I will forever remember the summer of 2008 as the Summer of Stovetop Cooking.

My parents’ oven had broken sometime around Christmas. Which we realized when we pulled out the five trays of lasagna after an hour of “cooking”. Only to find really crisp noodles and thoroughly unmelted cheese. The standing rib roast that was sitting on the counter, waiting to be roasted to the consistency of shoe leather (according to my parents’ predilections) didn’t stand a chance. (Black and blue beef it was! Although I think I was the only one who was happy about that.)

We got through Christmas (thanks to one of my aunts, who lives across the street) and I went back to school. Totally carefree. Absolutely positive that it would be fixed by the time I returned.

A few months passed. I came home for spring break. Still no working oven. (Breathe, Jo. Breathe. It’s only two weeks. You. Can. Do. This.)

Hold on. I need to take a moment. Thinking about this still makes me tachycardic.

Okay. Much better. Let’s go on.

A few more months passed. I came home for summer vacation. Still no working oven. (I can’t imagine what was being cooked during all this time. Since I use my oven at least once a week. I’m thinking they must have been relying on take-out and fried chicken cutlets. It’s amazing they came out of this with their cholesterol levels intact.)

And this was where the shit hit the fan. Because maybe they could live without an oven for six months. But there was no way that I could do without one for three.

So I hemmed. And hawed. Cajoled. Prodded. Poked.

And around August. They finally caved.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I stood in the doorway. Seeing my parents off as they headed over to Sears. (Don’t they grow up so fast?) With a consumer’s guide in one hand. And a pizza pan in the other.

Oh yes. You read right. They chose their new oven. Not based on color. Or functionality. Or reputation. But based on whether or not it would hold a 14 inch pizza. (I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in that store. As they tried to shove the pan into every model and make on display. The salesclerks must have had a field day.)

The oven they ended up with may not have quite fit into the space that they intended for it. (Installing it was a total nightmare. I absented myself that evening. For the better. Sorry Daniel.) And it’s always fifty degrees too cold. But it can cook pizza. Which is what’s really important, right?

Irregardless of how much I chide my parents for their adoration of this delicacy. Pizza holds a pretty high place in my regard as well. (I’m pretty sure there’s a gene that controls this. And I have it. Probably multiple copies of it. In spades.) So when I was googling around trying to decide on what to make for the first Bittman-based IHCC. And stumbled upon this Plum Tomato Tart with Pesto. I knew I had to make it. As a pizza.

This recipe is a winner for many reasons. First. It uses up one of the ten containers of frozen pesto sitting in your fridge from last summer. A definite plus. Second. Bittman has you slow roast the tomatoes and garlic. Which is lovely. Absolutely lovely. Third. It’s covered in parmesan cheese. Need I say more?

Oven-Roasted Plum Tomato Pizza with Pesto
Serves 3 as a main dish, 10-12 as an appetizer, adapted from Bittman’s How To Cook Everything

12 plum tomatoes (I used 8 larger tomatoes)
6 garlic cloves
1 recipe for pizza dough (I used this one but with roasted-garlic olive oil instead of extra virgin)
1/2 cup pesto
mass amounts of parmesan cheese

1. To peel the tomatoes, remove the core, cut a shallow β€œX” on the other side, and drop them in boiling water for about 30 seconds. The peel should come right off. Slice them in half through the equator and squeeze out the juice and seeds. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil, and put the tomatoes cut-side down on the sheet. Sprinkle them with salt and a bit more oil, include the garlic, and roast at 200ΒΊF for four to six hours, until they are shriveled.

2. Roll out the dough to a 12″ round and lay it on a pizza pan. Preheat the oven to 450. Spread the pesto on the dough and top it with the tomatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Add the garlic. Sprinkle on the cheese, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the crust is well browned.

This recipe has been yeastspotted! And is my submission to this week’s IHCC. And to Meatless Mondays!

Remember to enter the caption contest that I am hosting over at MarxFoods for your chance to win a fantastic prize!

