Heirloom Tomato and Mascarpone Pizza
This grilled pizza is a gourmet version of the cheese and tomato classic. Flavorful heirloom tomatoes on a mascarpone-spread crust topped with feta, fontina, and mozzarella cheeses. Simple is good when you start with fresh, amazing, local flavor.
Sometimes it's good to keep things simple on a pizza. Just some cheese and tomatoes. You could order in a plain cheese pizza or you could make it yourself, a variety of ways. You could pick up a box on the shelf of the grocery store, grab a fork, and have a simple cheese and tomato sauce pizza.
You could pick up a bag of dough, a jar of sauce, and a wedge of cheese and get busy. Or you could get an heirloom tomato in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share and decide to go gourmet, like I did.
One of the reasons I like to eat locally grown produce is because it tastes better than something trucked in from off. That flavor discrepancy is never more pronounced than in a tomato. There's something about a fresh tomato, picked at the height of it's ripeness, that cannot be matched by anything trucked into a grocery store.
When tomato season starts, I make it a point to enjoy a fresh tomato sandwich every week. That sounds easy, now, in the beginning of the season. Let me tell you--it can be a drag come September. But I do it anyway--changing it up with bacon, avocado, whatever looks good that day to me.
I also like to put fresh tomatoes on pizza. The trick to keep your pizza from getting soggy is to slice your tomatoes a good 30 minutes to an hour before you put them on a pizza, like I share in my Tomato Basil Pizza recipe. If I'm using my oven, I'll have my pizza dough sitting on the counter for a couple of hours before I plan to bake, just to get up to room temperature so I can work with it. I'll slice my tomatoes and leave them on a cutting board to drain, then turn on the oven to preheat my pizza stone for an hour. By the time the dough has relaxed and the stone has warmed up, the tomatoes have given up a fair amount of juice. I can tip that off the cutting board and I am good to go.
Usually when it's hot out I'd rather grill a pizza, however. To me, my grill is a magical device that keeps the kitchen cool and gives me bubbling hot pizza in less time than it takes a pizza delivery to show up. If I am in charge of the toppings, then what I produce is generally better than what's coming out of the box anyway. You can do this too--check out My Pizza Primer for tips and tricks on making pizza at home.
I use a pizza stone on my grill because our family likes to eat pizza weekly and it just makes sense to use the right tools for a job you're doing 50+ times a year. I don't have a snow blower, I doubt it snows 50 times a year around here, but I sure do get my use out of my pizza stones. My oven stone is so broken and blackened and beloved I even wrote an ode to it. Even though mine is broken, I just push it back together and it does the trick to give me a crust that is crisp on the bottom and yet chewy and a good puff on the edge.
Have I given you enough reasons to try to make your own version of this? I hope so. If you need more suggestions, please check out my Visual Pizza Recipe Index. I've got bunches of pizza ideas for you there. Because I like to keep things organized, I've broken up the index into categories, with each recipe alphabetized within the category. I've got vegetarian pizzas. I've got savory pizzas topped with fruit. I've got pizza dough recipes using beets to sweet potatoes to enhance my dough. And I've got pizzas topped with all sorts of meat, from bacon to turkey. Something for just about everyone.
For more recipes using tomatoes, please see my Red and Yellow Tomato Recipes Collection. [Yes, there is a separate collection for Green Tomato Recipes.] They are part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.
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Heirloom Tomato and Mascarpone Pizza
- 1+½ to 2 cups chopped heirloom tomato (let it sit for 30+ minutes to drain out the juice)
- olive oil, probably a tablespoon or so
- 1 pound pizza dough of your choice
- ⅓ cup mascarpone cheese (at room temperature works best)
- ½ to 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian blend dry herb seasoning blend (I'm using Penzey's Pasta Sprinkle)
- If you've got a stone for your grill, put it on. I won this one (Amazon affiliate link) and that's what I use. If not, please consider getting one for your grill. It's the price of a couple of take out pizza nights and will make your finished product so much better.
- Preheat gas grill with all burners on high and lid closed. I've never made a pizza on a charcoal grill so I can't advise.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the stone. This one I'm not going to gently suggest--I'm telling you, parchment paper is my secret to making a nicely shaped and gently topped pizza go into the grill (or oven) and come back out looking the way I set it up. But cooked. No need to 'work quickly'. Even if you put the parchment paper directly on the grill, like I did when I'd forgotten to preheat the stone, it will do a better job than you trying to manhandle an uncooked pizza crust, all topped and everything, onto your grill without cursing.
- Spread some olive oil around the parchment paper, and stretch the crust across the paper into the shape it feels like assuming today. Spread a little olive oil on top of the crust as well. You can use your fingers or a brush, your choice.
- Spread the mascarpone cheese across the crust, going nearly to the edges.
- Top with tomatoes and cheeses. Sprinkle dry spices across the top.
- Transfer parchment paper to preheated grill (and stone if you've got it). Close the lid and find something to occupy yourself for 4 to 5 minutes. Open the lid and check the pizza. Is the crust browned? Is the cheese bubbly? If so, slide the pizza off of the grill. If not, close the lid for another minute or so. Turn off the grill and don't forget to close the connection to the fuel line.
- Slice (Amazon affiliate link to my favorite slicer) and serve.