When I turn the corner from the train on my walk home, I pass by an Italian restaurant with its windows open allowing guests to enjoy the summer air. The scent of garlic and tomatoes teases me as I picture what I am about to make for dinner. The other night a couple sharing a thin crust pizza caught my eye. A craving for a Neapolitan-style pie hit me in an instant. No dough was waiting at home and making a batch would take far too long for that evening’s meal. Then a quick pizza I ate as a kid on days that were packed with after school activities came to mind.
French bread pizza was an entrée from the frozen food aisle simply removed from its plastic sleeve and baked in the toaster oven. I had no intentions of running to the grocery to pick-up this readymade concoction. Instead I made a detour to the neighborhood market that had everything I needed. Wanting to take advantage of the phenomenal artisanal cheese selection, I made a four-cheese French bread pizza. This grown-up version made for a satisfying and fast dinner ready in 30 minutes, and it brought back fond memories of busy childhood days.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1-14.5 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 baguette, ends trimmed, cut in half and sliced lengthwise
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, roughly torn
4 ounces Taleggio cheese, grated
1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with foil.
For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in large skillet until it is shimmering. Sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes and then add the garlic. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and simmer for 10-12 minutes until the sauce has thickened. As the sauce is cooking, break up the tomatoes using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher.
To assemble the pizzas, place the baguette pieces on the prepared sheet pan cut side up. Spread with tomato sauce and top with mozzarella, Taleggio cheese, goat cheese and Parmesan.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cheese has fully melted. Serve immediately.