Pizza Night

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I L-O-V-E pizza. Seriously. I can eat it every day and not get sick of it. Heck, I can eat it three times a day and not get sick of it. And I don’t discriminate – I’ll eat everything – from a pie made with fresh dough, homemade sauce and gourmet cheeses to a pita bread topped with jarred sauce and pre-shredded cheese. So is it any wonder that I was really looking forward to dinner tonight?

I don’t usually make pizza on a weeknight unless I am using a premade crust. However, I made the dough yesterday and kept it in the fridge until late this afternoon. So all I had to do was prepare the toppings, roll out the dough, and bake.

The first pizza I’ve made before and it is wonderful – sweet onions, salty olive, gooey cheese. A really great combination.


Pizza with Mozzarella, Onions and Olives
The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, Jack Bishop

1/2 recipe Basic Pizza Dough (recipe at bottom of post)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
12 large black olives, pitted and chopped (I used kalamata olives
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
Cornmeal for sprinkling

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

Prepare the dough through step 2 of the dough recipe. If using a baking stone, place it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Do not let it brown. Remove from the heat. Stir in the olives and oregano.

Sprinkle a pizza peel or a large rimless baking sheet with cornmeal and stretch the dough into a 12-inch circle as directed in the dough recipe. Evenly distribute the onion mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.

If using a stone, slide the pizza from the peel or baking sheet onto the preheated stone. Otherwise, place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the crust starts to brown and the cheese turns golden brown in spots, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the oven. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

The second pizza was really good, too. The creamy ricotta tasted of garlic and basil, and went really well with the flavor of the eggplant.


Pizza with Eggplant, Ricotta and Basil
The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, Jack Bishop

1/2 recipe Basic Pizza Dough (recipe at bottom of post)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 medium eggplant (about 3/4 pound)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
Cornmeal for sprinkling

Prepare the dough through step 2 of the dough recipe.

If your ricotta had a lot of liquid, drain in a sieve lined with paper towels for an hour.

Preheat the broiler. Trim the ends of the eggplant and cut it lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick-slices. Brush the eggplant with the oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Broil, turning once, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

If using a baking stone, place it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Combine the ricotta and Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the garlic, basil and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.

Sprinkle a pizza peel or large rimless baking sheet with cornmeal and stretch the dough into a 12-inch circle as directed in the dough recipe. Spread the ricotta mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge.

If using a stone, slide the pizza from the peel onto the preheated stone. Otherwise, place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 8 minutes. Quickly lay the eggplant slices in a circle on top of the cheese, overlapping them somewhat in a flowerlike design. Continue baking until the crust starts to brown in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the oven. Cool for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the cheese to solidify. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

I love that this dough can be made in the food processor (I’m only giving the directions to make it in the food processor):

Basic Pizza Dough
The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, Jack Bishop

1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (1/2 envelope)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Cornmeal for sprinkling

Pour the water into the workbowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. add the yeast and oil and process for several seconds until smooth. Add the flour and salt and process until the dough comes together in a ball, about 30 seconds.

Turn the dough into a lightly oiled large bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until the dough is puffy and has almost doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Divide the dough in half and place each half in a separate lightly oiled medium bowl. Let rise, covered, for 20 minutes. (The dough can be refrigerated in separate airtight containers overnight or frozen for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before rolling out.)

Lightly sprinkle a pizza peel or large rimless baking sheet with cornmeal. Flatten 1 dough ball into an 8-inch disk. Pat the disk several times to level out the dough. Slowly rotate the disk, stretching the dough to the side as you turn it. Thin the edge by flattening and stretching it with your fingertips. The circle of dough should have a diameter of about 12 inches.

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