes. Note: if moisture from the mozzarella pools on top while baking, take some paper towels and blot to absorb it.

Turn middle burner down to LOW. Rotate pizza (not stone) 90 degrees. I use a large cake/pizza spatula to do this. Close lid and cook another 10 minutes.

Carefully lift one side of the pizza slightly to check bottom crust for doneness. Continue to cook another 5 minutes if needed. Move pizza to cutting board , top with basil and serve. Leave stone on grill until totally cooled. Follow package directions for cleaning.

Oven directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Bake 10-12 minutes, until dough is puffed and golden and cheese is melted. Move pizza to cutting board. Top with basil and serve.

Note: if moisture from the mozzarella pools on top while baking, take some paper towels and blot to absorb it.

pizza on the grillpizza on the grill

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Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto 2

I love using pesto on pasta, pizza and sandwiches. It’s a healthy, delicious sauce with fabulous flavor. My garden is once again overflowing with this beautiful, fragrant herb so I took a little time out of my day and made a batch. I freeze it so I can enjoy it all year round. It’s so easy to do!

Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves packed
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste

Most recipes call for a food processor, but I used my Vitamix blender. Here are directions for both.

If using a Vita Mix:

Add first 5 ingredients to Vitamix container and secure lid. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed, using tamper to mix ingredients and press into blade. Blend for 30 to 60 seconds until well blended. Add salt and pepper to your taste.

If using a food processor:

Add basil and nuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times. Add garlic and parmesan and pulse several more times. Scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the food processor running, slowly add olive oil and blend until well combined. Scape the sides of the bowl again and add salt and pepper to your taste.

If not using immediately, pour into airtight container. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top. Cover with plastic wrap, then secure lid. Store for up to one week in refrigerator, or freeze for up to 9 months.

Jalapeño Popper Pizza

Jalapeno popper pizza

Fall is fabulous here is the Midwest, and we look forward to the cooler weather and blue sunny skies that it brings. And though summer has ended, I still have beautiful green and jalapeño peppers growing in my garden. For me, Fall and peppers can only mean one thing –  college football and homemade pizza. Ok, that’s two things, and both are autumn staples at our house.

And because we have pizza so often during football season, we like to try many different variations and this one is a new favorite.

Most anything cheesy and spicy is super delicious; put it on top of a pizza crust and rock my world.

I love the combination of sweet and hot peppers with traditional mozzarella and mexican style cheeses. Leave in most of the vein and seeds on the jalapeños for the heat that makes this pizza stand out from the everyday pizza pie. And the crispy bacon – always delectable.

So grab a cold one with a slice and cheer on your favorite team.  As for me and my house, we yell ROLL TIDE!!!

Jalapeño Popper Pizza

Ingredients:

Prepared pizza dough

4 -6 ounces softened cream cheese or a bagel cream cheese spread

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

2 jalapeño peppers, sliced into rings

1 thinly sliced small green pepper

1 thinly sliced small onion

1/3rd cup diced roasted red peppers or Peppadew peppers

4 slices diced crisp cooked bacon

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

Sprinkle cornmeal on a pizza stone or pan. Cover with prepared pizza dough. Spread softened cream cheese evenly over dough. Add cheese and toppings in the following order:

Mozzarella, jalapeños, green pepper, onion, red pepper, shredded jack cheese, shredded cheddar, diced bacon.

Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown and puffed. If using a pizza stone, follow the manufacturer’s baking or grilling directions.

Note: Peppadew is the trademarked brand name of sweet, tangy piquanté peppers grown in the Limpopo province of South Africa

Jalepeno Popper Pizza slice

Mediterranean Veggie Pizza

Wild Tomato Veggie Pizza

One of our favorite fall vacation spots is Door County Wisconsin, the Cape Cod of the Midwest. In among the bevy of amazing restaurants and eateries to choose from, you’ll find a marvelous little pizzeria call Wild Tomato.  I created this recipe based on their version of the veggie pizza. Their pizzas are wood fired, so if you  have a pizza stone, bake your pizza on the grill for that fabulous, smokey flavor.

Mediterranean Veggie Pizza

adapted from Wild Tomato Wood Fired Pizza and Grille, located in Fish Creek, Door County Wisconsin

Ingredients

8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
4 artichoke hearts, chopped
3.5 ounces pesto
1/3rd cup diced green pepper
1/3rd cup diced roasted red peppers
1/3rd cup diced onion
1/3rd cup diced sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
Prepared pizza dough- if using frozen, you’ll need to defrost a day or two in advance. Follow package directions.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Prepare your favorite pizza dough, homemade or frozen.
Sauté mushrooms in 2 teaspoons of olive oil; drain on a paper towel.
Spread pesto onto pizza dough
Evenly spread mushrooms, artichokes, peppers, onions and sun dried tomatoes on top of pesto. Be sure to remove as much of the moisture as you can from the vegetables or the center of the pizza will be mushy.

Thinly slice fresh mozzarella and arrange on top of veggies.

Top with crumbled goat cheese.

Wild Tomato Veggie Pizza 2

Bake 12-15 minutes, until dough is puffed and golden and cheese is melted. If grilling using a pizza stone, follow your pizza stone directions.