Roasted Eggplant Pizza with Fontina, Ricotta Salata and Olives
This homemade pizza is straight out of Italy!
Prep Time: 30minutes
Cook Time: 1hour30minutes
Rising time: 1hour
Servings: 6to 9 servings (each pizza serves 2-3 as an entree).
The dough (makes enough dough for three 10-12" pizza crusts)
1package active dry yeast(about 2 1/4 teaspoon)
1 1/2cupswarm water
2tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2teaspoonssea salt
1/2cupwhole wheat bread flour
2 1/2 to 3cups"type 00" pizzeria flour (or white bread flour)
The eggplant (makes enough for 3 pizzas)
2large globe eggplants, about 2 pounds (or 2 pounds of japanese eggplants)
The tomato sauce (makes about 2 cups, enough for 3 large pizzas)
1medium, yellow onion, diced
1-2chiles de arbol, crumbled (or 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes)
2large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2teaspoonsalt, or to taste
2poundsfleshy tomatoes, chopped(preferably romas, san marzanos or dry-farmed early girls)
Additional toppings (per pizza):
olive oil, for brushing the dough
1/2cuptomato sauce (above)
2ouncesricotta salata, crumbled
10castelvetrano olives, pitted and halved
a few large basil leaves
Make the dough:
Place the water in the bowl of a stand mixer, and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let sit 5-10 minutes to dissolve, then add the oil, salt, whole wheat flour, and 1 1/2 cups of the 00 flour. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment, and mix on low speed for 5 minutes to make a wet dough, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add 1 more cup of 00 flour. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and knead for 7 minutes, adding more flour by the tablespoon until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. After 7 minutes, the dough should feel smooth and soft, and slightly sticky, but not too wet.
Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl or container, and cover tightly with plastic wrap or a lid. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled or tripled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Roast the eggplant:
Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 400º.
If using globe eggplants, slice them into 3/4" thick rounds. (If the eggplants aren't garden fresh, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt and leave to sweat out the bitterness for 1/2 an hour, then blot dry, and don't add any salt in the next step.) If using Japanese eggplants, slice them 1/2" thick on the diagonal (no sweating necessary).
Place the olive oil in a small bowl, then pass the garlic through a press and into the bowl.
Lightly oil two rimmed baking sheets. Lay the eggplant slices on the sheets in a single layer, then brush both sides with the garlic oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
Bake the eggplant until very soft and golden, 15-20 minutes for Japanese, and a bit longer for globe. Let cool, then cut into strips or quarters.
Make the sauce:
Heat the oil in a wide skillet over a medium flame. Add the onion and chile and saute until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for another minute, then add the salt and tomatoes. Cook the sauce, stirring frequently, for about 15 - 20 minutes, until thick and broken down, adjusting the heat as needed to minimize splatters. Let the sauce cool a bit, then work it through a food mill to separate out the tomato seeds and skin.
Assemble and bake the pizzas:
Position a rack in the bottom of the oven, and remove any other racks from the oven. If you have a baking stone, place it on the rack. (Lacking a stone, form the pizza directly onto a parchment-lined sheet pan in the following steps.) Preheat the oven to 500º for at least 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into three balls, and keep the other two covered while you work with the first. On a lightly floured surface, tuck the edges of the dough under itself to make a loose ball, then flatten the dough into a disc. Gently press, pull and stretch the dough into a 10-12" round; if it is very springy, let it rest for a few minutes to relax the glutens.
Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper set on a pizza peel (or large cutting board). Trim the edges of the parchment so they stick out 1" on all sides. Brush the dough all over with olive oil. Slip the dough, parchment and all, onto the heated stone and bake for 3 minutes.
Use a pair of tongs to pull the pizza and parchment out of the oven and onto the peel.Squish any giant bubbles, and spread the crust with 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce, leaving a 1/4" border on all sides. Evenly distribute the toppings in the following order: mozzarella, ricotta salata, fontina, eggplant, olives.
Return the pizza to the oven, without the parchment this time, and bake until the cheese is melted and the sides and bottom of the crust are golden brown, 10 - 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven and onto a large cutting board.
Sliver the basil and sprinkle it over the pizza. Cut the pizza into 6-8 wedges and serve.
Repeat with the remaining 2 pizzas.
The dough is adapted from The Cheese Board Collective Works.The dough recipe makes enough for three large pizzas; extra dough can be stored in an oiled, airtight container (that is a few times the size of the dough to allow for expansion) in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.Bring the dough to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.Since pizza dough is generally fairly wet, it is best kneaded in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. If you must knead it by hand, add as little flour as possible to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the kneading surface.Make sure to use dense-fleshed tomatoes, such as romas, san marzanos or dry-farmed early girls, for the most voluptuous, flavorful sauce. A food mill is a handy way to puree the sauce, while removing the seeds and skins. Lacking one, you can peel and seed your tomatoes tomatoes like so: cut an X in the bottom of each tomato, dunk them, one by one, into boiling water for about 30 seconds until the skin looks loose, then plunge each into an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Peel the skin off each tomato. Cut the tomatoes in half, and squeeze the seeds into strainer set over a bowl to save the juices (add those to the sauce with the tomatoes).If you don't have the time to make tomato sauce, add a handful of halved cherry tomatoes to the pizza instead, and skip the step of par-baking the crust.Nutritional values are based on one of six servings.