Pizza With Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil, and Mozzarella

Pizza With Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil, and Mozzarella

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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  • Yield:Makes four 10- to 12-inch pizzas, serving 4
  • Active time: 45 minutes
  • Total time:3 hours
  • Rated:


  • 1 recipe Neapolitan Pizza Dough, or 2 pounds store-bought pizza dough
  • 1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into rough chunks and drained
  • 8 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, split in half
  • 4 to 6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
  • 24 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. 1.

    Divide dough into four even parts and place each in a covered quart-sized deli container or in a zipper-lock freezer bag. Allow to rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours before baking. Transfer tomatoes to a medium bowl and roughly crush by hand. Season to taste with salt and set aside.

  2. 2.

    Adjust oven rack to 6 inches under broiler and place stone or steel on rack. Preheat oven to highest possible temperature (500 or 550°F) for at least 45 minutes. Alternatively, use Kettle Pizza and Baking Steel grill insert.

  3. 3.

    When ready to bake, turn single dough ball out onto lightly flour surface. Gently press out dough into rough 8-inch circle, leaving outer 1-inch higher than the rest. Gently stretch dough into a 10 to 12-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick by draping over knuckles and gently stretching. Transfer to floured wooden pizza peel.

  4. 4.

    Preheat broiler to high. Spread thin layer of sauce over pizza, followed by 1/4 of mozzarella. Spread 1/4 of garlic slices, 1/4 of cherry tomatoes, and 1/4 of Parmesan evenly over pizza. Sprinkle lightly with salt, add 6 basil leaves, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.

  5. 5.

    Transfer pizza to hot stone or steel and broil until edges are puffed and lightly charred and bottom is crisp, rotating regularly for even cooking, 3 to 6 minutes total. Retrieve pizza with a metal peel and transfer to a cutting board. Slice and serve immediately. Meanwhile, switch oven back to 550°F to reheat stone for remaining pizzas.

  6. 6.

    Repeat steps 4 through 6 for remaining pizzas.