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Pesto Pizza with Aubergine and Goat’s Cheese

If you are not feeling inspired to make your own pizza dough, or are short on time, most supermarkets sell a fine substitute. However, if you are so inclined, you will be supremely rewarded for your endeavors! This dough rolls out easily so that a very thin crust can be achieved. The combination of toppings suggested here is wonderful, but be creative and use what you like. The grill makes it easy and fast!

Pesto Pizza with Aubergine and Goat’s Cheese

½ quantity pizza dough, recipe below
1 small aubergine (eggplant), sliced lengthwise
1 red onion, thickly sliced
2 tbs. olive oil
4 tbs. basil pesto
2 oz. firm goat’s cheese
red chili flakes (optional)
basil leaves, to serve

Toss the vegetables with the oil and some seasoning. Cook on the grill until softened. Remove and set aside.

Roll out the pizza dough on a well-floured cutting board to pizza peel. (The flour will help you get it onto the grill – do not use oil.) Slide the dough onto the grill and cook over medium-low with the top closed for 3-4 minutes. The dough is ready when it puffs up and has brown marks. Turn over and spread the pesto over, then add the grilled vegetables. Dot with pieces of the cheese and sprinkle with chili flakes. Cook a further 3-4 minutes with the top open until the cheese is soft and the vegetables hot. Sprinkle with basil leaves to serve. (Note: a grill pan can be used indoors.)

Basic pizza dough:

17½ oz. “00” flour (finely milled, soft flour) or all-purpose flour (4 cups)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried yeast (not fast-acting)
1¾ cups warm water

It’s easiest to make this in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Put the flour and salt in the work bowl. Combine the water and yeast. Let rest for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. Put the flour and salt into the work bowl, turn on the mixer and pour in the liquid. Keep on medium-high until the dough comes together as a ball. Continue on medium to knead for 5-7 minutes, until the dough is shiny and springs back when you poke it. (If kneading by hand, it will take about 10 minutes. Try not to add too much flour; this is a sticky dough.)

Use oiled hands to remove the dough from the hook and the bowl. Transfer to another oiled bowl and turn the dough over. Cover with plastic wrap and then a tea towel. Leave to rest in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size. If it is a hot, dry day, this will take about 2 hours, but it could take as many as 4 hours on a cold, damp day. (If you are not planning to use it right away, put it in the fridge, then take it our 3-4 hours before using.) Punch down the dough and roll it out on a floured surface.


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