And to send in your recipes for Regional Recipes: Haiti!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
Share →

84 Responses to Bites of Bittman – Oven-Roasted Plum Tomato Tart Pizza with Pesto

  1. shaz says:

    Wow, I can’t even imagine a week without an oven! Alhtough I do think it makes perfect sense to check if the pizza pan fits in an oven first :). I think the “liking-pizza” gene must be pretty universal. This pizza looks fab.

    Btw, thanks for visiting my blog.

  2. monicajane says:

    woman, I think you should drop out of med school and start making this your living.


    I’m not too active these days in the cooking blog department! I do look at all your posts…you inspire me.

    I still cook, just not posting.

  3. I love what u did to the tomatoes, something i do to ”sun dry” them….
    and this sure is a fantastic MB recipe u have , the chicken i jus posted is also a MB recipe and he sure rocks…
    well i say now i couldn live w/o an oven ,but in school i did have a break inbetween coz my oven refused to work:-))))
    and couldn be fixed and i loved it coz mom had gifted the whole cooking range to me ,my 2nd one ….
    Oh u dont need to say more…this is bookmarked babes!!!

  4. Kim says:

    I’m dying in laughter about your parents taking a 14″ pizza pan along with them while shopping for an oven:D That is a very cute story!

    I’m so glad that you joined us for Bittman. I feel like I’ve been obsessed with his recipes lately and this pizza is a perfect example of why. Simple, delicious, gorgeous food!!

  5. wow joanne your blog outlook is so beautiful…and pesto pizza looks yummy as well, very colourful

  6. girlichef says:

    Hey Joanne! Let me begin by saying…I LOVE the new look of your blog (new to me…not sure when you switched over)…it’s so clean, clear and cheerful!!! And yeah, Bittman. This fabulous pizza is just another reason to add to my list of why I adore him! Funny that you don’t realize sometimes how much you’d miss common, everyday items until you’re faced with the possibility!

  7. Chris says:

    Your writing style never fails to crack me up. There are always one or two “Joanne-isms” that put a smile on my face.

    Me, I could probably get by a few weeks without an oven but I’ll be damned if anyone is taking my grills πŸ˜‰

  8. Kris says:

    This looks fabulous and so does your new layout by the way!

  9. Foodycat says:

    Months without an oven? How could they do that? I think buying an oven based on the size of your pizza pan is very sensible! But then, I once had to take a leg of pork back to the butcher and wait while he cut 2 inches off the end because I couldn’t fit it in the oven!

  10. Simona says:

    Nice new layout! What can I say? The mere thought of surviving without my oven for more than a day or two sends a shiver down my spine. I have never used pesto on pizza. How did you know I have frozen pesto from last summer? I definitely go on pesto-making and freezing mode when basil is available and usually still have some by this time of the year.

  11. Katerina says:

    I love pizza, I love basil pesto and I love baked tomatoes. I wish I had a bite.

  12. PJ says:

    aha.. i have been meaning to try this Bittman recipe for a while! the book is great, isn’t it. Looks delicious with plum tomatoes and pesto.

  13. sra says:

    This looks delicious – and you have 10 containers of pesto frozen from last year? Wow! I try not to hoard, fail miserably, but can’t remember ever having so much. πŸ™‚

    I like the pix.

  14. Wooow,,joanne new template new recipe superb rocking dear,,,read ur post funny incident happened with pizza ur parents taken with them… Pesto sauce always superb taste i like the the sauce for pastas,,here for pizza sure it works good with pesto sauce n tomatoes sounds great you have used it in different way,,,thats good dear..

  15. ruchikacooks says:

    Looks delicious Jo, the tomato click is just so vibrant..

    Got the email with your entry for MLLA. Will be back soon to write a proper comment for the contest..Kinda expecting guests for lunch..

  16. Debbi Smith says:

    Your parents sound like a hoot! I love that they brought the pizza pan. I plan to bring a loaf of frozen french bread when we go microwave shopping. I always nuke it first to get the inside melted before sticking it in the oven to crisp up. I want a smaller microwave but I totally need to nuke my bread!

