Ratatouille Pizza anyone!?

Thursday, I skipped gym and rushed home on the 5:00pm train. The plan was to get to the ratatouille before Komal did (ha!) and test my idea of using it as a topping for a pizza. I imagined a thin, crunchy crust loaded with salty capers, sliced garlic, red onions, cheese, and of course, the ratatouille.

I used Joanne Weir’s recipe for the pizza dough. I started with some expired yeast (two days past due) and created a sponge using white whole wheat flour instead of the all-purpose called for in her recipe. Unbeknownst to me, I was out of all-purpose flour. Fortunately, the white whole wheat worked just fine. The dough rested for 2 hours.

I punched the now double in size dough and divided it in two equal parts. One went in the freezer for later use and the other got stretched into an 11 inch thin pizza. I brushed it with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled some sea salt, red pepper flakes, and strategically placed thinly sliced garlic so that each bite would have a piece or two in it. Next came the ratatouille, mozzarella, Feta (komal’s idea), and red onions.

The loaded pizza went in a preheated 550 F oven for 10-12 minutes. Since I don’t own a pizza stone I cooked the pizza directly on the lowest oven rack for the last 2 minutes in an effort to achieve a crispy crust.

The experiment was a success. Taste testers, Komal and Neel, gave a thumbs up to the flavor medley. However, I felt that the crispiness wasn’t up to my imagined standards. Much like soup and stew, the ratatouille had time to sit and get better with time. When baked again on a pizza, the flavors were further concentrated adding a great twist compared to the usual grilled vegetables.

I resisted using all of the ratatouille for the pizza. There is still some left for me to try a chickpea tahini dip. More to come.

One pizza can easily serve two if paired with a salad. We ate ours with a sampling of cheeses and sliced pears, in addition to a Greek salad. The meal was finished with a home made Greek honey almond pastry.

Wier Dough for Pizza

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water (110ºF)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water (110ºF)
1/2 teaspoon salt

To make a sponge, combine 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, yeast and 1/4 cup of the flour in a large bowl. Let stand for 20 minutes until it bubbles up. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 to 3/4 cup lukewarm water and salt. Stir together with a wooden spoon to mix the dough thoroughly. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is soft yet still very moist. Oil a bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it over to coat it with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap tightly and a towel and put in a warm place, at least 70º to 75ºF. Let it rise for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

Makes 2 10 to 11-inch pizzas

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Chika Gujarathi is a freelance writer and a mother of three from Raleigh, NC. She writes for national and local publications about lifestyle, travel, books, and of course, motherhood! Her most current project involves illustrating and publishing a children’s Hindi book. When not adventuring with her family in the minivan, you can find her riding the streets of Raleigh on her beloved bike Linus.

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