A sunny day – Mini pizza with red bell pepper pesto, grilled eggplants, artichokes and feta
Una giornata soleggiata – Pizzette con pesto di peperoni, melanzane grigliate, carciofi e feta
If life leaves you pizza dough, make more pizza!!
I love mini sizes portions, and bites, I think there is some cuteness in the size of a small bite, you don’t have to cut it, destroy it in from of your eyes before it reaches your mouth. It fits there perfectly.
As far as pizza and coffee are concerned, I tend to be a real snob and compare all pizza to pizza in Italy, after all they invented it, so throughout the centuries, they have mastered the art of pizza making. There are a few good pizzeria in San Francisco where the pizza is close to Italian pizza (France has awful pizza, I remember a pizzeria in Nancy where I grew up called La Mamma, where they served pizza with gruyère cheese, that was terrible). I have no idea if the greatness of Italian pizza has to do with the brick oven where it’s cooked, with the natural flavor of the ingredients that is different, but it’s something hard to describe, the dough is thin and crunchy, there is little cheese and the cheese melts to perfection and does not hardens that quickly.
I am not going to discuss the perfect dough texture, or flavor, nor give the description of the perfect thread of melting mozzarella, (maybe if I was Balzac I could)! because I don’t think I have enough English vocabulary but it’s something you have to experience for yourself. I was thinking to build a brick oven in the garden mainly to cook pizza, but unfortunately the size of the garden will not allow it.
I think we all have our particularities in the way we approach certain traditions and traditional dishes.
We all have our favorite pizza, it can be deep dish, thin crust, with one or two toppings, etc…and that’s the way it should be. Eat pizza the way we like it.
These mini pizza are not what you would find in a traditional pizzeria in Italy even though last time I was there, I was invited by the family to try a pizzeria that had dessert pizza on their menu, such as orange pizza, chocolate and nut pizza, etc…and were surprisingly enough, really delicious.
These mini pizza combine the flavors of Mediterranean countries, and are delightful. The beauty of small bites is that you eat one or two and you feel satisfied, when you have a whole pizza in front of you, you feel somehow “obliged” to finish it (I do).
Ingredientsfor one large pizza or 4 small
For pizza dough
- 1/2 lb (or 250 g) flour
- about 5 fl oz (or 150 ml) lukewarm water
- about 0.4 oz (or 12 g) compressed yeast dissolved in the water
- 1.5 tbs olive oil
For the topping
- red pepper pesto – see here for recipe
- 4 small Italian eggplants, sliced
- 4 tbs feta
- 8 baby artichokes (+juice of 1 lemon)
- kalamata olives (optional)
- basil, chopped (optiona)
- olive oil for drizzling
For the dough
Place flour in a working surface, gradually add yeast/water mixture, salt and oil. Mix well to obtain a soft dough, the dough should be elastic and souple, almost sticky. Cover with a towel and let it rise for about 2 hours.
For the topping
Grill the eggplant slices on a grill pan. Cut in halves and set aside. Trim the artichokes, removing the green leaves around, cut the top and cut in quarters. Place in a lemon juice/water bath to prevent them from staining. Saute in olive oil and garlic until tender. Adjust with salt and pepper.
Cut dough in four equal parts. Roll each dough portion with a rolling pin (or with your hands if you have mastered the art of twisting the dough). Spread some red pepper pesto on top of the dough, add eggplant, artichokes and feta, if you using olives add at this point.Adjust with salt and pepper if necessary but the feta and olives being already salty, you might decide not too.
Cook in a 390 F pre heated oven for about 20 minutes or until the bottom is cooked.
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