By • March 18, 2015 0 Comments

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Author Notes: I simply adore Italian food and whether I like pasta or pizza better is so hard to say, in fact, it’s impossible. I love them both for many of the same reasons and for many different ones.

Both fill my comfort food addictions and needs! Both are creative, fun to make, and involve CARBS which I ADORE! Both seem simple but to perfect from scratch is not easy; it takes time, patience, knowledge, and a good “nonna” for a teacher.

As for the differences, I could make pasta everyday, period. I fantasize about the various recipes, shapes, sauces, and pairings. I ADORE making pasta. Pizza, I love to make just not everyday BUT when I want something and think about the two, chances are I will eat pizza more often than pasta. So, try to figure this one out……okay never mind, don’t…..

Honestly, at the end of the day, it’s not as complicated as I am making it sound. If you love Italian food, I really don’t know anyone who doesn’t and if I did, I probably wouldn’t associate with them, it’s a difference I couldn’t comprehend, but if you do love it as much as I then pizza or pasta, who cares, just MANGA!

On that note, everyone has a recipe for a margarita pizza so I wanted to post a recipe that is a little more unusual but incorporates ingredients that most everyone loves and this pesto pizza with roasted tomatoes, homemade ricotta, and caramelized onions just rocks! If you have a pizza oven or know someone who does (I happen to know someone, mille graze a caterina e giovanni:), use it….but if all you have access to is an oven, it does the trick. I would suggest investing in a pizza stone if you don’t have one, it’s the closest thing you can get to mimicking cooking in a pizza oven!

Now go and figure out your favorite…, pasta, or BOTH….. before you contemplate, pour a glass of vino!


Serves 8

  • Pizza Dough:
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons fresh yeast
  • 2 T + 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Caramelized Onions:
  • 2 sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1/8 cup marsala wine
  • salt
  • Pesto:
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 2 pieces of garlic
  • ¼ - ½ cups cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • Roasted Tomatoes:
  • 1-2 pounds cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • sugar
  • Homemade Ricotta:
  • 6 cups organic whole milk
  • 2 cups organic heavy whip cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons organic white wine vinegar
  • Toppings:
  • asiago cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil
  1. Pizza Dough: Day before making pizza: Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and combine. While the mixer is running, add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.
  2. Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cover each with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rest for 24 hours. This allows the yeast to rise fully.
  3. Caramelized Onions On stove top in medium sized pan over medium heat, add a little olive oil and warm. Add onions and sauté. Add a little more olive oil as they cook and turn heat down a little bit to slow cooking. When starting to brown, add about ¼ cup marsala wine and a little salt. Let onion cook way down til golden brown.
  4. Roasted Tomatoes: Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and a little sugar. Place in oven and cook until roasted, about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Homemade Ricotta: In a saucepan on stove over medium heat, put in the milk, cream, salt, and vinegar. Bring to a medium heat and boil where it starts to separate. Put in a mesh colander over a bowl until liquid is drained.
  6. To Make Pesto: In a food processor, add basil and garlic. Pulse until well blended and finally chopped. Add ½ pine nuts and ¼ cup olive oil and run until well blended. Add a little salt and pepper and pulse. Check consistency and flavor. Add oil and seasoning if necessary. Don't want pesto "runny" but spreadable.
  7. To assemble pizza: Preheat oven to 500. If you have a pizza stone, preheat in oven for 15-20 minutes but if using a baking sheet then don't preheat. Roll out 1 of the pizza balls in desired shape, rectangle or round, to desired thickness, I like really thin crust. Prick dough with fork as to not form bubbles.
  8. Spread basil on bottom to of dough. Add ricotta in small amount around pizza and same with mozzarella. Add ½ caramelized onion and ½ tomatoes and top with a little asiago and parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Remember, pizza is a balance of crust and toppings, don't "load up" with too much cheese. Repeat with other pizza ball.
  9. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crust is browned well and toppings are melted. Pull out of oven and dot with fresh basil and drizzle with olive oil. Cut and serve immediately with roasted red pepper flakes and fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese.

More Great Recipes: Pizza|Pesto|Ricotta