How do you celebrate, or explore a new ingredient you are looking to use? If your ingredient is a can of Bianco DiNapoli Organic Tomatoes you got your hands on, you don't need to look too much further than Tony Gemignani's Orginal Tomato Pie with Cheese. I remembered this pizza and thought it would be the perfect platform for these tomatoes to shine. I was on a tomato quest after all. This pizza is simply a celebration of the tomato. Tony's Pizzeria Napoletana even offers a limited number of pies per day be made with the Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes for an additional charge. It's worth it!
Tony has a couple versions of this pizza: The Original Tomato Pie, Original Tomato Pie with Cheese, and Jersey's Original Tomato Pie. The basic concept is Tomato - hand crushed tomatoes spread on the dough. It is finished with a little pinched italian sausage, fresh oregano, olive oil and sea salt. The Jersey version uses sliced mozzarella and adds some parmigiano as well. They all deliver tomatoes to you on a platter, or pizza crust. Delicious!
I mention this in some of my other recipes from this day, but it is worth repeating. My son was eating one of the pizzas I had been making that day. For all of the pizzas I was making, I was only using these tomatoes hand crushed - nothing added. He sat at the table as I made this pizza and out of nowhere he said, "Dad. Great sauce!" He had no idea what I was doing. The sauce stood out that much. That's impressive.
You can see that for this pizza, I used a lot of sauce. I wanted the tomatoes to melt into the cheese base, but not loose their juicy tomatoey-ness after baking in my oven for 8-10 minutes. It came out just right. Because the tomatoes were hand crushed, they still had some thickness, which was nice to bite into as they held their moisture. You sort of got explosions of tomato flavor in every bite. The sauce in this pizza - the way you lay it out and top it - becomes the key note of the whole thing. With a little mozzarella underneath, you still get that cheese fix, which I think helps set the tomatoes up for your enjoyment even more. And, with a little spicy italian sausage you have the perfect accent for enjoying the tomato pie.
Tony Gemignani's Original Tomato Pie with Cheese:
*I was using a Central Mills Germania Flour Dough (any dough will work)
Bianco DiNapoli Organic Tomatoes
Pinched Italian Sausage
Sprinkle a little mozzarella on the dough.
You don't want this pizza to be about the cheese. It's there on the bottom layer for a reason. It's performing a supporting role.
Add a good amount of your hand crushed tomatoes.
*Note: I didn't add anything to the tomatoes, just some fingers and some squeezing. You want enough tomatoes to make sure it stays moist after cooking for 8-10 minutes.
Pinched Italian Sausage
The pinching creates a thin piece of sausage that will fully cook in the oven. Since I'm making this at home and my oven only hits 550 degrees, I saute my sausage first leaving it a little pink in the middle so it will finish in the oven.
I put a little oregano on prior to cooking the pizza and then more after - just so I could get a little cooked into the sauce and then some fresh leaves as a finishing accent after.
After snapping a few pictures, the pizza went into the oven.
Give it about 8-10 minutes and out she comes.
I drizzled a little olive oil and dropped a little more fresh oregano on top and got this one to the table, where the family was waiting in line (behind Owen, who had by now identified a new favorite sauce and was using his muscle to make sure he was first in line). I didn't add any sea salt and found that it was perfect without it.
This is a great pizza. Thanks Tony!