Ricotta/Tomato/Mushroom/Basil and Roasted Eggplant/Olive/Pesto Pizzas

If anyone needed proof that I’m the worst half-hearted sometimes-kind-of-food-blogger (that came out “blooger”? And then “blooder” when I tried to write it just now in quotations?) to roam the blogosphere I think you’re about to get it. Not only do I know about 20% of the actually measurements and procedure, as per usual; the pictures are also from ages ago, as evidenced by them being set in the old house, Ollie’s tiny and adorable size, and Trix’s gorgeous grey ears sticking up in the back of one shot.

Nevertheless, pizza is definitely one of our favorite dishes to splash out on (read: fork over the $5 for a block of cheese) when the mood strikes or we have a guest to impress. Allegedly Wayne’s been in the pizza-making game for years, and I just kind of snuck in on the action when he brought his oven to my apartment in China (my ulterior motive for dating him… muahahaha), where we’d make pizzas with crust made of trash can bread dough. Since then Wayne has perfected a crust that requires no pizza stone, I Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade the hell out of a sauce (that links to a video of what appears to be her after a few too many of her notorious cocktails in full costume[s] during a Halloween special… worth a gander), and  then we throw on a delicious assortment of whatever we have laying around. And often pineapple, which we’ll go out of our way to get, but isn’t actually featured in this post. Um. Let’s roll?

Wayne’s Excellent Pizza Crust

ingredients: flour, sea salt, yeast, olive oil, warm water.

mix together in one bowl: one cup of warm water (warm meaning you can touch it without burning yourself... you don't want to kill your yeast), two tablespoons of olive oil, and one teaspoon of yeast. this should sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. in another bowl mix three cups of flour and two teaspoons of salt.

mix the contents of the two bowls together. though it doesn't look like he did it here, he's recently discovered that gradually adding the flour/salt mixture to the yeast mixture (rather than the other way around) gives a better consistency and easier kneading! knead for 5-10 minutes, until a firm, non-sticky dough has formed.

Optional: Let your dough rest for… as long as you want. I know that’s an annoying remark but it’s really up to you. When we feel like it or we have the time we let it sit for maybe around 20 minutes and it seems to provide a nicer texture, but it’s also nice without resting at all.

divide dough in half.

grab your nearest beer (or wine, depending on how classy you feel) bottle and get to rollin'. flouring your surface and the bottle will come in handy here. try to get to about quarter inch thickness.

as i said, we don't have a pizza stone and the recipe doesn't require one. because of this, to ensure the crust gets and stays crispy, it's necessary to prebake the crusts. 200˚C (392˚F) until they start to brown, monitoring to puncture any air bubbles that might arise, and rotating them as necessary (but you'd have to ask wayne exactly what that means).

Angela’s Sauce
I just realized I don’t have any pictures of my tomato sauce, probably because I knew I’d included its creation in the Mini Pizzas recipe I’d posted a while back. You’ll want to scroll down to “Seventh“, where you’ll find a vague outline of how to prepare it and more references to Sandra Lee and her cocktails. I swear nothing I say is even close to original anymore.

For these pizzas I decided to go a little crazy and attempt some pesto as well. However pine nuts are, as far as I can ascertain, impossible to come by in these parts, so I substituted almonds. I don’t remember being that stoked on how this turned out, and besides, at this point I can’t even venture a guess as to my ingredient proportions, but I think an almondy pesto could potentially turn out really nice if any of you superior chefs out there wanna take it on.

pesto ingredients. and yes, you're seeing that correctly... of all things to carry in a thai supermarket, kraft grated "parmesan". the most expensive cheese they offer! also, in case you were wondering, that is basil from our very own garden, and we have it in SPADES! so spoiled...

Cheese
Call it a slap in the face to my Italian roots, but we almost always top our pizzas with New Zealand cheddar. But we’ve started throwing on some of that Homemade Ricotta when we have some on hand if that counts for anything!

Toppings
In China we used to make monstrosities of pizzas with huge quantities of almost every vegetable you can imagine. I’m not going to say these pizzas were bad; in fact, I don’t ever remember having trouble putting one away. But lately we’ve been thinking simple is better: plain ol’ Margherita– tomato, basil, cheese [I know it’s not really Margherita if it’s not Mozzarella but do you really want me to make the “MargheriTHAI” joke?] with a drizzle of olive oil– is a tried and true favorite. On the occasion at hand we made two varieties: we topped the tomato sauce pizza with ricotta, tomatoes, mushrooms, and basil; and the pesto pizza with cheddar, roasted eggplant, and olives. We enjoyed both but I remember the eggplant one being really salty. Also Thailand has about 16 varieties of eggplant, but the beautiful purple aubergines I’m used to are hard to come by. We went with funky looking green eggplant here.

sliced eggplant and garlic/olive oil/parmesan topping for the roasting process.

ready to roast, again, until they just start to brown.

ready to bake.

aw, look how little and sweet he is. and so naive as to think he'll get a bite of anything if he just sits attentively. okay, maybe that hasn't changed!

bake at 200˚C (392˚F) until the cheese is bubbly, or until you can't wait anymore. in which case you should still wait for it to cool, or you'll have a seared palate. i should know.

pour a glass of your favorite wine, or in our case, a thai wine we thought we might as well give a shot (i don't remember it being... awful?). and yes, mom, drink out of water classes.

topped with a bit of oregano, ready to be consumed.

likewise. so green!

little baby's tired of sitting! he wants some pizza! (and surely won't get any.)

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About Angela

I'm not actually a sleeping monk (though if I had my druthers...).
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One Response to Ricotta/Tomato/Mushroom/Basil and Roasted Eggplant/Olive/Pesto Pizzas

  1. Pingback: This Week in Links: December 16-22 | ollie in america

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