If it were up to my fiancé, the only appetizer that would be served in our apartment would be Bagel Bites. That's not what these are, but I'll tell you — he declared that these are better. Maybe it's because the hard, flavorless mini bagels are replaced with extra-buttery, flaky puff pastry squares, which are topped with juicy fresh tomatoes and melted fresh mozzarella. They're dinner party-worthy mini pizzas, which means they can (and should) be enjoyed with friends and some wine.
Pre-Dinner Pizza, Thanks to Puff Pastry
These two-bite tarts are inspired by classic margarita pizza and come together easily with the help of store-bought puff pastry. While store-bought pizza dough could also get the job done, I love how the light, flaky puff pastry upgrades the tarts and makes them feel worthy of a cocktail. Fresh tomatoes and mozzarella keep that trend going, as does a garnish of chopped fresh basil on each tart.
Make It a Party! What Wine to Drink
These are "party" pizza tarts, which means they deserve a drink alongside them that's festive. My choice is bubbly Lambrusco.
3 Great Bottles of Lambrusco Under $15
Why Lambrusco Pairs Well
Lambrusco is an Italian sparkling red wine that's light, fruity, and served chilled. While some bottles can be sweet, most that you can buy these days are dry to off-dry. The fruit-forward red wine is a good match with the sweet, cooked tomatoes, and its effervescence keeps the buttery pastry and milky cheese from weighing you down.
How to Throw a $20 Cocktail Party
There's nothing better than a fun and festive cocktail party with your friends — but hosting one definitely doesn't need to put a big dent in your wallet. This week, we're showing off six appetizer recipes and the budget-friendly wines that pair best with them to inspire you to throw an "Appy Hour" any night of the week.
Tiny Party Pizza Tarts
frozen puff pastry (from one 1.25-pound box that contains 2 sheets), thawed but still cold
All-purpose flour, for the work surface
fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
Flaky sea salt or kosher salt
chopped fresh basil leaves
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Unfold the puff pastry onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the pastry into 16 squares.
Place the squares on the baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Divide the tomatoes and mozzarella cubes evenly among the squares, piling them in the center of each square. Drizzle each square with 1/8 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Bake until the edges of each tartlet are golden-brown and the cheese is melted and bubbling, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer the tartlets to cooling racks and cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle each tartlet with the chopped basil and serve.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.