Pizza Rustica

This is my favorite pizza recipe to date. I made it last weekend to have on hand for a crazy week coming up, and Mark ate 90% of it in one sitting (so much for me taking it for lunch!) Luckily, the pizza dough came in a two-pack, so I just whipped up another one. It’s less than 20 minutes from chopping block to table, making it fast AND healthy. Serve with a spinach salad and you’re set!

Pizza Rustica

Serves 2. One pizza = 6 slices. Hands-on time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes.


  • One pre-made round pizza crust (I used Archer Farms ultra thin & crispy pie, from Target. You could try any brand you like.)
  • 1 large tomato or 2-3 plum/roma tomatoes, sliced
  • a handful of basil leaves, torn by hand
  • 1/2 ball of fresh mozzarella, broken into chunks by hand
  • 1 cup of pre-shredded parmesan/mozzarella mix (again I used Target)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • non-stick spray for the pan (or use olive oil)


Start by spraying your pizza pan with non-stick spray or olive oil. Preheat oven to 400.

In a non-stick saute pan, stir-fry the sliced red pepper and onion until translucent and browned, about 10 minutes. While this is cooking on the stove top, assemble the rest of the pie.

Place pizza crust on the non-stick pizza pan and dot with olive oil; spread around evenly to coat crust.

Place tomato slices evenly around crust, then top with torn basil.

Add the fresh mozzarella on top of the basil, breaking off chunks by hand.

When the pepper and onion are done, distribute onto the pizza; top with shredded mozzarella/parmesan.

Cook for 10 minutes at 400 or until browned. Serve with spinach salad and enjoy!

I really liked the Archer Farms brand from Target, because it’s a thin-crust pizza that is low in fat and cooks up quickly. Also, it comes with two pies in a pre-made package. My recipe easily doubles if you buy twice the tomatoes, red peppers and onions (or use from your garden), and if you use the entire block of fresh mozzarella and the entire 2-cup bag of pre-shredded cheese.

I added a touch of olive oil even though I was using a non-stick pan. I like the onions to almost caramelize…

…and the red peppers to blacken on the edges for tons of flavor.


Add as many tomatoes as you like. These were some late, sweet beefsteaks from my garden, sliced into smaller pieces. I like to keep them away from the outer edge so the crust cooks up nice and crisp in the oven.

Add the basil next, tearing by hand…

…and then the mozzarella in fresh pieces, which helps hold the basil down.

Add your onions and peppers on top. Sandwiching the basil between layers like this keeps it from burning and bakes the flavor into the whole pie.

Preheat the oven to 400 and top the pie with the shredded mozzarella and parmesan. I used a bagged variety becuase the two cheeses came together in a two-cup package, and I used a little less than half for one pizza and the other half on a much cheesier second pizza a couple days later (after my husband, ahem, polished off the first version like it was a personal pan pizza).

Yup, that’s my comfy bath robe. It helps me cook.

YUUMMMM. When it comes out, it just needs to cool for a couple minutes.

A tip I learned in Italy? Just use scissors to cut pizza. Easy as pie (ha, ha).

Voila! Enjoy your pizza, and make sure you hide a couple slices if you have a big tall husband or anyone else who likes to steal 🙂

Grow Your Own Way · Recipes

Garden Tomato Porn

This is all. Just…exist among their beauty.

Oh, you wanted a recipe? I suppose I can accommodate.

Quick Spicy Tomato Sauce

Courtesy of Wishful Chef

This one is so great because it’s fast, simple, and can make use of either fresh or canned tomatoes, making it very verstile for summer or winter. Plus, the sauce goes great in a multitude of dishes.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes (canned or fresh)
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • a splash of cream or half & half


In a pot, combine olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt. Turn the heat on to medium-high and stir ingredients until oil bubbles and garlic turns sweet and becomes slightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes and sugar and simmer for about 3 minutes. Turn heat off and stir in butter and cream. Taste the sauce and add more salt, pepper if needed. Total time: 10 minutes. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
I can’t end the post without shouting out my husband Mark, who actually grew these monsters. I had no part in it whatsoever, not even watering. (Unless you count my grumbling during those late-night “re-staking emergencies” after another heavily-laden stalk had tumbled sideways or otherwise faced certain death had we not intervened). For a novice gardener, he really turned it out this year!