Over the years I have experimented with many ways to make pizzas from scratch. Whether it’s the ingredients in the dough or the way it is cooked there are always subtle differences in the taste and texture. These days I cook pizza at a high temp which really makes my kitchen hot so the next best option is the outdoor grill. This pizza I call rustic simply because of the way it looks. It’s not the prettiest pizza by far but it was so good there wasn’t a slice left on the table. I picked up some heirloom tomatoes and roasted them in the oven with some salt, pepper and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. And I tried a new cheese, Burrata cheese, which is similar to fresh mozzarella but it has a creamy center. You can’t slice it, you have to spread it and I wondered if I might have made a mistake using it. But it turned out better than I had expected especially in how it tasted. I thought it would be too thin and run over the edges of the dough but those fears were unfounded. The texture remains creamy but resembles the flavors of fresh mozzarella. One more note, I added fresh basil to one pizza after it came off the grill and the other I layered on the pizza to wilt on the grill. My own preference was that the fresh basil tasted better, just something about the fresh basil taste made it for me. So whenever your pizza cravings come calling in the summer, be sure to try one on the grill. You will absolutely love it!!
There is a farm stand a few blocks from my house that has fresh fruits and veggies during the summer month’s. This year they have a variety of heirloom tomatoes. They were prepackaged but I asked for one of each and they happily agreed. The most flavorful ones were the 3 on the far left, the dark red, yellow with a hint of red and the small yellow green striped tomato.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the tomatoes and place them on the parchment paper.
Sprinkle sliced tomatoes with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast in the oven for approximately 40 minutes.
Heat your grill to high temp, 450 degrees or higher. You can make it with charcoal or a gas grill. When using charcoal, place the hot coals over to one side and grill the dough on the other side. This pizza is going over the gas grill today. Here’s my thin pizza dough recipe for the grill.
Cook the dough on one side. Peek inside to see if the dough is bubbling up.
After about 3 – 4 minutes the dough should be slightly grilled on the bottom, flip the dough over and start adding the topping.
First brush on some olive oil and garlic.
This is what the Burrata cheese looks like. It looks remarkably like fresh mozzarella until you discover the creamy center. I used one piece for each pizza. Use a fork to break apart the outer shell and blend together like a chunky spread.
Spread the cheese over the pizza dough.
Lay the roasted tomato slices on top. Put the lid down on the grill and let cook 2 – 3 minutes more. At this point you can place the basil leaves on top or wait until the pizza has baked before adding fresh leaves.
I can only bake one pizza at a time, partly because I don’t have enough room on the grill and the other is the pace at which you bake and layer the toppings before the crust is done.
This is what I see when I peek under to check if it is done.
This one has fresh basil leaves. The crust is thin and crisp.
Second pizza has baked basil leaves. This pizza stayed on a minute longer and has that thin cracker crust texture.
Rustic Heirloom Margherita Pizza on the Grill
18 – 20 slices Heirloom Tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
Parmesan Cheese, grated
3 – 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil plus more to drizzle over tomatoes
2 large cloves Garlic, minced
1 8 ounce container Burrata Cheese
Basil Leaves approximately 12 – 15
Thin Crust Pizza Dough (adapted from Emeril Lagasse)
1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons Rapid Rise Yeast
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 cups Flour
To make thin pizza dough: Combine water, yeast, sugar, salt and olive oil in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for several minutes until the yeast begins to ferment, then begin adding flour a little at a time, mixing after each addition. Continue to blend in the flour until the dough forms into ball. Transfer dough to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Place dough in a warm place to rise and cover bowl with a kitchen towel. Let sit about 1 1/2 hours to rise, it should double in bulk. If not using immediately, dough can be covered and refrigerated up to a week.
Prepare pizza dough at least 2 hours prior to making pizza.
Slice heirloom tomatoes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Salt and pepper the tomato slices and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Place tomatoes in a preheated 425 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes or until they begin to caramelize around the edges.
Use a fork to break apart the outer shell of the burrata cheese and blend together. It will appear like a chunky spread. Set aside. Combine minced garlic and 3 – 4 tablespoons of olive oil together. Whisk to blend. Set aside.
Preheat your outdoor grill. If using charcoal, heat until they are almost ash white. Arrange coals primarily on one side of the grill and leave the other side for your pizza dough. If using a gas grill heat on high until temperature reaches between 450 and 500 degrees.
Divide pizza dough in half. Sprinkle a pizza peel with cornmeal and roll out each piece of dough approximately 12 – 14 inches. Slide onto hot grill and allow to cook approximately 3 minutes. Flip the dough onto the other side and use a silicone brush to spread the olive oil and garlic mixture over the dough. Spread the burrata cheese generously over the dough and top with roasted heirloom tomato slices. At this time you may choose to layer some of the basil leaves over the pizza. Or you can layer them fresh on the pizza after it comes off the grill. Close the lid to the grill and let grill another 2 – 3 minutes or until the pizza dough becomes crisp and brown on the bottom side. Remove with a pizza peel. If making another pizza, slide the 2nd rolled dough onto the hot grill and prepare like the first pizza.
Makes 2 “12 inch” pizza’s