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Eggplant and Ricotta Pizza

This recipe combines a ricotta-parmesan cheese mixture, roasted eggplant, loads of fresh basil, sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella to make a deliciously rich, meatless pizza.

Eggplant and Ricotta Pizza

Eggplant and Ricotta Pizza

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chiffonade of fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb pizza dough (enough to make a 14-inch pizza - see below)
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 6 to 8 large basil leaves

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick slices and arrange them in a single layer on the prepared sheet. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and just starting to brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Combine the ricotta cheese, garlic, basil and parmesan in a small bowl and set aside.

Roll and/or stretch the pizza dough to fit a pizza pan or baking sheet. Brush lightly with oil, then cover with slices of roasted eggplant. Spread the ricotta mixture over the eggplant, then add a layer of tomatoes. Next add the basil leaves, then scatter the mozzarella cubes on top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the mozzarella is melted and bubbly.

Makes 4 servings

White-Wheat Pizza Dough

This is a hand-kneaded dough that uses rapid/quick rise yeast. We like it because you don't need special equipment and it requires no extended rising times.

The recipe makes enough dough for two thin-crust, 12-inch pizzas or one thick-crust, 14-inch pizza.

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 to 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 envelope fast-rising yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water (125°F to 130°F)
  • Cornmeal

Preparation:
Combine the whole wheat flour, 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and warm water and stir to combine. Add enough extra all-purpose flour to form a soft dough (1/2 cup is usually enough).

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 6 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, cover loosely and let rest for 10 minutes.

For thin-crust pizzas:
Divide the dough in half and flatten into 2 disks. Roll and stretch to fit pizza pans that have been lightly oiled and sprinkled with cornmeal.

Pre-bake the crust for 5 minutes at 425°F. Remove from the oven, add the desired toppings, and continue baking until the edges of the crust are toasted and the cheese is melted and bubbly, 8 to 12 minutes.

For a thick-crust pizza:
Flatten the dough into a disk, then roll and stretch to fit a pizza pan that's been lightly oiled and sprinkled with cornmeal.

Once the crust is positioned on the pan, cover loosely and allow to rise for 10 minutes, then pre-bake for 5 minutes at 425°F. Remove from the oven, add the desired toppings and continue baking until the crust is crisped on both the bottom and edges, and the cheese is melted and bubbly, 12 to 20 minutes.

Note: Remember that baking times will vary depending on your particular oven, the material of your pizza pan and the toppings used. Be flexible and experiment a little to find the times that work best for you.

Make ahead tip: This dough can be made ahead, wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to one day if desired. Remove from the refrigerator for 10 minutes before rolling.

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