As the rest of the girls have recently commented, it has been a busy spring. We’ve been spoiled here along Florida’s NW Panhandle with unseasonably cool temperatures and low humidity – I think this is the latest I’ve turned on the air conditioning in years!! So, any free time I’ve had not dedicated to work and school deadlines has been spent outside trying to mitigate several years of benign neglect to my landscaping, especially in the backyard. It is looking good enough that I wouldn’t be embarrassed if unexpected company stopped by, so now that the house is shut up and the air is back on, I’m chained to my desk in front of the computer!
I got the original recipe for this dish out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine, probably about 15 years ago; and with a couple of minor modifications, it has been a friends and family summer favorite ever since. It is best with fresh ingredients, so if you don’t have a garden in your backyard or in pots on the deck/patio, head down to your local farmers market to pick up ingredients. We love the Palafox Farmers Market here in Pensacola! In fact, one of my basil plants came from a vendor there last year. It barely survived the winter in a kitchen garden window, but a few days ago I got enough leaves off of it to make this tasty dish. So let the official summer cooking season begin …
1 pie crust (you can use homemade, frozen, or refrigerated—which is always my first choice)
1 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3-4 tomatoes (I like Romas)
Left: cherry tomato from my garden. Right: Roma tomato I had to buy in order to make this recipe!
1 ½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
¼ cup Parmesan cheese (if you don’t use freshly grated, please at least buy the grated in the refrigerator section – do not use the powdered stuff off the supermarket shelves!)
½ cup mayonnaise (do not use Miracle Whip!)
1/8 tsp. pepper
Bake the pie crust according to directions. Remove from oven. Sprinkle bottom with ½ cup of the grated mozzarella. Cool completely.
Cut tomatoes into thin slices; drain on paper towels.
Arrange slices in layers on top of melted mozzarella (usually go 2-3 layers, depending on how thin I’ve sliced the tomatoes). In a small bowl, combine basil and garlic with remaining mozzarella, mayonnaise, Parmesan, and pepper. Mix well.
Spread evenly over the top of the tomato slices. Note: I like to let a little glimpse of the tomatoes peek out so I don’t completely cover!
Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes, until top is golden brown. Let set for 10-15 minutes before cutting into wedges.
Serve with a green salad and you’ve got a refreshing summer meal for brunch, lunch or dinner! Enjoy!
- 1 pie crust
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 3-4 Roma tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- Bake the pie crust according to directions, remove from oven and sprinkle bottom with ½ cup of the grated mozzarella. Cool completely.
- Cut tomatoes into thin slices; drain on paper towels.
- Arrange 2-3 slices in layers on top of melted mozzarella
- In a small bowl, combine basil and garlic with remaining mozzarella, mayonnaise, Parmesan, and pepper. Mix well.
- Spread cheese mixture evenly over the top of the tomato slices.
- Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes, until top is golden brown. Let set for 10-15 minutes before cutting into wedges.
- Serve with a green salad and you’ve got a refreshing summer meal for brunch, lunch or dinner!