Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pizza! Pizza!

No, it's not Little Caesar's. It's Deep-dish Eggplant Pizza.
What? - you say? Eggplant and pizza? I found this recipe in my Cooking Light Cookbook and was intrigued. Not only does it ask you to make the dough, with yeast, but it also had eggplant on it. Eggplant is in season currently and while I'm not in love with the vegetable, I hardly use it, so I wanted to add more of it into my diet. Variety is your body's friend!

So how beneficial is eggplant? This magnificently beautiful vegetable is full of minerals and vitamins, but most importantly it has phytonutrients. Many phytonutrients have antioxidant activity and eggplant contains one main one - nasunin. Nasusin has been shown to protect our cells from damage, more specifically our brain cells. It has more detail to it than that, but I don't want to destroy your brain cells by describing it. ; ) Eggplant has also been shown to lower blood cholesterol. So tell me, why aren't you eating eggplant?

Try it and try this pizza - it was good!! And don't let making pizza dough scary - it was easy.

Sicilian Deep-Dish Eggplant Pizza

1 Tbsp. sugar
1 pkg. dry yeast (~2 ½ teaspoons)
1 c. warm water (~105˚ to 115˚)
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour

½ c. yellow or white cornmeal

1/4 Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Cooking spray

1 Tbsp. cornmeal
4 c. diced peeled eggplant
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. dried italian seasoning
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. canned quartered artichoke -hearts; drained
1 c. cubed tomato; 1/2 inch cubes; seeded
1 c. minced red onion
2 Tbsp. capers
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
--or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tsp. fennel seeds; crushed
4 garlic cloves; minced
2 c. shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (8 oz.)

1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water in a bowl; let stand 5 minutes.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a
knife. Place flour, cornmeal and salt in a food processor. Pulse twice. While the food processor is on, slowly add the yeast mixture and oil. Continue to process until the mixture forms a ball. Continue to process for 1 minute.

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and
elastic (about 5 minutes).

3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat
top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85˚), free from drafts, 45 minutes or
until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down; divide dough in half. Place
dough in 2 (9-inch) cake pans coated with cooking spray and each sprinkled
with 1 1/2 teaspoons cornmeal; press dough up sides of pan. Cover dough,
and let rise 20 minutes or until puffy.

4. Preheat oven to 375˚F.

5. Combine eggplant, 2 tablespoons oil, Italian seasoning, and 3/4 teaspoon
salt in a bowl. Place eggplant mixture on a jellyroll pan, spreading
evenly. Bake at 375˚ for 25 minutes or until tender. Increase oven temperature to

6. Combine artichokes and next 6 ingredients (artichokes through garlic) in
a bowl. Divide eggplant mixture and artichoke mixture evenly between the
pizza crusts, and top each with 1 cup cheese. Bake at 400˚F for 30 minutes
or until the crusts are lightly browned. Cut each pizza into 4 slices.

Yield: 2 pizzas, 8 servings (serving size: 1 slice).