Grilled Rustic Margherita Pizza with Pan-Roasted Tomato Pesto
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.
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.
Cook's note: Pesto recipe makes enough for several pizzas.
Julie Beckwith, Crete, first place in NatureSweet Glorys Chef's Challenge