I don’t think there are words to describe how much I love tomatoes. Whenever someone tells me that they’re not into tomatoes, I can’t help but give them a look that says “you’re weird”, and then I raise my plate closer so that they can give me all their tomatoes, which I’ll happily eat for them! So I guess it’s not surprising that I’ve been relishing Italian tomato pizza since 1991. Not the sad dried one from the grocery store, suffocating in plastic for weeks. The one you buy from the Italian bakery at the farmer’s market, with their crispy on the outside and soft on the inside dough, carefully wrapped in waxed paper, stained with grease spots from the olive oil they use in the sauce. That one! A perfect recipe when you have guests over or to bring to a picnic at the park. The vegetable toppings is not mandatory, but highly recommended! —stephanie⎜pinotte food blog
In the bowl of a stand mixer, measure the flour and salt. Stir with a whisk before adding the instant yeast. Mixing the salt in the flour first is too make sure that the yeast and salt do not come in direct contact, which can influence how the yeast behaves. Whisk the yeast in the flour. Add the water and olive oil to the bowl and, with a dough hook, mix on low speed (3) for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl. Mix on low speed for another 2 minutes and stop again. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes. Start the mixer again, 10 minutes this time on speed 2. Transfer the dough to a well oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled, approximately 1 hour.
In the meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Crush the tomatoes with your hands and place in a pot. Then, it’s pretty easy, just add the oil, garlic cloves, oregano, parsley, basil, 1 tsp of salt, and simmer over low heat for an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Taste and add salt if necessary. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once cooled, mix the sauce to bind with the olive oil. The sauce should have thickened and be rich.
Grease a rectangular baking dish that’s approximately 13x23 inches and gently transfer the dough into it. With slightly wet hands, gently press down the dough to cover the whole pan. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and once again, let the dough rise until doubled, approximately 1 hour.
Place the slices of zucchini and eggplant in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil and add a big pinch of salt. Toss to coat. Slice the shallots and put them in a pan greased with olive oil. Sweat them by cooking for 5 minutes over medium heat, without colouration. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Everything is ready, we’re almost done! Cover the dough with a generous amount of tomato sauce, leaving an inch on every side. Then, cover the sauce with a layer of zucchini and eggplant slices. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the dough is a light golden colour. Let cool for 15 minutes before adding the onions, fresh herbs, spinach and cheese. Serve right away or cold. Keep the leftovers, if any, in an airtight container up to 4 days.