Allez, Cuisine! – Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Pizza

Claire Littlefield and Emma Ellis

Pizza is very much caught up in the mystique of the Colgate experience. No matter what time of day or what condition you are in, pizza somehow always comes through for the Colgate student, whether it’s a midday run to Oliveri’s or a midnight binge at New York Pizzeria (Slices).

But, for all the pizza being consumed at Colgate, very little is being made by the students themselves. We think a lot of people assume that making satisfying pizza yourself requires a lot of specialist equipment, complicated ingredients and technical skill. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Oliveri’s and Slices will both sell you a large pizza dough for around $2.50 and $1.00, respectively. It’s such a simple transaction – so much quicker than trying to make your own dough – and way better than those weird sticky messes they sell at Price Chopper.

The second hurdle is the sauce. If you use jarred sauce … don’t use jarred sauce. It’s weird and sweet and gross. Instead, you can roast vegetables (or just tomatoes if you’d like) to provide that saucy moisture and flavor without complication. It’s also a way to alleviate some of the guilt associated with scarfing down large quantities of cheesy bread.

So, try it out. Homemade pizza is one of the best foods to ever grace the earth, and it’s a quick and easy weekday meal. Not to mention that making your own is considerably cheaper than buying it slice by slice downtown.

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant

1 pint cherry tomatoes or about 4 plum tomatoes

1 round of pizza dough

Mozzarella cheese (we use about a quarter to a half cup)

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Fresh basil (optional)

Servings: 2-3

Process:

Roasted Veggies:

1.  Cut the eggplant into half inch cubes. Feel free to peel it, but it’s not necessary.

2.  Chop your tomatoes until they are about the same size as the eggplant pieces. This is important whenever you’re roasting (or frying or saut?eeing) because you want the ingredients to cook evenly and be done at the same time.

3.  Put the veggies on a baking sheet, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and then drizzle some olive oil on top. If you want to up the spice quotient here, you can add some red pepper flakes. Use discretion though, because they become hotter when roasted. Many people have risked making their veggies inedible because they were trying to seem tough.

4.  Toss the vegetables around a bit until the salt, pepper, pepper flakes and oil are distributed evenly in a thin coating. If they look dry, add a little bit more oil.

5.  Bake at 375° for about 30-45 minutes or until the eggplant is tender.

Pizza:

1.  Lightly grease a baking sheet with some olive oil.

2.  Stretch out your dough to cover the pan. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the more even the better. If the dough keeps shrinking away from the sides, don’t be afraid to create a little overhang.

3.  Spread out your mozzarella cheese.

4.  Top with the roasted vegetables and a sprinkle of parmesan.

5.  Bake at 550° (or as high as your oven will go) for about 7 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the crust is a delectable golden brown.

6.  If you have it, top with basil just before serving.

Bonus Points:

1.  Play around with the vegetables. You could add in some onions, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, whatever you like. You could also throw in a clove or two of garlic to up the flavor. Just be sure to fish them out if you’re not willing to commit to garlic breath for the rest of the evening.

2.  Ditch the Polly-o for some real, fresh mozzarella. Price Chopper sells an excellent brand called BelGioioso in the fancy cheese island by the canned goods. It seems like a big investment, but remember: you can freeze it so it will last you a while.

3.  Try making your own dough. It’s easier than you would think, but requires a time commitment that running to Oliveri’s or Slices doesn’t.