Roasted Vegetable and Apricot Pizzas

Doesn’t this pizza sort of look like an alien head?   Moving on, the agenda was to recreate one of the best of the best of the best pizzas from Olio Pizzeria (my current pizza crush): the roasted vegetable pizza.  Let’s not get distracted by such trivial details as Peter completely winging the crust due to a lack of instant yeasties (a portion of my darling sourdough yeast colony was sacrificed instead).  I roasted some veggies.  I burned some of them.  The first pizza only got half baked due to the much greater water content of the (sour)dough.  To make up for it, we burned the heck out of the rest of them, hence the nice brown spots on the cheese.

A pizza dough recipe is here, so all I want to mention are the toppings.  For a roasted vegetable pizza you will need:
– Canned crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce of your choice)
– Flavorings for tomato sauce, such as minced onions, oregano, basil
– Zucchini and eggplants
– Fresh mozzarella cheese
– Optional: fresh herbs like basil or oregano
For the sauce: if not using prepared tomato sauce, saute the minced onion until soft and add the canned tomato.  Add the oregano and/or basil, and let the sauce simmer for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour (sometimes I even put the canned tomatoes straight onto the pizza,  *gasp!*).
For the roasted vegetables: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Slice the zucchini and eggplants into long, thin strips.  Rub a good amount of olive oil onto a baking sheet.  Rub the veggies in the olive oil on the baking sheet so both sides of the veggies are covered.  Layer the veggies on the baking sheet in a single layer and season with salt and pepper.  Bake the veggies for about 20 minutes per side, although the time really depends on how thick the slices are.  I usually aim for 1/4 inch thick slices although it’s hard to be consistent.  When the veggies are done, set them aside for pizza topping.
Topping the pizza:  Now we’re on to the hard part.  Start topping the pizza with a layer of tomato sauce.  Next layer on the veggies.  A few sprinkles of fresh herbs go on next.  Finally, slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and a grind of fresh black pepper.  This is the hardest part because all the pizza toppings are so delicious that it’s hard not to just sneak away with them.

And then there were the apricot dessert pizzas (or breakfast pizzas).  The apricots were so ripe that some of them literally disintegrated in my hand, so one pizza was covered in fresh apricot paste and the other in apricot slices.  Both were delicious, one was slightly more attractive.

Perhaps this is only because my passion for peaches extends beyond the reasonable bounds of human-fruit relations, but until I cooked apricots, they were just uck.  Seriously, aside from the ones we bought two weekends ago (a fruit fluke if there ever was one… they were so yummy), apricots seem like sad, tasteless mini-peaches.  This has completely baffled me ever since first trying fresh apricots when I moved to California, because dried apricots are my favorite dried fruit!  What is so wrong with fresh apricots?  Do I just have horrible taste when picking them out?  Are they usually too ripe when I finally get around to eating them?  Now it doesn’t matter: bake them on pizza and be done with it.

Apricot and Goat Cheese Pizza
1) Rub olive oil over the pizza dough.
2) Arrange slices of apricot in a decorative fashion.  OR, rub oozing apricot slime all over the pizza dough instead.
3) Scatter sliced almonds on top.
4) Fling pieces of goat cheese on top of that.
5) Drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of honey for the final sugary kick.

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