Ratatouille Pizza

Pizza dough:
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or 1/3 ounce compressed yeast
pinch of sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds eggplant
18 ounces young zucchini
3 bell peppers (any color of choice)
1 onion
3 tomatoes
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
4 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon hot chili pepper
4 garlic cloves
olive oil to cook

Prepare the pizza dough: This process may be done by hand or with a mixer and a dough hook. Crumble the yeast with a pinch of sugar, into a bowl containing 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Mix and leave to ferment for 10 minutes. Sift together the flour, salt, and sugar onto a clean work surface and make a well. Pour the dissolved yeast into the well with the water and oil. Mix the dough with your fingers, gradually drawing in all the flour - adding more flour if the mixture becomes too sticky. Knead the dough by pressing it firmly with the palms of your hand, pushing it away from you, and then gathering it back into a ball. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and set aside to rise, for approximately 45-60 minutes, until it doubles in volume.

Prepare the ratatouille: Dice the eggplants, zucchini, peppers and onion into cubes, 1 1/2 cm x 1 1/2 cm/ 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch. Pour the olive oil into a frying pan and gently sauté each vegetable separately over medium heat, until tender but not soft. Only the eggplant should be cooked until soft. In a saucepan boil water and blanch the tomatoes. Peel, seed and coarsely chop the tomatoes. Peel and chop the garlic cloves.

Combine the vegetables with the herbs, spices and chopped garlic.

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C/ 410 degrees F.

Flour a baking sheet. Knead the dough to extract any air, and shape it into a ball. Flour the work surface. Using both a rolling pin and your hands, flatten the dough into a circle, 3-4 mm/ 1/4 inch thick.

(Slap, pull and roll it against the work surface). Place the dough on the floured baking sheet. Press the edges of the dough to form a shallow rim around the edge of the circle. Spread the ratatouille over the dough. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pizza crust is golden brown.

Serves: 8

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