Category Archives: Pizza and Pasta

Mini Pizza on an Eggplant Slice

I saw a photograph of mozzarella melted over an eggplant slice on an open-faced sandwich and it inspired me to create this recipe. It’s low-carb since there is no bread or pizza crust at all. You put the toppings right on the eggplant slice and bake. These mini-“pizzas” are super easy to make and you can do several variations in one batch.

Pizza on an Eggplant Slice

Pizza on an Eggplant Slice

Ingredients
1 large eggplant, 1/8 inch slices
Salt
Prepared spaghetti sauce

Possible Toppings:
Pepperoni slices (try the low-fat Turkey variety)
Fresh mozzerella, cut into 1/8 inch slices
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves
Tomato slices or diced fresh tomato
(Any topping of your choice!)

Instructions

1. Salt the eggplant slices and let them sit for 30 minutes. Press the water out of the slices into a paper towel.

2. Preheat oven to 425˚F. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay the slices on the sheet without letting them touch.

3. Top each slice with a thin layer of tomato sauce and then add toppings of your choice.

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and gorgeous. Allow to cool for 2 minutes before transferring to plate.

The eggplant “pizzas” are not stable enough to eat with your fingers. This is definitely fork food, but it shouldn’t be totally soggy either. If your slices are coming out really soggy, then there are a few troubleshooting tips: a) Salt them really well at the beginning and try to expel as much moisture as possible. b) Put less tomato sauce on. c) Don’t bake them for too long.

Eggplant slices salted

Eggplant slices salted

Eggplant slices with thin layer of sauce

Eggplant slices with thin layer of sauce

With fresh mozzarella and basil

With fresh mozzarella and basil

With pepperoni

With pepperoni

Pepperoni pizza on an eggplant slice

Pepperoni pizza on an eggplant slice

Eggplant and Mushroom Pizza with Yummy, Crispy Crust

Eggplant and Mushroom Pizza

Eggplant and Mushroom Pizza

Thanks to Jessie from The Hungry Mouse and Reeni of CinnamonSpiceAndEverythingNice, I was able to solve the problems I encountered when I tried to make Homemade Eggplant Pizza the first time. See that post here.

When I made pizza the last time, the crust never fully baked and therefore the pizza was soggy and the dough was downright raw in the middle.

They recommended that I prebake the pizza crust just a little and they also recommended that I cook the pizza for longer than 12 minutes – more like 18 – 22 minutes in a very hot oven. I particularly liked Reeni’s advice to preheat the oven to 500˚F and then turn it back to 450˚F once I put the pizza in the oven. My oven tends to trend a little low anyway and opening the door always knocks the temperature down, so preheating a little high was a great idea.

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Soggy Homemade Pizza with Eggplant, Fresh Mozzarella and Fresh Basil

Eggplant Parmesan Pizza

Eggplant Parmesan Pizza

This pizza was an almost complete failure. I say “almost,” because it actually tasted really good. The flavors mingled perfectly: tomato, mozzarella, basil, and eggplant. What could be better? The problem was that the dough would not cook all the way through and it remained so soggy, I couldn’t really pick up a piece of pizza with my hands. I ate it in forkfuls. Tasty, soggy, forkfuls.

I thought I had taken all of the necessary soggy-avoiding measures. I salted the eggplant and let it sit for 30 minutes, blotted out the moisture with a paper towel and repeated for another 30 minutes followed by more blotting.

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The Perfect Ragù alla Bolognese

Spaghetti alla Bolognese

Spaghetti alla Bolognese

Usually for this blog, I document my attempts to make recipes I’ve never tried with ingredients that are new to me. I must confess that I have been working on perfecting a Bolognese sauce for years. I think I’ve finally got it.

This Bolognese sauce has a secret ingredient that you won’t find in most Bolognese sauces. But we’ll get to that later.

First a little background.

For a long time, I was dissatisfied with the results of my Bolognese attempts. The sauces always seemed relatively tasteless and never thick enough. My normal approach was to brown onions and ground beef, add dried herbs (like oregano and such), add a jar of prepared sauce (like Classico) and let it simmer for a long time. I thought that the longer it simmered, the tastier it would be, and that was a little bit true, but not all that much. I tried adding garlic and then adding more and more garlic, to give it flavor. It worked a little, but it seemed that the garlic flavor just disappeared. I tried adding red wine. That worked a little too. I tried adding lots of olive oil once. Again, it enhanced the flavor a bit, but it came at a cost and didn’t give the dramatic flavor I was after.

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