The Internet got me last week. That son of a gun got me. It's all too much. Too much inspiration, too much information, to much to live up to. I know you've been there - searching blogs, clicking from one amazing link to another, pinning all the things, saving all the posts, all the recipes, all the home ideas, all the wedding ideas (you aren't getting married), all the things.
And then I worry. Am I contributing to the clutter? Or is this what the world is now? Is the clutter a good thing? Does this wealth of information make us better or confuse us more? Are we able to truly be ourselves if we are constantly wrapped up in other peoples' victories?
Honestly, I don't know. What I do know is that I am really trying to do here is empower you to cook with real, seasonal, fresh ingredients and to let them shine. I'm trying to empower you to feel like you absolutely can cook, you can eat healthy, despite your busy life. I want you to be able to learn something and make small changes towards a bigger goal. I want you to feel empowered to forget all the clutter and find the good things. I hope I can be a good thing in your life.
I know this pizza will be a good thing in your life. I went easy on the eggplant, but you can load it up as much as you want. If you make your pizza dough ahead of time, this will take you no longer than 30 minutes to prepare. If you have to make it on the fly, it's still only an hour project. The pride you will feel when you take a hot and bubbly homemade pizza out of the oven will be so grand, I promise you.
Eggplant Parmesan Pizza
makes 1 12-inch pizza
For the crust: (feel free to pick up pizza dough from a local pizzeria or Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. honey
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (feel free to use some whole wheat or experiment with gluten-free flours)
1 tsp. kosher salt
olive oil, for coating the bowl
Combine yeast, honey and water (warm, NOT hot) in a large bowl. Let sit for a few minutes, then add the flour first, then salt. Stir with a rubber spatula to combine into a shaggy dough. Remove to a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough comes together in a nice smooth ball. You may need to add more flour if it feels wet or up to a Tablespoon more water if it feels too dry. Drizzle the bowl with olive oil (no need to clean it out) add the dough, turning to coat. Place a clean kitchen towel directly over the dough and let rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes (the time it will take to preheat your oven).
For the sauce: (this will be more sauce than you need for 1 pizza.. use the rest for pastas, roasted veggies or more pizzas)
1 28 oz. can whole or crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
pinch red pepper flakes
kosher salt & pepper, to taste
Combine ingredients and blend until smooth (I use my immersion blender).
For the Eggplant Parm Pizza:
pizza dough (recipe above)
sauce (recipe above)
1 small eggplant, thinly sliced (more if you want to load it on)
1/4 - 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded (depends how much cheese you like)
8 basil leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade)
Preheat your oven to 500F. If using a pizza stone, place in lower rack while preheating. Best to preheat your oven for about 30 minutes so the stone gets nice and hot. If not using a stone, lightly oil a baking sheet. (This is when you will start making your pizza dough) Once your oven is preheated and your ingredients are prepped, it's time to assemble. If using a pizza paddle and stone, liberally flour the paddle and begin to spread your dough on the paddle. (Some people use a rolling pin, but I find my hands to be my best tools for this) If using a baking sheet, spread the dough on the baking sheet. Place a few spoonfuls of sauce on the dough and spread all the way to the edges. Next, sprinkle with cheese (I prefer to go light on cheese so as not to weigh down the pizza). Then place your eggplant in whatever form you want. Now it's time to bake. If using a pizza stone, make sure that your pizza will slide. Lift the edges gently and add more flour underneath if necessary. Open your oven and pull the rack with the pizza stone out a bit. To get the pizza from the paddle to the stone, you have to give it a shake back and forth a few times. Don't be afraid.. it's okay if the pizza doesn't get on there perfectly, it will still taste great. If you are using a baking sheet, place it in the oven. Bake pizza for about 10 minutes, checking at 5. Top with fresh basil and enjoy!