This is my wife Rebecca's recipe, modified from a Sicilian Deep Dish Eggplant Pizza recipe from Recipezaar (which they pinched from Cooking Light magazine). It's relatively quick and the pizza is delicious. I monkeyed with the dough recipe a bit to soften it up. The first time we made the Recipezaar recipe without the butter and extra olive oil the crust was tough as nails. This crust is more tender and lends itself to less crunch filled dining.
The pizzas are relatively low-fat, and have lots of flavor. It's different from the classic Chicago style deep dish or stuffed pizza, but still passes the credibility test. Don't skip the cornmeal step or you'll never get the pizza out of the pan.
Rebecca's Eggplant, Artichoke Heart, Mushroom and Tomato Deep Dish Pizza
makes two 9" pizzas.
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons or one package dry yeast
1 cup warm water, between 80 and 120 F.
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
large pinch kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
large pinch or two of dried herbs optional
1 tablespoon cornmeal
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water, let stand 5 minutes. If it foams a bit, you've got live yeast, if not, toss it out, go get live yeast and start over.
Add flour. oil, butter, and salt to yeast mix. Stir until dough forms. Gather dough up and turn out onto lightly floured surface.
Knead dough for at least 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Kneading forms gluten, which is the rubber band of the bread world.
Add flour to board and work into dough until dough is not sticky
Spray a big bowl with olive oil or cooking spray, put dough in bowl and cover.
Let rise 1 hour.
Punch dough down, divide in half.
Form ball with half the dough, roll out on flour coated board into 11 inch circle. You're stretching the dough, not mushing it. If you like, pick up the dough and streth the sides lightly to make the circle longer. If you MUST, toss dough in the air while spinning to help circle flatten out and stretch. Try to avoid humming Italian opera arias.
Lightly grease and sprinkle half cornmeal in round 9" cake pan. Place the dough into the cake pan and push down into the pan so the bottom is covered and the dough comes straight up the sides. If you like crispier crusts, spray crust on either side with olive oil spray before putting it in the pans.
Repeat with other half of dough.
Cover and let rise 30 minutes.
1 1/2 cups artichoke hearts or 9 oz. frozen package
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, unseasoned, drained
you can use fresh tomatoes, but blanch the skin off the tomato and dice into 1/2" chunks. Ive also use 2 16 oz. cans. The extra doesn't seem to hurt the flavor.
1 cup sliced mushrooms, or more if desired
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or good Oregano
1 cup minced red onion
salt and pepper
2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded.
Sweat garlic over medium heat in the olive oil.
Add eggplant, cover and sautee 5 minutes
Add artichoke hearts, thaw and heat through.
Add tomatoes, cover and sautee 5 minutes
Salt and pepper to taste. You may add oregano or thyme or basil or other herbs if desired.
Layer 1/4 cup mozzarella on top of pizza crust in each pizza
Spoon half of eggplant, artichoke, and tomato mixture into each pizza crust.
In same pan used before, sautee mushrooms until tender and add half to top of each pizza.
Cover top of pizza with 1 cup cheese each. Add rosemary and Italian seasoning on top of that.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until cheese on top in golden brown.
Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes. Remove from cake pans (they should lift out easily if the crust hasn't hooked over the edge). Cut and serve with wine and salad.
Clearly, you can use this as a base for a lot of different types of pizzas. I recommend putting cheese at the bottom no matter what you do, and seasoning along the way. A little salt in the filling makes a huge difference in the taste.