Arugula Tomato Pizzas with Pecorino

Adapted from Everyday Food (January/February 2009)

Our favorite pizzerias in the city make beautiful individual pizzas topped with fresh ingredients and a crunchy, tart salad on top. Don’t you think pizza seems much less like junk food when you put a green salad right over it? These pizzas are made from real ingredients from top to bottom. If you use a homemade whole wheat crust, you can feel very good about serving this “from scratch” meal. There is no junk food here, folks. If you froze any of the homemade pizza sauce last fall when tomatoes were at peak, you can omit the tomato crushing step and use the sauce instead.

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow corn meal
  • 1 pound grape tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough (see tips)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • Everyday Vinaigrette
  • 4 oz. shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Balsamic vinegar, for serving
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Coat two large baking sheets with a layer of olive oil, then dust lightly with yellow corn meal. Set aside.
  • Place tomatoes in a large bowl. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes until they are a smashed, pulpy mess. Be careful since grape tomatoes have a tendency to squirt juice and seeds all over the place. This is a very therapeutic task, especially if you have had a frustrating day. Take out your aggressions on those tomatoes! If you are concerned about your clothes, wear an apron for this part. Once the tomatoes are broken down and juicy, rinse your hands then sprinkle tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
  • Work pizza dough into either two large rounds or four smaller individual pizzas. Place on the baking sheets. Top pizza dough with tomato mixture then sprinkle with crushed red pepper (skip the pepper for small children). Bake the crusts for about 15 minutes or until crusts are golden and a little puffed up. Remove from oven and allow to rest for a minute while you whisk together the salad.
  • In a bowl, toss arugula with a little everyday vinaigrette. If you don’t have vinaigrette on hand, you can toss the greens with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss to coat evenly. Place salad greens on top of hot pizzas, then top with shaved Pecorino and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. When I use pre-made pizza dough, I use a 1-pound ball for the family and that’s just about right. With this dough, I measured out one ball and I couldn’t possibly see how it would be enough for the whole gang. So I used both and in the end, we ate about 3/4 of one recipe. So if you use the entire recipe of dough for four people (some of whom might be picky children), you may have some leftovers.
  • 2. If you want to create the perennial child favorite of cheese pizza using this recipe, top the tomato mixture with mozzarella cheese before placing it in the oven. Once you cover the tomatoes with cheese, you children will never know that they are eating smashed fresh tomatoes instead of the processed pizza sauce they are used to!

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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