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Pizza with Charred Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

These crisp-crusted individual pies are a much more elegant version of the pizzas at Mama Mia's in New York's Dutchess County that Shea Gallante grew up making. Here, he tops them with sweet tomatoes, aged Gouda and a little pesto.


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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

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  • 3/4 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 5 basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Pizza Dough
  • 3/4 cup coarsely grated aged Gouda (3 ounces)
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Basil Pesto


  1. Preheat the broiler. In a medium baking dish, toss the cherry tomatoes with the panko, garlic, shallot, basil and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil 6 inches from the heat for about 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes pop and brown lightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500°. Set a pizza stone on the bottom of the oven and heat for at least 30 minutes.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each ball of Pizza Dough to a 7-inch round. Transfer two rounds to a lightly floured pizza peel. Spoon one-sixth of the cherry tomato topping on each round. Slide the pizzas onto the heated stone and bake for about 5 minutes, or until sizzling and just set. Remove from the oven and sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons of the aged Gouda and 1 tablespoon of the Parmigiano. Return the pizzas to the oven and bake for about 5 minutes longer, until the cheeses are melted and the crust is lightly browned. Drizzle with a little Basil Pesto and serve. Repeat with the remaining dough, tomato topping, cheeses and pesto.

Make Ahead

The cherry tomato topping can be refrigerated overnight; let return to room temperature before using.

Suggested Pairing

Pair cheesy pizzas with moderately tannic reds such as a Chianti Classico, or, if they aren't covered in tomato sauce—which tends to overwhelm white wines—a crisp white like a Verdicchio.

Contributed By Photo © Marcus Nilsson Published April 2008

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