    The pizza looks delicious. The rest of my crazy family would NOT call this pizza but maybe I’ll make it for myself. I KNOW I would love it!!

  17. Poor you. But I guess the new Oven and goodies that came out of it was well worth the wait.Awesome looking Pizza. I want a wedge of that!

  18. Michelle says:

    Yummy looking pizza. During our construction I had no oven for about 1 1/2 yrs. But it is surprising how you can work around the no oven problems and how many recipes can be adapted easily to stove top or hotplate in my case!

  19. Dear Joanne,
    Thank you for stopping by my blog to check out the Turkish feast. I love the new look of your blog, very soothing colors which helps to highlight your beautiful photos!! Man, that pizza looks good! ~LeslieMichele

  20. Barbara says:

    I would be nuts without an oven for even a week!! However, when I was remodeling, I lived with a microwave and a toaster oven for 3 months. But at least I had an oven, of sorts. Certainly not large enough for your mom’s pizza pan!

    I love slow roasted tomatoes; have an Ina Garten recipe for them which I love. I usually make a salad with them, but I can see how great they’d be on a pizza! They have so much flavor.

  21. natalia says:

    Ciao ! I love your pizza and smiled about the oven choosing !!! Baci

  22. Pam says:

    How’d you know I have frozen pesto from last summer still in my freezer!

  23. It’s great that your parents had their priorities straight

  24. Pam says:

    Loved your post and so glad you survived the oven ordeal..he he! and that pizza looks delish!


  25. Faith says:

    What a funny story! I can just picture your parents at Sears with the pizza pan in hand. πŸ™‚ Once my mom’s basil plant starts going crazy I’m making pesto…and making this pizza!

  26. hmmm that’s strange. TRY again, i was fixing it coz it had a mental breakdown (lost my title)


    well, i’ll go update my post to say what’s up- but here’ sthe low down:
    i showed D the pic of B on facebook…and D goes..eh. EH. (makes a like ehhhhh kinda face) me: what’s that supposed to mean? D: he SHOULD BE HANGING HERE WITH YOU BUT HE”S NOT!
    then he started asking how much weight B can pull or lift..and iw as like, I HAVE NO IDEA i’ve never seen him xfit! D: well, he looks kinda puny. LOL!

  27. Chef Aimee says:

    Joanne, looks like you have a greater pizza than Grimaldi’s or Di Faro’s combined! Bravo!

  28. Mari says:

    OMG I worked at the Sears near your parent’s house when I was in highschool…I would have LOVED to be the associate helping them pick out a stove based on a pizza pan size HA

  29. love the way your parents choose appliances!!

    great pizza lets call it Joanne’s Masterpiece!!

  30. How DID THEY survive that long without an oven? They must of been missing their homemade pizza like crazy. Reminded me of my parents – they make pizza at least once a week.

    I had to read the recipe twice where it said roast tomatoes for 4-6 hours. I can imagine the rich flavor they added. Love that you turned a tart into a pizza!

  31. jacqui says:

    Your story about your parents oven is hilarious! I don’t think I could ever get by without my oven for even a week! I love slow roasted tomatoes, mmm. Perfect pizza toppings!

  32. Lori says:


    My husband would like pizza every week (homemade)- he could not live without it. I try not to make it too often because he always overindulges with it.

    I am so impressed about your fifty pound weight loss and of course about going to medical school as well. Both very difficult. Keep plugging away!

  33. elra says:

    Roasted plum tomato for pizza, love that idea Joanne, especially combine with pesto. That adds a “wow” factor to it.

  34. you really should be a chef joanne-you always have such wonderful recipes!

  35. Lynn says:

    Mmmm, I’m smelling your pizza from here. And I want some πŸ˜‰

  36. Debinhawaii says:

    Great story–although how they lasted so long I will never know. πŸ˜‰

    This recipe looks awesome–love the slow roasted garlic and tomatoes. I am so happy to have you cooking along with Bittman and us! πŸ˜‰

  37. Bonnie says:

    I’ve got the Pesto…in the freezer. Got the roasted tomatoes in the freezer. Need some pizza dough and I’m going to try this recipe. It lookes great.

