My sweet grandmother (or Nonna Rosa) taught me some invaluable lessons about cooking at home and at the top of her list of practical cooking advice is the seminal claim: learn to love your toaster oven. Yes, the often misunderstood kitchen appliance confined to summer cabins and the senior citizen set was the kitchen tool of choice for Nonna. Why (?); well a toaster oven heats up fast, broils wonderfully, bakes efficiently, re-heats properly (as opposed to a microwave), and thaws well.
Nonna Rossa made swordfish, thinly cut steaks, roasted potatoes, and focaccia pizza in her tiny toaster oven and when I moved into my first apartment the appliance was at the top of my shopping list, along with other essential kitchen tools.
We turned to our trusty toaster oven last night to satisfy our pizza cravings which was fueled by a quick stop at our local market to pick up a can of San Marzano tomatoes (we didn’t want to use our canned passato for pizza sauce), a pound of fresh whole milk mozzarella, and some local focaccia (you can make your own). Our focaccia pizza was crispy, satisfying, and incredibly quick to put together.
- 3-4 pieces of 8 inch Focaccia bread (homemade or store bought); cut in half
- 1 jar of peeled San Marzano tomatoes, cooked quickly with salt, pepper, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil (see our pizza sauce recipe)
- ½ pound of fresh, whole milk, mozzarella (sliced thinly)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Cut the focaccia in half; you're looking for slices that are about ½ inch thick. Drizzle each slices with extra virgin olive oil and toast for 3-5 minutes (you're looking to achieve a bit of color and "firm up" the bread to house the cheese and tomato sauce).
- Remove from the bread from the toaster oven and add a few tablespoons of tomato sauce to each piece of focaccia. Place 3-4 slices of mozzarella on each slice of focaccia. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil on each slice (adding a bit of salt if your cheese isn't salted) and toast for 4-6 minutes; being careful to monitor the pizza closely (you're simply looking to melt the cheese).