In parts one and two of our interview with Pitfire Pizza's owners Paul Hibler and David Sanfield, we learned about the design and recipe decision-making that allowed a 14 year-old restaurant chain to become a $10 million pizza behemoth. They make their pies Calfornia style, so naturally this heirloom tomato pizza is too, the freshness of farmers market heirloom tomatoes tantamount to the finished product.
We urge the use of a pizza stone to mimic the heat of a professional-grade oven. You want the crust to become crispy and for the pizza to emerge from the oven evenly cooked. This is one recipe where a flimsy aluminum pan just can't hang.
Heirloom Tomato Pizza
From: Pitfire Pizza executive chef Michael Ainslie.
Note: The pizza is prettiest if slices from different colored heirloom tomatoes are used.
Makes: 1 pizza
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 cups heavy cream
2 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a medium pot over medium low heat and add oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent and garlic is soft but has no color.
2. Add the cream and thyme and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove it from the heat, strain and chill.
Marinated Cherry Tomatoes:
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped shallot
1 teaspoon salt
1. Combine the red wine vinegar, olive oil, shallot and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk until emulsified. Add the cherry tomatoes and allow to marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
Pizza and assembly:
1 ball of dough, approximately 10 ounces
2 ounces White Sauce
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
chili flakes to taste
4 ounces ricotta cheese, drained
1 large heirloom tomato, sliced
4 basil leaves, torn
3 ounces marinated cherry tomatoes with marinade
Salt to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 700°F if possible. Right. If using a home oven that cannot reach 700°F, place a pizza stone on the top rack of the oven and broil for 20 minutes until heated through. Then preheat the oven to highest temperature possible.
2. Stretch the pizza dough to a circle 11″ in diameter. Spread the White Sauce and sprinkle red chili flakes and Parmesan cheese.
3. Bake until the pizza dough is blistered and has a dark tan crust and a crispy crust. Remove from the oven.
4. Spread the ricotta cheese in a thin, even layer on the pizza and sprinkle salt. Place the tomato slices over the ricotta and sprinkle salt and basil leaves. Spoon the Marinated Cherry Tomatoes on top. Serve immediately, while the crust is still hot.