07 April 2008

Roasted Tomato Pizza with Garlicky White Bean Puree

Another pizza experiment, and my final one at least until I've moved. (Not buying anything that'll have to get chucked in the freezer; we're trying to use things up, rather than add to them.) This isn't at all the pizza I'd planned to make with my last pizza shell - it was going to have roasted zucchini and eggplant and bell peppers and mushroom and onion and feta cheese on it. But I used up all my feta cheese yesterday with that Greek salad, so I had to change plans.

I decided to do a version of this salad instead, just without the artichokes and olives. I had already packed the cookbook, though, so I had to figure out a way to translate the concept without even the recipe as a reference.

So I came up with the idea of a bean puree as the base. I didn't want it to be too blandly beany, so I heated the beans in a bit of oil with a lot of garlic, (dried) basil, salt and pepper, then mashed them up with a potato masher and used them in place of a sauce. The tomatoes were roasted with oil, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. I peeled off the skins when I put them on the pizza, so they wouldn't hold their form so strongly (those little tomatoes had strong, thick skins).

I was going to do it as a cheese-free pizza, with an egg cracked over the centre and baked on (to reference the hard-boiled eggs from the salad), but I chickened out and just used a bit of mozzarella cheese instead.

It was really tasty. The taste of the garlic was quite strong in the puree, and I really liked the texture of the soft mashed beans. The tomatoes were exquisite. But I should have learned from my last go around with bean puree on pizza that it doesn't look nice once it cooks. The edges dry out so much.

Maybe if I try it again, I should pre-cook the pizza shell with a bit of olive oil or something, or a sauce (though I really wanted to use the beans in place of a sauce), then pile the hot bean puree on top, add the rest of the ingredients and only just give it a quick few minutes under the broiler to melt and brown the cheese.

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