Recipe Roasted Pepper, Aubergine & Spinach Pizza with Taleggio

Morning Glory

Obsessive cook
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Location
Maidstone, Kent, UK
This meat free pizza makes the most of Mediterranean flavours and is topped with a luxurious Italian cheese. Taleggio is a washed rind cheese with a soft and gently wine flavoured taste. Its a perfect cheese for melting and has a stronger flavour than Mozzarella. Cooked spinach works really well with this cheese; the mildly bitter taste of the spinach compliments the mellow fruity tang of the Taleggio.

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Ingredients (makes 2 large pizzas)
For the pizza dough:

425g strong white bread flour
7g instant yeast
9g salt
A little fine semolina (for rolling out dough)

For the topping:
4 tbsp of thick tomato sauce
1 large aubergine
2 red peppers
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 big handfuls of spinach
250g Taleggio cheese cut into approximately 10 slices
Chilli flakes to sprinkle

Method
To prepare he pizza dough
  1. Mix the flour, yeast & salt together. Gradually stir in slightly warm water until the dough comes together. Knead the dough for ten minutes on a lightly oiled surface.
  2. Place in the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size. Whilst the dough is rising, you can prepare the topping (see below).
  3. Once the dough is risen, divide it into two.
  4. Sprinkle some semolina onto the work surface and roll each piece of dough into a large circle or oval.
  5. Place each pizza base on an oven proof baking tray. The easiest way to do this is to use the rolling pin and curl the pizza base around it then lift and uncurl onto the baking tray.
To prepare the topping:
  1. Cut each pepper in half vertically, deseed and cut away any thick membranes. Cut into wide strips and flatten them out as best you can. Place the strips on foil under a hot grill (broiler) and cook until the skin blackens and the flesh softens.
  2. Place the pieces in a plastic bag or sealed container whilst still hot and leave for 10 minutes. Peel off the pepper skin, leaving some charred parts. Set aside.
  3. Cut the aubergine lengthways into thin slices. Fry the aubergine slices in the vegetable oil until they soften. You need to do this in 2 to 3 batches unless you have a giant pan. Drain on kitchen paper and tear each piece into wide strips.
  4. Place the spinach in a large bowl, cover and microwave on high for a few minutes until it wilts.
  5. Remove and allow to cool - squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
To assemble & cook the pizza
  1. Heat the oven to the highest temperature it will go (around 230 C in my case).
  2. Use the back of tablespoon to spread 2 tbsp of tomato sauce over each pizza base.
  3. Curl and drape the strips of aubergine & pepper over the top of each pizza base. Add spinach leaves and the slices of cheese, in and around.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and char the crust in places with a culinary blow-torch (optional but easy!)
  6. Scatter with chilli flakes and serve.
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