This slow roasted tomato & balsamic pizza is quite a festive season pizza, bursting with the brilliant red of the slow roasted tomatoes. Depending on where you live in Australia tomatoes vary in their plentifulness. For us here in the Yarra Valley we are sadly saying goodbye to tomatoes as the tomato vines go into shock with the cold weather. It’s been a weird season for tomatoes in general – many vines producing big green plump tomatoes that never come to a red fruition. For gardeners this is maddening. Akin to slugs eating your broccoli and white butterflies laying eggs in your curly leaf kale.
Gardening is quite romanticised – the idea of moving to the country and having your own garden. Growing your own produce and picking leisurely from its plentiful givings. What the glossy pictures don’t show you is the realism. The eternal fight with bugs and grubs that come in all sizes and at all times of the night. The loss of seedlings that almost makes a grown man cry (I’ve seen it). The stunted growth of leafy greens as the weather plummets and #hubbardrestrictions are imposed regarding what you’re allowed to pick. The desire for fresh herbs, greens or anything from the garden once the suns gone down, it’s rainy and cold and you know you have to go out into that whether to actually get it.
That said, with the veil pulled aside I have to say that our garden despite all of this is doing pretty well. However, it’s not some spontaneous gift of nature either just because we planted some seeds, stood back and let nature do its thing. Its daily care and lots of work. And it’s not me guys. Not at all. It’s Hubbard. Actually he’s so next level with all of this I am either thinking of hiring him out to the team at Grown & Gathered and/or creating his own JCN online workshop for gardening tips – anyone keen?
The rewards of your own garden of course are many. For me the biggest is flavour. Produce that tastes like real food! Tomatoes bursting with juice that actually taste like tomatoes. Not those supermarket impersonations that taste like – well nothing.
When I think tomatoes I can’t help but think slow roasted and pizza! This slow roasted tomato & balsamic pizza is a celebration of just that. The nature of this light and flavoursome pizza works perfectly for a simple vegetarian dinner or even a light shared starter with friends. Often pizza conjures up images of fast food, however a home cooked pizza can be very nutritious whilst opening up a world of alternative toppings. The trick is to keep it simple and work with flavours that compliment each other.
This slow roasted tomato & balsamic pizza uses the gorgeous Maggie Beer’s recipe for a gluten free base. I have used her recipe numerous times and find it very versatile from pizza bases to pies, from pies to tarts. There are two recipes on her site; one contains eggs and the other cream cheese. Here I have used the egg version with extra virgin olive oil, however for a vegan version you could use the cream cheese recipe and use vegan cream cheese instead. You could also use the tart recipe base from my Sweet & Savoury Tarts for a more robust pizza base. Which ever you choose, I promise you that this pizza will leave you truly satisfied.
slow roasted tomato & balsamic pizza
- 2 hungry people or 4 as a starter
- preparation time
- 45 minutes
- cooking time
- 1 hour
- 1 quantity of maggie beer gluten free pasty*
- 500g cherry tomatoes or other good quality tomatoes such as truss
- 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed well
- small clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to season
- 1/2 log goat chèvre, crumbled
Heat the oven to 160c. Halve the tomatoes and place on a roasting tray. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons each of balsamic and olive oil. Place in the oven to slow roast for 45 minutes, or until juicy and blistered.
In the meantime, make up your maggie beer gluten free pastry. Place the pastry in the fridge while the tomatoes cook.
In a medium sized bowl, mash the cannellini beans with the garlic, white wine vinegar and a good season of salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Once the tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven and turn the oven up to 220c. Take a good sized pizza tray and dust with flour, then place your dough in the centre. Roll it out directly onto the tray and use your fingers to press it out till nice and thin to form a rough circle.
Put a few good generous spoonfuls of the bean mix onto the pizza and swirl it around to cover generously. Now place the tomatoes face side up around the pizza till well covered and pour over any pan juices. Crumble over the chèvre and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the base is crispy and the cheese has browned.
Once removed, drizzle with the remaining balsamic vinegar, slice up and enjoy!
* to make maggie beers gluten free pastry dairy free, use nuttelex or rice bran oil in place of the butter. I used a combination of rice flour and potato flour for this base, but any gluten free blend will do the trick.
- Tomatoes are rich in the phytochemical lycopene, member of the carotene family. Lycopene is an essential nutrient for prostate health. Cooking the tomatoes helps make lycopene more bioavailable.
- The legumes in this pizza along with the goats cheese provide some protein, however to make this pizza more sustaining you could add some lovely seafood such as squid or prawns.
- Use this pizza as a guide and experiment with other flavours. Try drizzling with pesto instead of balsamic, use baked eggplant or capsicums, add olives, capers and anchovies or smoked trout. The possibilities are endless!