Grilled Rustic Margherita Pizza with Pan-Roasted Tomato Pesto

  • Julie Beckwith of Crete came in first place with her Rustic Margherita Pizza at a recent cooking contest sponsored by NatureSweet Glorys Tomatoes.

    Julie Beckwith of Crete came in first place with her Rustic Margherita Pizza at a recent cooking contest sponsored by NatureSweet Glorys Tomatoes. Courtesy of NatureSweet

 

¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 container (10.5 ounces) sweet gape tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

Coarse salt, to taste

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

1 cup fresh basil (roughly chopped), plus additional for garnish

1 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

¼ cup pine nuts

1 tablespoon capers

½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided use

1 prepared pizza crust (12-inch), thin crust

8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls, well drained (blot with paper towels to remove excess moisture)

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1½ cups of the tomatoes, garlic cloves, ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper (or to taste). Cook tomatoes until softened and blistered, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add cooled tomato-garlic mixture, basil, parsley, pine nuts, capers, ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste) to the bowl of a food processor. Slowly add remaining ¼ cup of the olive oil, continue blending until smooth.

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Heat gas grill to medium high heat.

Slice remaining tomatoes in half and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Spread a generous amount of the tomato pesto evenly over bottom of the pizza crust, about ¼ cup. Top with sliced tomato halves, mozzarella, and remaining parmesan cheese. Place pizza directly on grill rack. Close grill and cook 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted. If needed, reduce grill temperature to prevent crust bottom from burning. Cool slightly. Garnish with fresh chopped basil. Serve warm.

Serves four.

Cook's note: Pesto recipe makes enough for several pizzas.

Julie Beckwith, Crete, first place in NatureSweet Glorys Chef's Challenge

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