It may seem like a waste to take juicy, perfectly ripe sweet strawberries and roast them, but I promise you, the result is worth it. In fact, you can even use those less-than-perfect strawberries and roasting them will turn them into something sweet and special. Syrupy balsamic vinegar and strawberries is a classic combination. When the strawberries are roasted, their sweetness is even more enhanced and the vinegar brightens it all up.
These roasted strawberries could really be put to use on anything- served atop crostini with ricotta or brie or goat's milk cheese, swirled into yogurt, or mixed with whipped cream or coconut whipped cream. These strawberries spooned over a scoop of vanilla ice cream even sounds dreamy right now. This recipe was loosely inspired by Heidi Swanson's Roasted Strawberry recipe in her book, Super Natural Every Day. Heidi uses a hefty dose of maple syrup and some port wine to flavor her strawberries, but I enjoy the combination of honey and strawberries here.
I took the savory route and tossed them atop a simple white pizza with fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and toasted pine nuts. Think of these strawberries replacing the tomatoes on a margarita pizza. The burst of sweetness you get with them combined with the salty cheese is addicting. I use a favorite crust of mine that I make at home, but your favorite pizza dough should work. I combine whole wheat flour, semolina flour, and cornmeal with water, yeast, honey, olive oil and salt in the food processor, blitz until a dough ball forms and allow the dough to rise before dividing it into smaller pieces. I am hoping to share that recipe on the blog soon, but in the meanwhile, just use your favorite pizza crust.
Balsamic Roasted Strawberry and Mozzarella Pizza
Balsamic Roasted Strawberries
8 ounces strawberries, washed and hulled and halved (quartered if large strawberries)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey, preferably local
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon good quality balsamic vinegar
8 ounces (1/2 pound) of your favorite pizza dough
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn roughly into pieces
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup roughly torn fresh basil leaves
salt and black pepper, to taste
Prepare roasted strawberries. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the strawberries with the olive oil, honey, and salt. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 40 minutes or until soft and the liquid is bubbling around them. Remove from the oven, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and toss to combine. Set aside.
Prepare the pizza. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven on the bottom rack as the oven heats. Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with cornmeal or flour and place dough in the center. Roll the dough out to about 1 centimeter thick, adding more cornmeal or flour to prevent the dough from sticking.
Drizzle the crust with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons Parmigiano-reggiano. Scatter fresh mozzarella over top, and sprinkle with roasted strawberries, drizzling pizza with any remaining syrup that has collected in the pan of strawberries. Place the pizza in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until crust is crispy and cheese is bubbly and just beginning to turn golden in spots. Remove from oven, sprinkle with pine nuts, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy! Makes 1 pizza or enough to serve 2-4 people.