  38. theUngourmet says:

    I would just DIE without my oven! What a great looking pizza. I would just DIE without pizza as well! πŸ˜‰

  39. sophia says:

    Pizza and pasta. I think of you each time I see them. lol.

    I ADORE Mark bittman. Until he got all health-promoty. But I still love the way he cooks…and minimal instructions, mostly fresh ingredients, simple flavors, and quite a fair amount of improvisation!

  40. Sophie says:

    I also love Mark’s recipes! I also have his 2001 recipes of his vegetarian cookbook! The vegetarian’s bible!

    I think he rocks!! This pizza looks just wonderful! Yummm,…!!!

  41. Graziana says:

    wow, I love the new graphics of your blog!

  42. katiez says:

    Don’t be so silly….. That’s the ONLY way to buy an oven! Yes, one does get strange looks, and the sales staff does snicker, but, really, what’s more important? The ovens here in Europe are tiny. The only way I could do a 20 pound turkey would be to cut it up in tiny pieces and stuff it into the oven, without benefit of shelf or pan. Knowing this, I did not take my biggest baking sheet, but the biggest one I thought would work. There was only one oven it fit in, and then, not on the rack but in place of the rack, sideways…..
    In the past year I have spent time without my oven followed by time without my cook top – creative cuisine!

  43. this pizza looks delicious! I want you to come over and make it for me for lunch? πŸ™‚
    is that too much to ask?!?!
    also, love love oven roasted tomatoes!

  44. Jennifer says:

    This looks SOOO wonderful! Loving the roasted tomatoes!

  45. Splendid idea to roast the tomatoes and add pesto and like you so judiciously decided add “massive” amounts of parmesan!
    Yum! Beats pizza from Dominos 1000 times!

  46. This sounds amazing with roasted plum tomatoes and pesto on the pizza dough – totally yummy!

  47. Dana says:

    Your pizza looks terrific! I have one of those fancy schmancy ovens – it’s actually two ovens, one small and one large. The small one cooks 25 degrees cool and the large one cooks 50 degrees hot. I have gotten used to it, but it drives me nuts!

  48. Maria says:

    Oh my! How delicious!

  49. Pam says:

    Too funny! I can not imagine being without an oven for that long and bet it was a hoot when your parents went oven shopping. They sound like my kind of people! Your pizza looks and sounds fantastic! Just wish I had a slice now!

  50. Pam says:

    You are such a great writer – you had my laughing through this post. The pizza looks stunning – I’d have a hard time sharing it.

  51. Mary says:

    You had me from the get-go with this one. The pie looks delicious and I know I’d relish it as much as I do your stories. Have a great day. Mary

  52. teresa says:

    that is hilarious! but as funny as it is, i could see myself being concerned with the same thing! what good is an oven if it won’t fit your pizza! this looks absolutely deliciuos too!

  53. Bob says:

    I had to go without a functional oven for a couple weeks a few years ago. It was a nightmare!

    Love the look of the pizza, I think I got some of that gene too. Heh.

  54. sweetlife says:

    omh how funny…love it…what agreat pizza..pizza hold a special place in my heart too…oh my slow roasted tomatoes how yum


  55. Gulmohar says:

    yup,parents grow up fast. I realize it on every birthday of my kids..lol…
    this looks awesome..

  56. Juliana says:

    Joanne, what a nice pizza…roasted plum tomatoes…and love the garlic on it…lots of them πŸ™‚

  57. RV says:

    This looks fabulous Joanne. In India we never used oven, all our cooking was done on stove top. But recently I got hooked to the oven and I am using it pretty often. If I go back to India, sure I am buying a oven

  58. lisa says:

    I couldn’t live without an oven for even one day! Great looking pizza. Oven roasted tomatoes sound fantastic!

  59. Shannon says:

    a new oven that runs 50deg cold? hmm… at least it makes pizza, indeed. i couldn’t live without my oven!!!

