Cherry Tomato Pizza Margherita

For most of my life, I thought that pizza slices were always square.  That’s because where I grew up, the pizza slices were square – except for the 4 tiny baby slices you would find on the corners of each pie.  They cut the pizza in a cross-wise fashion, instead of cutting wedges.  Ok, I am not doing a good job explaining this, so here is a visual:

We would always fight over the pieces with the crust – especially the baby triangles – and what  novel concept, that people like their pizza in triangles!  We never wanted to eat the inside pieces with no crust.  The funny thing is my younger daughter would have loved growing up with pizza cut into squares – because she hates the crust!  Let me tell you, it is very hard to eat a piece of pizza with no crust.

When I went to college and polled my friends, I realized that I was the only one that had strange shaped pizza in my town.  Triangles were it – they were the preferred shape of pizza – and I definitely agreed.  Everyone got a piece with crust – there was no fighting  – and the triangles were big – not tiny baby pieces.

I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit – and since we had just come back from NYC where we feasted on the best pizza ever – I decided to give it a try.  No, it was not as good as the pizza in NYC – but the cherry tomatoes and mozzarella topping were excellent.  I thought about cutting it into squares, but I just couldn’t do it.  I just love my triangles – even if I have to cut the crust off for my daughter.


  • 1 13.8-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 12-ounce bag cherry tomatoes, stemmed
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely crushed in plastic bag
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 4-ounce ball fresh mozzarella in water (ovoline), diced
  • 4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves plus small leaves for garnish


Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Unroll dough on heavy large baking sheet; pull to about 12×8-inch rectangle, pinching any tears to seal. Fold over edge of dough to make border.

Heat large skillet over high heat 2 minutes. Add oil, then tomatoes; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until tomatoes are charred and beginning to break down, about 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in garlic, fennel, and crushed red pepper. Using back of fork, crush tomatoes in bowl, leaving large chunks intact. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Toss cheeses and chopped basil in medium bowl.

Sprinkle cheese mixture evenly over dough, right up to border. Spoon on tomato mixture in dollops, leaving some cheese uncovered. Bake pizza until crust is crisp and brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Loosen pizza with metal spatula and slide onto board. Garnish with basil leaves.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Cherry Tomato Pizza Margherita

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