Recently I read an article over on SeriousEats about courgette pizza – it looked delicious, sounded delicious and tasted delicious. However, I couldn’t help thinking that it wasn’t what I wanted out of a pizza, not quite. So I started thinking about the courgette pizza I would make and I just kept coming back to my aubergine-free ratatouille that I’ve posted about before. Ratatouille pizza sounded completely divine to me so I figured I’d give it a go and to say I was happy with the results was an understatement. A few people have asked me for the recipe now so I figured I’d post it – hope you enjoy ratatouille pizza as much as I do.
If you want to jump straight to the recipe, click here . Also don’t forget to check out the tips and tricks to make ratatouille pizza more TimedEating friendly just below the recipe – click here to jump there.
The first part to any pizza is the base. There are a million pizza base recipes out there on the internet and it all depends on what you want. For some people it’s not a pizza unless the base is chewy and soft, for others it should be crisp and brittle. Some like it tangy like a well fermented sourdough and some like it really plain so it doesn’t detract from the toppings. For this ratatouille pizza I made a really quick dough which I intentionally “over kneaded” in our kitchenaid. This means that you get a really tight texture that when rolled really thinly is quite crispy without going crunchy. However, it’s all a matter of personal taste. What I would recommend though is including some fennel seeds in the dough – completely delicious. The great thing about pizza dough though is you can leave it in the fridge to prove for up to three days and it will keep getting better and better so it’s a make ahead and leave kind of affair. Don’t worry if you haven’t done it in advance there are some lovely quick pizza doughs as well.
The topping I already had kind of worked out. My favourite ratatouille base is something I love and do really often. It can be kept in the fridge for days getting tastier all the time and freezes really well so I make it all the time. The only thing I would say is it’s difficult to do in a really huge batch without getting a little clever. You see you want your ratatouille quite dry to get a really intense flavour but tomatoes want to release a huge amount of moisture. The solution is that you always cook it in a large frying pan with a large surface area. However, if you do it in huge quantities by the time you’ve driven away the moisture from the tomatoes, the courgettes will be mushy and lifeless. So, if you’re making a really big batch (or only have a small frying pan) then remove the courgettes after you’ve sautéed them and only re-add once you’ve gotten rid of some of the tomato moisture. It’s difficult to be completely precise about how long you need to remove them for as it depends on your pan, how hot your hobs can get and the size of the batch but rule of thumb is you don’t want your courgettes to cook more than 10-15 minutes maximum with the tomatoes and I normally aim for less than ten.
If I’m really honest, this ratatouille pizza without any topping is completely delicious and you don’t need the ricotta, the parma ham or even the parsley. However, when did need become part of cooking? The sharp but creamy lemon ricotta and bursts of salty, tender yet chewy parma ham are delicious and the parsley really helps to cut through the richness of the ratatouille. I know it sounds strange to refer to a completely vegetarian ratatouille as rich but once you’ve removed the moisture it’s dense, enticing and almost meaty in it’s richness.
Ricotta is a wonderful product at its best. When it’s good it’s dense and rich with a creamy texture and soft flavour. When it’s bad, however, it can be waterlogged, flavourless and grainy. I’ve found in the UK that most supermarket ricotta is pretty good but you should still watch out for ones which have loads of ingredients. Many ricotta producers use all kinds of chemicals to get the cheese to set quickly which makes it watery and tasteless. It should really just have milk and salt as ingredients but at a push maybe a natural culture or acid. Otherwise it’s just stabilised water – yuurgh. Once you’ve bought good ricotta, you still want to drain off the water. Kenji over at SeriousEats taught me this great trick. You simply place it between two triple lined sheets of paper towel and press – hey presto you’ve got drained ricotta which is much more intense than it’s bland pre-drained counterpart. I like to freshen the cheese up with some lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper. It gives it a nice zing which marries really well with the ratatouille pizza.
Hope you like the recipe – let me know if there are any dishes you’d like me to make more TimedEating – you can get in touch by email (email@example.com) on facebook or on twitter. Or join the mailing list above to stay up to date!
- 1 Pizza base (some great recipes for quick or slow pizza bases are just below the recipe)
- Ratatouille – here’s the recipe. You want about two courgettes worth.
- 150g ricotta drained
- Juice of one lemon
- Zest from 2 lemons
- Olive oil
- A large bunch of flat leaf parsley finely chopped
- A few slices of parma ham
- Preheat the oven to maximum. Place a pizza stone or as I do since I don’t have a pizza stone, a heavy baking sheet with a little high smoke point oil in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Roll out the pizza base to about 5mm thick – I like a thin base.
- Place the pizza base in the hot tray and work quickly to cover with the ratatouille. You want it almost an inch thick.
- Place in the oven for about 7-10 minutes until cooked through and browned on the edges.
- Whilst the ratatouille pizza is in the oven, make the ricotta by combining the lemon zest, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil. Season generously with salt and lots of pepper and stir vigorously until smooth and velvety.
- Remove pizza from the oven and transfer to a serving board. Place a few dollops of the ricotta artfully around the ratatouille pizza, drape some parma ham slices and scatter the parsley. Serve immediately.
Some pizza base recipes: The best recipes are these ones but they take a while. If you’re in the market for a quick recipe that still needs to prove for a little while Jamie Oliver’s recipe is good and if you want an ultra fast 30 minute recipe then this one’s your ticket (just ignore the freezing step).
- I always start with this one, do all the chopping in advance of cooking – remember don’t bring a knife to a firefight!
- The ratatouille can be made up to three days in advance. In fact in a cold fridge it will keep a week. It freezes well and can be frozen for up to a month. In a restaurant it would be made in the morning, chilled and served either that day or the next day.
- The pizza base freezes well and is actually better proving in your fridge for up to three days
- The ricotta mixture can be made a day ahead but it’s so quick I wouldn’t bother.
- Roll out the dough up to an hour in advance but cover it with a lightly damp clean tea towel.
All in all, what that means is that you can make the dough, roll it out and have the filling ready so when your guests come, the pizza will only be 10 minutes away and you won’t be in the kitchen! Just don’t top the pizza in advance, then the bottom will go soggy.