Less assertive and more nuanced than red pepper flakes, Aleppo pepper makes a terrific pizza seasoning—a little spicy and a little fruity to complement the tangy sauce and rich cheese. Look for Aleppo pepper at spice stores, gourmet grocers, or Middle Eastern markets. A sprinkle of kalamata olives adds briny flavor and a touch of umami.
How to Make It
Place a pizza stone or baking sheet on center rack in oven; preheat oven to 450°F. (Leave stone in to preheat.)
Pour tomatoes into a colander set over a large bowl; squeeze and break into chunks. Reserve liquid for another use. Stir together tomato chunks, salt, 1/4 cup basil, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper in a bowl.
Sprinkle cornmeal on a piece of parchment paper. Roll pizza dough on cornmeal into a 14- x 8-inch rectangle or a 12-inch circle. Spread tomato mixture over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with cheese balls and olives. Leaving pizza on parchment paper, place onto hot pizza stone. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes or until crust is done and cheese is bubbly. Brush edges of crust with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil.
Sprinkle with remaining basil and remaining Aleppo pepper. Cut into 8 slices.