Thursday, August 11, 2011

Here's Another Idea! Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Pizza (with Garlic and Basil, Because It's a Pizza)

Here's what it looks like before it's baked, when the basil looks green and inviting instead of dark and withered. (My cookie sheet is loaded with cornmeal because it's my pizza peel; it works like a charm, thank you for asking.)

Anyway, prepare your favorite pizza dough crust. I use this one, because a thin crust couldn't handle the boatload of toppings. This time, as I often do, I substituted whole wheat for half of the flour.

Now, you should also prepare your favorite pizza sauce. Do you want my recipe that's not a recipe and that changes according to my mood or the weather? Here you go.

1 quart of home-canned tomatoes, drained
1 small can of tomato paste
a healthy splash or two of white cooking wine
1-2 tsp. salt
2-4 tsp. sugar
a whole mess of freshly minced garlic (and I do mean a WHOLE MESS-- usually at least 1/2 a head of garlic)
depending on the pizza, I add one or more of the following, to taste
red pepper flakes
whatever fresh or dried herbs I desire (basil, rosemary, oregano, parsley, etc.)

The End.

Oh, wait. I was showing you a pizza with toppings, wasn't I?


So now you should have your favorite dough prepared and your favorite pizza sauce prepared. On to the toppings:

-Roast about 2 red peppers, then remove the ribs, seeds, and skin, before cutting into strips. (I broil mine to roast them. If you've got a gas oven, you can roast them directly over the flames. If you've never done this, please google a real cook who isn't too lazy to give you a tutorial in pictures.)

-Cut an eggplant into slices, about 1/4-inch thick.
Toss the slices in a bowl with some drizzles of olive oil, and then roast in your oven until soft and nicely browned, about 15 minutes, turning once (I quickly broil mine to cut down on time spent.)

-In a pan over medium-low heat, pour a few tablespoons olive oil, a few cloves freshly minced garlic, and a few shakes of red pepper flakes, if desired. Warm until heated through and set aside.

Okay. Shape your pizza dough, top with red sauce, sprinkle with mozzerella cheese (and parmesan cheese, if desired), and then layer on the eggplant slices. Layer the roasted red pepper strips on top of the eggplant, and then drizzle the olive oil/garlic/red pepper (if desired) mixture on top. Place 10-12 fresh, torn basil leaves on top and slide off of your cornmeal-dusted fake pizza peel onto a five-dollar pizza stone (it works like a charm; thank you for asking). Bake in a preheated 500-degree oven for as long as it takes. If you've made pizza before, bake according to your oven's quirks, taking into account the fact that this is a thickly loaded pizza. I have a quirky oven and hesitate to give baking times, for fear that I'll ruin the meal for people with normal ovens.


The End. For Real This Time.

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