Hamburger and Grape Tomato Pizza

If you can round up some frozen or refrigerated pizza dough, here’s a perfect weeknight recipe – Hamburger and Grape Tomato Pizza from the May 2008 issue of Everyday Food. I really enjoy good old-fashioned pizza, but we don’t eat it very often… I haven’t purchased a frozen pizza since we moved to Dallas, and I think the last time I ordered a pizza was to feed the friends who helped us move in June of 2006. I like this recipe because it’s quick and easy, but it still lets me feel like I “made” dinner.

To make the pizza, I started by rubbing a rimless baking sheet with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. (You can turn a rimmed one upside down if that’s all you have.) I unrolled a package (13.8 ounces) of Pillsbury pizza crust onto the baking sheet and stretched it into a 12 x 14-inch rectangle. (The recipe suggests a pound of dough stretched to an 11 x 15-inch rectangle, but I worked with what I had.)

I spread 3/4 cup of marinara sauce over the top of the crust, leaving a 1-inch border all around. I topped the sauce with 1 cup of grated provolone, 1 cup of halved grape tomatoes, and half of a medium red onion (thinly sliced); I also scattered 1/4 pound of ground beef chuck over the top of the pizza. I seasoned the pizza with salt and pepper and baked it at 450F until the crust was golden, the beef was cooked, and the cheese was melted (17 minutes).

Hamburger and Grape Tomato Pizza

I cut the pizza into 8 slices to serve it.

Hamburger and Grape Tomato Pizza

Dr. O and I enjoyed this one. I especially liked the grape tomatoes. I wish I could find a more authentic pizza crust (crust tends to make or break the pizza for me), but the refrigerated Pillsbury crust was the only thing available at Kroger. I’ll definitely be checking around Central Market during my next trip.

TIPS: The first time I made pizza at home with the Pillsbury crust, I formed my dough into a ball and tried to roll it into the shape I wanted rather than just unrolling the dough and stretching it slightly. BIG MISTAKE. I about drove myself crazy. If I ever find a frozen ball of pizza dough I *will* roll it out with a rolling pin and give it my best shot, but dough can get pretty elastic and difficult to work with. Unrolling is definitely the way to go if you’re using canned refrigerated dough.

A few users on Everyday Food’s Web site have expressed concern about scattering raw meat over the top of the pizza. I didn’t have any trouble and mine was most definitely cooked through; just make sure you’re scattering small crumbles of meat instead of large pieces. If you’re still concerned, you could always pre-cook the meat before topping the pizza.

Recipe link: Hamburger and Grape Tomato Pizza

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