Recreate the feel and flavor of a cheesy pizza through the smooth, creamy puree of eggplant, olive oil and garlic! While you don't have to give up cheese and go meatless to make your diet a healthy and climate-friendly one, just forgo beef and dairy once in a while – like on meatless Mondays! - to do something good for the environment. To celebrate its seventh annual Low Carbon Diet Day last week, chefs at food services company and sustainability pioneer Bon Appetit Management Company created this recipe that is not only delicious and easy to make, but earth-friendly as well.
Creamy Garlic Eggplant, Roasted Mushrooms, and Arugula Pizza
Courtesy of Jim Dodge, Bon Appétit Management Company Director of Specialty Culinary Programs
Creamy Garlic Eggplant Puree (Yields 1-1/2 cups)
1 pound eggplant (globe type)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves with peel, wrapped in foil
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F degrees. Slash the eggplant in several places so it won't explode while it bakes. Place on a pan, along with foil-wrapped garlic. Remove the garlic after 30 minutes. Continue baking the eggplant until it has collapsed and is soft, about another 10 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes.
Discard any bitter juices that may collect. Remove and discard the peels of the eggplant and roasted garlic. Chop both and place into a food processor with blade attachment. Add oil, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth. If needed, scrape down sides of the bowl for even blending. Store covered and refrigerated until ready to use. Can be stored up to 3 days or frozen for 4 weeks.
Pizza dough for two 10-inch pizzas
1 cup warm water (105 - 115°F)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading and dredging
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
Measure warm water with a warmed measuring cup. (Warming the measuring cup helps to maintain the temperature of the water.) Whisk together the water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand in a warm spot until mixture develops a creamy foam, about 10 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
Stir together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir until smooth. Then stir in another 1/2 cup allpurpose flour. If dough sticks to your fingers, stir in just enough flour to make dough come away from side of bowl. (This dough may be wetter than other pizza doughs you have made.)
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface with floured hands, lightly reflouring the dough and your hands when dough becomes too sticky, until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes. Divide dough in half and form into two balls. Generously dust with flour and put each ball in a medium bowl (or refrigerate or freeze one).
Cover bowls with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Whole-wheat dough for one 10-inch pizza
1-2 tablespoons cornmeal
3/4 cup creamy garlic eggplant puree (see recipe above)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, chopped
1/2 cup arugula leaves, gently pressed down
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat pizza stone on the lowest rack of oven to 500°F.
Roll the dough into a 10-inch circle, keeping the counter and dough dusted with flour. Lightly sprinkle the center of a pizza peel with cornmeal and center dough on peel. Gently shake the peel to ensure the dough does not stick to the peel.
Lightly brush the outer 1-inch edge of dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread a thin layer of eggplant puree on the dough, leaving the 1-inch space around the edge. Distribute mushrooms and peppers evenly on top. Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes or until lightly risen. Slide pizza onto the center of the hot stone. Close oven door immediately to avoid losing oven heat.
Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until crust looks toasty and the edge begins to brown. Rotate if needed for even cooking and coloring. When browned, remove from oven, add the arugula evenly on top while still hot, and lightly drizzle with additional olive oil before serving.
Photograph by Bart Nagel Photography