Saturday, October 20, 2007

Autumn Pizza with Eggplant, Leeks, and Oyster Mushrooms

As you can see by our posted weekly menus, we make pizza quite often. I found a favorite pizza dough, which I will post here. I used to cook the pizza on a pizza stone by dividing the dough to make two smaller, round pizzas, but I found that I actually prefer how the dough tastes when cooking it as one large pizza on an oiled cookie sheet. It cuts the time in half, and the dough gets a different, crispy sheen on the bottom from the cookie sheet (non-stick).

I vary the toppings depending on what I have on hand. Here, we had leftover leeks and eggplants and 3 bunches of fresh oyster mushrooms, the fruits of Autumn. I used the homemade marinara from earlier this week, which I had frozen to keep fresh and thawed for use. Drizzling the top of the pizza with a little olive oil, Parmesan, and oregano makes all the finishing difference.

Autumn Pizza

Autumn Pizza
Serves 4

Pizza Dough (for 2 small pizzas or one large pizza)
1 package yeast (2 /14 teaspoons)
1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/3 cup white flour
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour (a special kind of wheat, white wheat, makes a lighter flour than red wheat and is fantastic for breads)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Autumn Toppings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small Chinese eggplant, chopped
1 leek, halved and sliced
3 bunches oyster mushrooms chopped
1 cup homemade marinara sauce
2 cups 5 cheeses mix (Parmesan, Asiago, Provolone, Mozzarella, Romano)

For the dough, activate the yeast by combining the yeast with the water in a large bowl for 5 minutes. Add the flours, oil, and salt, and knead and slap down on a wooden cutting board for 10 minutes until light and elastic. Place back in the bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise for 1 hour.

In the meantime, heat oil in a non-stick skillet and saute leeks until tender. Add eggplant and mushrooms and a sprinkling of oregano and cook until the eggplant have turned brown and the mushrooms have released their water. Turn off heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. When dough is ready, punch down and spread with fingers on a lightly oiled 9 by 13 inch cookie sheet so that the edges have more dough to hold in the sauce. Spread the marinara sauce evenly over the dough and top with sauteed vegetables. Top with cheeses, more oregano and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

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