Grilled Vegan Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes, Toasted Pine Nuts, and Fresh Herbs

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  3 very thin 11- to 12-inch pies
Prep Time:  1 hour Resting and Rising Time:  2 hours 3 minutes Cook Time:  4 hours 30 minutes

Grilled Vegan Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes, Toasted Pine Nuts, and Fresh Herbs

This tomato pie highlights some of the best of late summer’s offerings and makes use of magnificent tomato crops, the brightness of basil, and the hint of sweet heat in mint, all muted with the earthy gentility of pine nuts. You will need a pizza stone or some tiles to make this pie.

Ingredients

Roasted Tomatoes:

3 pounds (about 15) plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded (see Kitchen Tips), and halved lengthwise

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Crust:

1 (¼-ounce/7-gram) packet active dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 cup warm water (see Kitchen Tips)

2¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus ¼ cup more for kneading

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

¼ cup cornmeal, or more, for dusting

 

Fresh Toppings:

Leaves of 1 large or 2 small bunches fresh basil, roughly chopped

Leaves of 1 small bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped

Zest of 3 lemons

1½ cups pine nuts, toasted (see Kitchen Tips)

Instructions

  1. Roast the tomatoes: preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil. Arrange the tomatoes over the oil in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle the remaining oil on top. Bake for 4 hours. The tomatoes will darken in color, shrink, and become jammy, but will retain their overall shape. Allow to come to room temperature. (Roasting the tomatoes can be done ahead of time. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 days and bring to room temperature before you assemble the pizza.)
  2. Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let stand for 8 minutes, or until foamy.
  3. Add 1 cup of the flour, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and salt. Mix at low speed until combined, and then add the remaining flour. Mix at low speed until the top part of the dough just begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. It will be a sticky dough.
  4. Knead the dough at medium-high speed for another 4 to 6 minutes, until it forms a smooth ball. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm spot and let the dough rise for about 1½ hours, until it has doubled in size. (Or, if you wish, let it rise slowly, covered well, in the refrigerator, overnight or for up to 4 days, but allow about 30 minutes for the dough to come back to room temperature before you shape it.)
  5. When the tomatoes have been roasted, and the dough has had its first rise, lightly flour a work surface and a kitchen towel. Gently turn the dough out onto the work surface, punch it down, shape it into a small ball, cover with the floured kitchen towel, and set aside to rest for 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to high and place the pizza stone on it to preheat.
  7. When the dough has rested, lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on it. Cut it into 3 even pieces. Cover 2 of the pieces with plastic wrap. With a lightly floured rolling pin, pull and roll the remaining piece into a round(ish) pizza crust that is about 11-inches in diameter and about ¼ inch thick. Keep moving it around, in quarter turns, as you roll and stretch to make sure it is not sticking. (If you work with it too long and it starts pulling back into a smaller, thicker round, kind of like an elastic band that has been stretched too far, flip a bowl upside down over the dough or cover it with a floured kitchen towel, and let it rest for 5  to 8 minutes to allow the glutens to relax again.)
  8. Sprinkle the cornmeal evenly over a pizza peel or a single-edged baking sheet to prevent the dough from sticking and place the dough on the prepared pizza peel or baking sheet.  Brush the perimeter of the crust with 1 tablespoon oil.
  9. Spoon about one-third of the roasted tomatoes on the crust in a single layer,  leaving about 1-inch bare all around the outer edge.
  10. Make sure the pizza crust will move by giving it a gentle shake, and if it doesn’t slide, scatter a small handful of cornmeal under the part that sticks.
  11. Slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone. Grill for about 8  to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are heated through and the crust is a a deep golden color.  Repeat  the process with remaining 2 pieces of pizza dough to make the next pizzas, one at a time.
  12. Sprinkle liberally with fresh basil, mint, lemon zest, and pine nuts, and serve.

Kitchen Tips

  1. To peel the tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare and bowl of ice water. With a slotted spoon, carefully place the tomatoes into the boiling water. Cook for 20 seconds and transfer with the slotted spoon into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Using a sharp paring knife, make a small cut or X near the stem and peel back the skin. Remove and discard the skin—it will peel off easily. Then cut the tomatoes in half, squeeze out the seeds.
  2. Yeast is a little living creature, and it needs special handling. You need warm water to activate it—between 85°F and 100°F—but if the water is too warm, you’ll kill it and it simply won’t work at all.
  3. To roast pine nuts, try The Weiser Kitchen’s Roasted Nuts recipe.

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