Summertime ‘Pizza al Forno’ – no oven necessary

The harvest is in! Jersey tomatoes are ripening all at once and we are going to have to find ways to use all of them. I don’t have enough tomatoes to can, but I certainly have enough ripe tomatoes to make fresh pizza sauce. Of course that means I will have to make my own dough as well. The end result is well worth all the effort, the crispy ‘wood-fired’ flavor is very similar to pizza made in Italy. Best of all, this pizza bakes outside in your backyard barbecue, so you are left with minimal cleanup and a cool kitchen.

After traveling to all regions in Italy, I noticed that not all freshly made pizza had cheese on it. Many small stores prepared pizza using flavorful sauce and herbs without cheese and sold it at room temperature as a sort of to-go quick pizza. For this reason, we have grown to prefer pizza without cheese. If you leave off the meat toppings, this recipe is completely vegan.




Summertime Pizza al Forno - no oven necessary

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

Take a break from your kitchen and bake a pizza that rivals Italian cuisine, right outside in your backyard barbecue.

recipe by Gourmetmarichef


easy homemade pizza sauce
  • 1 dozen very ripe garden tomatoes
  • ½ medium onion chopped finely
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • a handful of fresh basil, salt, pepper, and oregano to taste
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil


  1. Give the tomatoes a 1-2 minute ‘bath’ in a pot of boiling water.
  2. Remove them from the  boiling water to cool, then peel, core, and remove the seeds. 
  3. Place the onion, garlic and oil in a pot and saute until transparent.
  4. Gently add the cored and cleaned tomatoes to the pot with the herbs and sugar, and simmer on low/medium heat for 2 hours until thickened. Remove from heat.
  5. Place the sauce in a blender to purèe, or if you prefer bits of tomato in your sauce,  purèe ¾ of the sauce and leave some chunky.
  6. Store in the refrigerator for 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.


homemade pizza dough (for 2 pizzas) 
  • 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 1/3 c. warm water (105°)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 ½ c. all-purpose flour, more for dusting surfaces.



  1. Proof the yeast by gently whisking the yeast and sugar into the warm water, covering the bowl, and letting it stand for 10 minutes to form a foam on top.
  2. While the yeast is proofing, finely chop some veggies (peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, etc.) or pepperoni, sausage, or chicken as toppings on your pizza and place on the side. You can add roasted veggies, arugula, or pesto after it is finished cooking if you prefer.
  3. Add in the oil to the yeast, then with a wooden spoon, begin gently stirring in the flour and salt. 
  4. When the dough is too heavy to mix by spoon, turn it out to a floured surface and kneed for 5 minutes until smooth and pliable.
  5. Place a bit of oil on the bottom of a bowl, coating all the sides of the dough, and allow the dough to rise for 1-2 hours at (warmish) room temperature.
  6. Punch down the dough, turn out to a floured surface, and divide the dough into two dough balls. Cover, and let the dough rise while you warm up the grill.
  7. Lightly oil a griddle or large cast iron pan, placing on the grill.
  8. Warm the grill on high to a temperature of 475°, keep a thermometer inside the grill for reference. 
  9. Pat out one of the dough balls to whatever shape your pizza pan is.
  10. Generously dust cornmeal and flour on a pizza peel, and place the dough on it.
  11. Add on toppings of your choice; tomato sauce, sausage, pepperoni, chopped veggies, cheese, fresh basil, oregano. Bring the prepared pizza out to the grill, and shake the pizza off the peel and onto the grill pan.
  12. Bake on the heated griddle for 7-10 minutes, only lift the lid a few inches to check the pizza so the heat doesn’t escape.
  13. The pizza is done when the bottom is crispy and the top is bubbly.







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