Sunday, August 24, 2008

Homegrown Gourmet 10- Local Margherita Pizza

When the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that's... Homegrown Gourmet?! That's right- for the big 1-0 Homegrown Gourmet will be featuring local PIZZA recipes from all its participants!

Sound like fun, huh? I think so too! Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Cooking Experiments is hosting this round and came up with that delightful theme. Who doesn't love pizza? Warm, comforting, filling, versatile... it's so many great things at once!

So when I started to think about how to make pizza local to Maine or New England, well, I was a little shocked that I couldn't come up with a plethora of ideas! I considered a dessert pizza, but honestly I like my pies for dinner. A seafood pizza sounded gross (though I hope maybe another participant gave it a shot!) and there aren't really pizza traditions here in Maine beyond your standard fare.

I gave it some more thought and decided to look for inspiration at the Farmer's Market. Greater Portland has a number of farmers' market, including a large one that happens twice a week here in Portland proper. On Saturdays, the booths set up in a park downtown where cut flowers, fruits, veggies, herbs, cheeses, meats, potted plants, honey, and baked goods are for sale in the fresh air with musicians and artists providing the backdrop. Hubby and I have enjoyed this weekly feast for the senses for a few weeks now. On a recent trip I was rewarded with an idea for this HGG round based on the gorgeous produce available.

The inspiration came from a beautiful basket of multicolored cherry tomatoes. I remembered a pizza my husband used to love from a local southern New England chain called Bertuccis. (Man, I love Bertuccis- please come to Maine!) They had a traditional margherita pizza. It has no sauce, but rather fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella baked to perfection. After locating a bunch of beautiful basil and some amazing local goats' milk ricotta, I knew I had a twist on a Maine Margherita on my hands.

It aome out deliciously! The tomatoes and basil were so fresh and flavorful and the ricotta had a wonderful nuttiness to it that I'm not used to with commercial cows' milk ricotta. The lack of sauce was not a problem as we got plenty of moisture from the veggies. Super yum.

Thanks for hosting Elizabeth! Mangia!

Local Maine Margherita Pizza
  • 1 Ball of Portland Pie Company Pizza Dough
  • 1 1/2- 2 C. Multi-Colored Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Regular Tomato
  • 8-12 Long Slices of Mozzarella (I wish I had used local here too.)
  • 8 oz. Tourmaline Hill Farm Fresh Goat Cheese Ricotta
  • 1/2 C. Fresh Basil

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees as dough instructions indicate. Place pizza stone in the stove from the start to allow it to heat slowly with the oven.
  2. Slice the cherry and full tomatoes into slices. The large tomato I was able to cut thin, but in order to keep the shape of the cherries, I used between 1 and 3 cuts on each.
  3. Slice the basil leaves into long strips.
  4. Work the pizza dough into a large, flat circle- you know, pizza shaped!
  5. When the oven and stone are warmed, remove the stone from the stove and sprinkle with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Place the dough on the stone.
  6. Spread the large tomato slices on the dough in a single layer.
  7. Cover with a single layer of the mozzarella. It does not matter if not everything gets covered yet as there are more layers to come.
  8. Cover the mozzarella with the cherry tomato slices.
  9. Sprinkle the fresh ricotta over the entire pizza.
  10. Bake the pizza for 10-12 minutes until the crust just starts to brown.
  11. Pull the pizza out of the oven and then sprinkle the fresh basil over the entire surface of the pizza. Continue baking for another 2-4 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is melty. You will not want the basil to get crunchy, so keep an eye on it if your oven cooks fast.
  12. Remove, slice, and enjoy hot!

1 comment:

That Girl said...

I've done Margherita, but not with ricotta - sounds great!