Cherry-Tomato, Bacon, & Blue Cheese Pizza

Make this pizza. It will spoil your taste buds. Badly. So much so... that the next time a friend asks, "does anybody want pizza?" and they pick up the phone to make an order, you will leap forth and slap the phone out of their hands. That might be a slight exaggeration, but you will perk up as you remember this pizza.

The key to this dish is the cherry tomatoes. Oh my man, who knew they packed so much flavor? I was never a fan because I associated cherry tomatoes with salad. They were always cold, hard, and contributed nothing to the conversation. If you roast them, however, it's a whole other story. They soak up the olive oil and vinegar and become pockets of juicy flavor. Make sure the flat side of the tomato is  facing up when you garnish the dough- this will prevent the dough from getting soggy. It has that much flavah.

To compliment the sweetness, there is a savory side to this pizza pie: bacon and blue cheese. Don't worry, it's not super salty and if you're worried about sodium- there is reduced sodium bacon out there. Again- you control what's going on your plate. There is a very light dusting of blue cheese as well as provolone. I think this added a nice twist to the traditional mozzarella. 

Oh, and I like that there is no real "marinera sauce" involved. It's simple tomato sauce. Let the cherry tomatoes do the talking.

Garnish with fresh chopped up basil and crushed black pepper. Sneak in some red pepper flakes. Finally, drizzle on the left over olive oil and vinegar that the cherry tomatoes marinated in. Superb! For the full recipe, check out White On Rice Couple! (I used a different dough)

And don't give me some lame excuse like pizza takes too long to make or you're not a chef. The crust I use takes only 30 minutes to rise. While the dough rises, prep the toppings so no time is lost in the kitchen. You get the satisfaction of knowing what you're eating and customizing it to your liking. It's pizza- the possibilities are endless and there are no points for style. Yayyyyyy for pizzahhhh!! 

PS! In the morning, if you have any leftover, make it into breakfast pizzah by cracking an egg on top and then baking till yolks cook through, about 8 minutes at 500F. Keep an eye on it- it can get a lil toasty like ours did!

Wheat-Honey Dough
modified from allrecipes

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 1/4 cups bread flour, little more for kneading
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon basil
3 generous teaspoons honey

Preheat oven  to 200F. Once it hits 200, turn off and keep the oven door closed.

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in a cup of warm water with saran wrap on top to lock in the heat . Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine flours, olive oil, salt, honey, garlic powder, basil, and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Brush lightly with olive oil. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes on a baking pan in the oven.

While that's going, prep all the toppings! (see below)

Cherry-Tomato, Bacon, & Blue Cheese Pizza
from White on Rice Couple

1/3 lb (150g) Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
2 T (30 ml) Balsamic Vinegar
2 T (30 ml) Olive Oil
1/4 lb. (115 g) thick cut Bacon
1/4 c (60 ml) Tomato Sauce
1/4 c (30 g) crumbled Blue Cheese
1/2 c (55 g) grated Provolone (bought cubes and chopped them)
Olive Oil for brushing edge of crust
8-10 fresh Basil leaves, tearing larger leaves into 1/2 or 1/4's

Combine sliced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil in a small bowl. Toss tomatoes to completely coat then set aside to marinate.

Cook bacon in a saute pan until light golden on each side. Blot on paper towels and after it cools enough to handle, slice into 1" long pieces. Set aside.

Now the assembly. Preheat oven to 400. 

The dough has finished rising! Line a 17x12 cooking sheet with parchment paper and dust with all purpose flour. Roll the dough out so it covers the pan almost rim to rim, making the outer edges a little higher so the toppings don't overflow. Brush top and edges of the pizza dough with a light coat of olive oil.

Spread a light layer of tomato sauce over, leaving outer 3/4" untouched. Layer on bacon. Spread on cheeses. Layer tomato halves, cut side up. Keep balsamic mix to sprinkle on pizza after baking.

Slide pizza into oven and cook for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Drizzle a bit of the balsamic mix over pizza. Sprinkle basil leaves over pizza. Slice and serve.