  60. Martha says:

    I so have that gene too! In fact I’m probably just about at that age where I might take my pizza pan with me.

    One of my dreams in life is to have a kitchen with a real pizza oven, preferable in my second kitchen. That would be my outdoor kitchen located by the pool and then there are the cabana boys, the frozen drinks with the little umbrellas… oops, kind of getting off the subject here aren’t I?

    Your pizza looks awesome! πŸ™‚

  61. My mom and I just had a conversation about all the delicious ways you can enjoy roasted tomatoes — like this stellar dish!

  62. dessert girl says:

    Oh, I love Mark Bittman! I’m currently making my way through Kitchen Express. Fast and easy, you can beat that! I’ll have to try this pizza, too!

  63. Katy ~ says:

    I am bedazzled by the looks of your blog. Wow!

    And double wow on the pizza. Oh my stars, I can only imagine how wonderful the flavors are together. Big YUMS up.

    I think your parents are adorable; too cute taking the pizza pan with them. Love it.

  64. Erica says:

    Pizza, pesto and roasted tomatoes!!!!Wow! I am drooling here…..I love that pizza!

  65. Oh whoa!!! this is so interesting! you should just go ahead and call it a tart, because it does look like a sweet fruit tart!

  66. polwig says:

    I am drulling all over my computer… that is not good.. for the computer that is


  67. Nicole, RD says:

    I agree with the above poster…are you sure medicine is your calling? This looks amazing! Gives me tachycardia just dreaming about!

  68. http://veryculinary.com/_blog/ says:

    You make it sound like basing an oven purchase on whether or not it would hold a 14 inch pizza is wrong πŸ˜‰

    Did I already mention I love the new look of the blog. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

    Oh, and I voted for your morel recipe. Damn, that looked good.

  69. Azita says:

    great recipe! pizza looks so delicious! funny story!

  70. I think that was smart to take a pizza pan to go shopping for a new oven. I love fresh tomatoes on pizza, this looks awesome!

  71. Andreas says:

    Nice pizza.

    When I was a kid, the toaster at my parents’ place broke. After several weeks, my dad took me to an electrical appliances store, and we came back with … a microwave.

  72. msmeanie says:

    Hey! How’d you know about the frozen pesto in my fridge? Great looking pizza – love the idea of roasting the tomatoes. Pizza is definitely highly regarded in my house as well.

  73. Cynthia says:


  74. Katy says:

    oh wow, that looks fantastic! it doesn’t get much better than homemade pizza. πŸ™‚

  75. This pizza looks sensational. I love roasted tomatoes. And pesto. And parmesan. A combo like that – it’s a sure winner.

    I would need to cook my pizza bases (and I often do this) stove-top on my griddle pan, because … yes, you guessed it, I am actually without an oven. So I really loved your story.

    In actual fact, and I won’t go into the long story of why, I have been without a proper oven for 2-1/2 years now (yes, that’s right). It used to drive me insane, and of course there are things that I just can’t make, but I’ve become surprisingly creative even though I long for the time when I have a proper oven again. For now I get by with one of those small toaster ovens, a single hotplate, an electric grill (like a George Foreman), and a crockpot. Sometimes I amaze even myself at what I can produce with just those things – I’m pretty much an expert now at “one-pan” dinners!! πŸ™‚

  76. Kerstin says:

    I can’t imagine not having a working oven! I wish I had a few slices of your pizza right now – pesto and tomatoes are just so perfect together.

  77. I don’t know how I missed so many of your delicious recipes Joanne.If I promise to visit more often will you give me a slice of your strawberry bread:D

  78. Deeba PAB says:

    Love the way you write, and love the post! YUM!!

  79. Jeanne says:

    I definitely have the pizza gene as well! This looks amazing. Pesto on pizza is one of my favorite toppings!

  80. I wouldn’t part with homemade pizza either. This one looks like a gem!

  81. Shirley says:

    You should have joined us at the pizza party!

  82. Marisa says:

    Hahaha – that’s crazy. Wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall of that shop.

    Can’t even imagine living without an oven for 6 months. Sheeesh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *