Goat Cheese, Arugula, and Balsamic Pizza
I’m going to amend my (frequently broken) never-go-to-the-grocery-store-hungry rule with a new additional policy: never talk on the phone while grocery shopping. Yet another rule I’m bound to break. Although in this case it resulted in (some snail-paced shopping and) a surprisingly delicious dinner.
My ill-thought-out plan was to attempt my own version of this gorgeous ratatouille pizza, which I still intend to do at some point! But lacking some of the ingredients, too lazy to stop at more than one store, and completely distracted by a phone call from my sister, I got a little side-tracked… Luckily, from a distance of approximately 2,000 miles away, my sister steered me toward this pizza recipe that was somehow simultaneously very easy and very fancy.
I can’t remember ever having made pizza before, so for my first unambitious attempt, I bought both pre-made dough (Trader Joe’s Garlic & Herb) and pizza sauce (also Trader Joe’s; did I mention I was too lazy to visit more than one store?). This rendered the remaining assembly– it was really more assembling than cooking— so ridiculously easy, that I promised myself I would make both from scratch next time. Or at least the dough from scratch next time. And the pizza sauce from scratch once I use up the rest of that jar… It shouldn’t take me too long, though; this pizza was such a scrumptious success that I’m already eager to repeat it.
I took my sister’s advice and briefly marinated some thinly-sliced tomato in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, and salt. After a layer of tomato sauce, and one of grated cheeses, I arranged each of these marinated tomato slices on top of a leaf of fresh basil, and then sprinkled the whole thing with pine nuts. I also– miraculously– found room for some artichoke hearts before sticking it in the oven. But the real treat didn’t get added until the very end, when I set the crispy, hot pizza on the stove, and topped it with crumbling goat cheese and quickly-wilting peppery arugula, before drizzling this candy-sweet tangerine fig balsamic vinegar over the top.*
If this pizza suffered from anything, it was a lack of surface area.** Especially since I pretty much decided to pile on every pizza-appropriate topping I could find in my kitchen. I suppose if I made it again, I would leave off the artichoke hearts… But I’m not sure I’d be willing to part with any of the rest.
* I got this from a friend as a gift, and it was an excellent one, too! I actually made two small pizzas, and used regular balsamic on the other one. The fancy balsamic pizza was better– something about the fruity sweetness contrasting with the spicy arugula…
** This problem could have been partly remedied if I actually owned a rolling pin!
Goat Cheese, Arugula, and Balsamic Pizza
~ Dough for one pizza crust (I used Garlic & Herb from Trader Joe’s, but I will make my own next time!)
~ Tomato sauce (Trader Joe’s Pizza Sauce, & same as above…)
~ 1 cup grated cheese (I used a combination of Asiago, Parmesan, and Mozzarella)
~ 2-3 oz. (or about 1/4 cup) goat cheese
~ 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
~ 1 handful fresh basil leaves
~ 1-2 cups arugula leaves
~ 2-3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, or other sweet reduced balsamic sauce
For Marinating the Tomato Slices:
~ 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
~ 1-2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
~ a pinch of salt
~ a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
~ 2-4 marinated artichoke hearts, halved or quartered
~ a sprinkling of pine nuts
~ black or green olives
~ anything else you love on a pizza!
How to make it:
1. Let the pizza dough rest if necessary, on a lightly floured counter top or cutting board. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. While the dough is resting, mix up the tomato slice marinade in a shallow bowl. Then slice your tomato(es) into very thin rounds, and let soak in the marinade while you get everything else ready– even 5 minutes will make your tomatoes tastier!
3. Roll (or otherwise spread) the pizza dough out to your desired thickness. (I made two small 7- or 8-inch pizzas with dough that had a recommendation for one 12-inch pizza, and I still think I would have preferred the crust to be a little thinner.)
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled baking sheet (unless you have a pizza stone!). Spread the dough with tomato sauce, and sprinkle with cheese. Then arrange all other toppings that will get baked onto the pizza (e.g., basil leaves, marinated tomato slices, artichokes, olives, or pine nuts).
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or to desired crispiness.
6. Have the goat cheese and arugula ready to place on top of the pizza as soon as it comes out of the oven. Then drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.