I’ve obsessed over my appreciation of Italian treats and my burning desire to hop on a flight to Italy and give my taste buds a tour of the country. While I wait on my United Airlines points to accumulate, I try to find ways to treat myself to not-so-authentic experiences that would mimic the joyful dining pleasures that I might get to enjoy when I actually make it to Italy. So I’ve decided to make a Sicilian pizza from scratch. I’ve hunted and hunted and here’s a great looking recipe from Emeril Lagasse that I came across. More than likely, I’ll take elements of his that I like the most and mesh them together with others that I found and then pray for the best outcome!
This first recipe is courtesy of Food Network and Emeril Lagasse:
Place sun-dried tomatoes, the olive oil from their jar, and garlic cloves in a food processor or blender. Process on high, slowly drizzling in extra olive oil if needed to form a thick puree. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss eggplant with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until browned and tender. Cool slightly.
Place baking stone on lowest oven rack and increase temperature to 500 degrees F.
Place one of the oregano pizza dough circles on a baker’s peel or baking sheet sprinkled with 2 tablespoons of cornmeal. Spread about 3/4 cup of the sun-dried tomato pesto on the dough circle, leaving a 3/4-inch border. Place roasted eggplant, artichoke hearts, olives, capers, and feta cheese on top of pesto. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over vegetables. Moisten the edges of the crust with a bit of water, then top with the remaining Oregano Pizza Dough circle, pressing the edges together firmly. Crimp the edges decoratively, if desired. Brush the top crust lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Cut 4 vents in the top of the crust to let the steam escape, or dock with a pastry docker if available. Bake until the bottom crust is browned and the top and edges are golden, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Note: Any remaining sundried tomato pesto may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes a wonderful sandwich spread as well as a nice addition to vinaigrettes.
Oregano Pizza Dough (single recipe):
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Yellow cornmeal, for sprinkling the baking sheet
In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, honey, and 1 tablespoon oil, stirring to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
Stir together the flour and oregano. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour mixture and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until all the flour is incorporated but the dough is still slightly sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.
Oil a large mixing bowl with remaining olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place, free from drafts until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12-inch circle.
Yield: 1 (15-inch) pizza dough