Every morning started out pretty similarly with my barking orders about chores, about piano practice, about extra math. Invariably mid morning, Daughter #2 would begin whining about how we never ever ever have pizza EVER. I do have to agree that we don't often have pizza because Son's allergies make eating it hard. Daughter #2 even went as far as to ask if we could have it while Son was at school since he wouldn't see them eating.
As I've been in "eat everything we have at home" mode, I've been making some crazy things. At the moment of Daughter #2's timely whine for pizza, I did a quick assessment of my kitchen. I had about 2 cups of slightly shriveled cherry tomatoes, a tiny bit of fresh basil, two stale pieces of toast (leftover from breakfast) and some mozzarella cheese in the fridge. It seemed like I might be able to throw something together so I gave it a whirl. I cooked up the tomatoes with olive oil and garlic, salt and pepper, and make a quick pizza sauce, tossed it on top of the stale bread topped it with cheese and finished it in the toaster oven.
You'd have thought I was some famous pizza maker from some famous Italian town the way Daughters' gobbled down the pizza. And I was very pleased to use up cheese, slightly wrinkly tomatoes, and the stale toast. Since I was worried that the popularity of this dish was kind of a fluke, I did go ahead and make it again, this time with fresher, more "presentable" ingredients. The end result was again super delicious and super worth it.
But as soon as I discovered this fantastic, easy to make at home treat, Daughters have returned to school and suddenly it's packing lunches for them every morning that consumes my mind. If only I had enjoyed how wonderful it was cooking for them at home (albeit with the incessant fighting) before I sent them back to school.
At least I discovered a great use for cherry tomatoes.
Fresh Tomato Sauce Pizza Bread
Makes 6 to 8 pizza breads
2 cups cherry tomatoes, washed and picked over (Don’t let the shriveled ones scare you - use them too)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
8 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese OR fresh mozzarella, sliced
Bread, sliced according to desired thickness (I’ve used torta rolls, english muffins, french bread, white bread - it all works)
Prosciutto if desired
In a small saucepan, add cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Place saucepan over medium heat and cover, allowing steam to help soften and cook tomatoes. Cook for about 12 minutes and then open lid. Tomatoes should be watery and soft. Continue to cook with lid off to help evaporate some of the water and slightly thicken the sauce. Remove from heat. Toss in fresh basil and set aside.
Toast bread in toaster oven (if it is fresh - if it is stale, no need). Remove from oven. Spread a nice layer of tomato sauce, chunks and all, on top. Sprinkle cheese and any other desired toppings.
Return bread to toaster oven (or regular oven preheated to 400) and toast/bake, until cheese is melty and the desired color.