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A few months ago I spotted a bag of Heavenly San Marzano Tomatoes by Village Farms in my local Fresh Market. I was instantly drawn to their vibrant red color and San marzano style. These European mini San Marzano tomatoes are delightfully unique and delicious. They remind of the old world style tomato often used by my old fashioned Italian family. Although the recipe ideas are boundless with these little gems, when I spotted these mini San Marzano tomatoes I knew instantly I would be making our family favorite, Focaccia.
While I grew up with my Mama’s very thick style focaccia bread, this focaccia is inspired by Mama Lina (my sweet mother in law) who could take down any Top Chef with one hand tied behind her back. Mama Lina makes an outstanding thin crusted focaccia with cherry tomatoes. What I’ve learned from both of these amazing cooks about focaccia making is less is more. The simpler the ingredients the better.
This focaccia is topped with these Mini European tomatoes, a pinch of dried oregano (or Italian seasoning mix), sea salt (or other coarse salt), and extra virgin olive oil. Although traditionally focaccia doesn’t have cheese I like to add a touch of grated parmigiano reggiano and towards the final 10 minutes of cooking a small sprinkling of finely shredded Mozzarella cheese.
You CAN make this focaccia and you should! Here’s all you need to do:
Start by taking a 1/2 pound of Villagio Marzano mini tomatoes and slice into 1/8″ rounds. I like to hold the tomato in my hand and slice across the tomato with a pairing knife. You should have about 1 1/4 cups of sliced tomatoes when you’re done. Then add the dried Italian seasonings, salt, and evoo and mix well together. Taste to make sure the flavors are to your liking. Remember the tomatoes will take on a bolder flavor once they are roasted in the oven.
Spray the bottom of the pizza/baking pan with cooking spray. Remove the dough from the packaging and spread it out over the pan. Start by pressing your hand down in the middle and pushing the dough outwards. Continue do this until the dough reaches the edges.
TIPS on handling the dough:
If the dough becomes too elastic, don’t be frustrated and let the dough rest and relax for 15 minutes and then try again.
Don’t worry if the dough opens,simply pinch it back together with your fingers.
It’s ok if the pizza is not perfectly round as long as it is evenly spread. You don’t want any parts of the dough cooking more than others or vice versa.
Once the dough is evenly spread and flat poke holes all around the dough with the tines of a fork. This keeps the dough from rising too much. I like to drizzle a little evoo onto the pizza before adding the tomatoes. Spread the tomato (without the liquid) evenly over the dough. Note: Reserve any excess liquid.
Now with your palms and fingertips gently press the tomatoes into the dough so they sink a bit. Then sprinkle on most of the grated Parmesan cheese (reserve some for the finished focaccia). Place into the preheated oven on the bottom rack for 15 minutes.
TIP: Check the focaccia about 5-7 minutes into the cooking process tos see if any areas of the dough bubble up. If they do, you can quickly remove the pan from the stove and poke them down with a fork. Return to the lower rack of the oven to continue cooking.
After 15 minutes, remove the focaccia from the oven and evenly sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese.
If at any portion of the focaccia seems dry or too crusty spoon over the reserved tomato juice. Rotate the pan and Pop back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes (or so).
If the bottom of the focaccia is getting too crispy move the tray to the top rack of the oven.
Remove from the oven when the top is golden and the cheese has melted into the tomatoes and is no longer visible.
Let the focaccia rest for a bit before cutting into it.
Making focaccia or pizza can sometimes be stressful. I would love to hear your focaccia/pizza tips and ideas in the comments below!
Have a great weekend and Happy Cooking!
Heavenly Villagio Focaccia
1 Package of Bakery Style Pizza Dough
1 1/4 oz cup thinly sliced Heavenly Villagio Marzano Tomatoes aprox. 8whole
1 teaspoon dried italian seasonings or dried oregano
3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of finely grated shredded mozzarella cheese
Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F
Slice 1 1/4 cups of the san marzano mini tomatoes into rounds. Aprox. 1/8" thick.
Add the dried italian seasonings, salt, and evoo and mix well together.
Spray the bottom of the pizza/baking pan with cooking spray. Spread pizza dough out over the pan and poke holes with the tines of a fork. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top of the dough and rub into the dough with your hands.
Add the tomatoes to the dough (without liquid) and gently press them into the dough so they sink a bit. Then sprinkle on 2/3rds of the grated parmesan cheese.
Place pan into preheated oven on the bottom rack for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes remove the focaccia from the oven and evenly sprinkle on the shredded mozzarella cheese. Rotate the pan and Pop back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes (or so).
Remove from the oven when the top is golden and the cheese has melted into the tomatoes and is no longer visible. Let the focaccia rest for a bit before cutting into it.
2. this recipe was tested using a convection oven (oven temperatures may vary)