At this time of year, our garden is bursting with produce. Unfortunately since we don’t have the space to have a massive garden a la Ina Garten, the bits of produce coming in are a random hodge podge.  Nearly every day, I pick a few handfuls of tomatoes, a couple of future pickles, and a pepper or two.  I just don’t have the kind of mass harvests I dream of for making huge batches of tomato sauce from my own garden.  Maybe someday, but not yet.  (That’s okay though – we pick up mass quantities of organic tomatoes from the farmers market and play pretend.  It’s all good.)

I’ve been promising Andrew since spring when we planted our garden that we would make a pizza with our tomatoes and basil, and we have made a few traditional margherita pizzas this year.  A couple of weeks ago I wanted that, but better.*  I was also randomly craving pasta a la vodka when suddenly these two ideas combined and it hit me how totally fabulous a pizza could be with a tomato cream sauce.  Like, woah.  I ended up skipping the vodka since we were out and just made a simple tomato cream sauce.  Rather than topping with fresh tomatoes I used oven roasted tomatoes since, you know, I put them in everything.  (Yet another recipe coming next week, just FYI.)  Though I may not have buckets of fresh tomatoes, I do have enough to roast for a fab pizza.  As you might imagine if you love tomato cream sauce, oven roasted tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, and oh yes, PIZZA as I do, this was nothing short of spectacular.  Still simple, but just better.  I adore this pizza.

*For the authenticity police who will exclaim no! This is not pizza margherita…I know, and I’m okay with that.


For the sauce: 
1¼ cups drained canned whole tomatoes, liquid reserved*
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. minced onion
2 tsp. tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup heavy cream

To assemble: 
Pizza dough for 1 large pizza (regular or whole grain)
Olive oil, for brushing
4-6 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded**
1-2 oz. Parmesan, grated
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, roasted (small romas also work well)
¼-½ cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped


  • 01

    To make the sauce, add the tomatoes to a blender or food processor.  Puree until smooth, adding a bit of the reserved liquid if necessary to smooth the mixture out.  Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook about 1 minute, until it begins to soften.  Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes and mix just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomato mixture, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook about 5-8 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.

  • 02

    To make the pizza, increase the oven temperature to 500˚ F and preheat a pizza stone for at least 30 minutes.  Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round.  Lightly brush the perimeter of the dough with olive oil.  Spread with an even layer of the tomato cream sauce.  (You may have a little extra.  Never fear, it makes a perfect dipping sauce for the crusts.)  Sprinkle the mozzarella in an even layer over the sauce, and sprinkle the Parmesan over that.  Dot the oven roasted tomatoes evenly over the cheese.

  • 03

    Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chopped basil over the top of the pizza.  Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

  • 04

    *I know this is kind of an annoying measurement since it uses part of a can.  Sorry.  But, you can increase the batch to compensate and use as a dipping sauce or, you know, eating with a spoon.

    **For best results, always use freshly shredded cheese.  Pre-shredded cheese comes coated in things such as flour or cornstarch to prevent clumping and results in an unpleasant, gritty texture when melted.