Thursday, November 25, 2010

Artichoke, Sun Dried Tomato and Gorgonzola Cheese Pizza

Exotic pizza and gourmet pizza have always been my forte.  I just love making interesting pizzas! 
     Sun dried tomatoes always go well with gorgonzola cheese.  For this recipe, accenting the sun dried tomatoes is important, so the sauce is made with tomato paste.  Traditionally, tomato paste is sun baked and then passed through a sieve before final reduction.  A quality tomato paste has a similar flavor to sun dried tomato.  A bright fresco tomato sauce or a regular pizza sauce is not a good match for the great flavor of sun dried tomato. 
     Dough Recipe:  Make the pizza dough recipe that I posted at my Food and Recipe Blog on 11/25/2010 in the Garlic Smelt, Fresh Basil and Mushroom Pizza recipe. 
     Sun Dried Tomato Topping:  Boil a little bit of water in a sauce pan over medium high heat. 
     Add some sun dried tomatoes that have been sliced in half. 
     Add a couple dollops of tomato paste.
     Add a splash of olive oil.
     Add sea salt.
     Add a few pinches each of chopped basil, oregano leaf, black pepper and crushed dried red pepper. 
     Reduce the heat to medium/medium low.
     Simmer till sun dried tomatoes and sauce are reduced to a pizza sauce medium thickness. 
     Use a spoon to remove the reconstituted sun dried tomato halves and place them in a bowl to cool. 
     Set the tomato paste pizza sauce aside. 
     Pizza:  Gently pat out the pizza dough to a round mini pizza shape using your finger tips.  Start from the center of the dough and pat outwards to the edge on a floured counter top.  (This traditional method of shaping pizza dough with the finger tips will give the crust a classic delicate texture.) 
     Place the round shaped flat pizza dough on a lightly oiled pizza pan. 
     Pat the dough out again to make it an even thickness and to be sure it is round. 
     Brush the crust with olive oil. 
     Bake the plain crust in a 450 degree oven till it is half way cooked. 
     Spoon the reserved tomato paste sauce on the crust from the center of the pizza pie out to the pizza crust edge. 
     Sprinkle a little bit of grated mozzarella cheese on the pizza. 
     Sprinkle a larger amount of crumbled gorgonzola cheese on the pizza. 
     Lay the reserved sun dried tomato halves on top of the cheese. 
     Slice some quality canned plain artichoke hearts into eighths. 
     Brush the artichoke eighths with olive oil. 
     Set the artichoke pieces in between the sun dried tomato pieces on the pizza. 
     Sprinkle a little bit of oregano leaf on the pizza. 
     Return the pizza to the 450 degree oven.  Bake till the cheese melts.  (Do not let the cheese brown!  Burnt gorgonzola cheese tastes awful!) 
     This is a pizza lovers gourmet pizza!  The tangy tomato paste sauce and the deep flavor of sun dried tomatoes really is so fine with gorgonzola cheese.  Gorgonzola is a great flavor on its own.  The light flavor of the artichoke slices does compliment the cheese and tomatoes.  This is also a rare pizza that needs no garlic.  With just a few ingredients, this gourmet pizza is one of the best!  Ciao Baby! ...  Shawna

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