Nectarine Pizza with Basil & Reduced Balsamic

"Nectarines???" "Nectarines on a pizza???" If only ya'll could have heard The Husband.  When I told him what I was making for dinner last week, his response was one of complete skepticism to say the least.  You'd think he'd be used to my "unique" pizza topping choices (think Sweet Potato, Balsamic Onion & Salami) and trust me, but in his mind there was no way this was going to be good.

Fast forward a week. Now, we've had this pizza twice in less than 1 week. That should say it all.

The Husband admits he was wrong to judge this one too quick :) (he says he thought nectarines were like apples and that they'd remain hard and crunchy with the quick cooking time). 

This recipe which I adapted a bit from Alexandra's Kitchen is absolutely delicious. One of my new favorite pizzas by far.  The nectarines almost melt away, imparting their sweetness which is delicious paired with that peppery bite that you get from basil.  The reduced balsamic adds sweetness and tang that complements everything completely.

A few notes:
- Alexandra's recipe says that you can use different cheeses - mozzarella, goat cheese, marscapone, ricotta, etc.  The only cheese other than mozzarella that I would use for this would be goat cheese.  Even then, I think I would still only use a little goat cheese and some mozzarella as well.
- Do not peel the nectarines.
- I used white flesh nectarines because those were the only kind I could find.  I would however, suggest using regular nectarines if you can find them for the beautiful color pop you will get.
- Don't skip drizzling the top of the pizza with olive oil and the sprinkling of coarse sea salt.  The sea salt is a great textural element and really helps to bring out the sweetness of the nectarines.  The olive oil causes some of the cheese to become slightly brown and delicious.

Nectarine Pizza with Basil & Reduced Balsamic

1-2 fresh nectarines (thinly sliced, but not paper thin)
fresh basil, sliced into thin strips
reduced balsamic vinegar*
12 - 14 ounces fresh mozzarella
1 lb pizza dough
shavings of fresh Parmigianno Reggiano
olive oil
garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes, fresh cracked pepper, sea salt to taste

*Reduced balsamic:
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Place balsamic in a small saut√© pan. Turn heat to medium high. Let simmer until reduced and noticeably thick — watch it like a hawk. If it burns, it’s ruined. There’s no salvaging burnt balsamic. Err on the side of under reduced. It reduces more than you expect as it’s cooling. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Form dough into whatever shape you prefer for your pizza. Bake crust in the preheated oven for a few minutes to firm up. I like to use a pizza stone and place the dough directly on the stone. If you don't have a pizza stone, scatter cornmeal on the bottom of a sheet pan and shape dough to that form.

After baking the crust for about 5 minutes, remove from oven.  I used a brush to lightly coat the crust with olive oil. If you do not have a brush, drizzle with olive oil then use the back of a spoon to distribute evenly.

Then sprinkle the olive oil coated crust with garlic powder, sea salt, crushed red pepper flakes and fresh cracked black pepper. This is up to you as far as amounts go - completely a preference thing.
Cover the dough with mozzarella.

Layer the sliced nectarines on top of the cheese.

Sprinkle the fruit layer with fresh Parmigiano Reggiano shavings.

Very lightly drizzle the pizza with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Place pizza in the and bake for about 10 minutes or until the crust is slightly brown and the cheese has melted to your liking.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh basil.

Drizzle with the reduced balsamic. Slice and serve.