Pesto, Eggplant & Tomato Flatbread

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Flatbreads have become a popular appetizer offered at many local restaurants. What it great about flatbreads is that the topping options are endless, they are easy to assemble (especially if you buy premade pizza dough), they are great for sharing, and folks love them. We enjoy entertaining, and I am always trying out new recipes that I can serve to our guests. Flatbreads are an easy to assemble appetizer that I often utilize when entertaining.

I am a huge fan of pesto, particularly basil pesto, and I make it often throughout the summer when we are in Umbria where our herbs grow like weeds. Unfortunately, here in Florida, we do not have a place to grow herbs properly, and basil is quite expensive. I have found that the large jar of pesto sold at Costco is a great alternative to making your own and is much more cost effective. I use this pesto on broiled fish, tossed into hot pasta, or even mixed into salad dressings. Basil, eggplant, and tomatoes are a perfect combination, so when I was creating a flatbread last week I decided to combine them on my crust. I used a combination of shredded mozzarella and fontina cheese, although you could certainly use all mozzarella, or all fontina if you preferred. To give my flatbread just a little texture, I added pine nuts on top. The trick to rolling pizza dough thin enough is to have it at room temperature. If too cold, the dough will not relax enough and will keep pulling back as you roll it.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2015

Pesto, Eggplant & Tomato Flatbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound Pizza Dough
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Eggplant, Peeled & Cut Into 1 1/2-inch Dice (About 4 Cups)
  • 1/2 Cup Basil Pesto
  • 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 Cups Grated Fontina Cheese
  • 2 Cups Halved Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/3 Cup Pine Nuts

Directions:

  1. Divide your dough into two equal pieces and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
  2. While your dough is warming, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, and add the eggplant.
  3. Cook the eggplant, turning often until golden brown and soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an oval of about 16 by 12 inches in size, and about 1/4 inch thick and place each on the prepared baking sheets.
  7. Lightly spread the pesto over each of the flatbreads, leaving a 1-inch border all around.
  8. Cover each of the flatbreads with half of each of the cheeses.
  9. Divide the eggplant, tomatoes, and pine nuts evenly over each of the flatbreads.
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.
  11. Cool 10 minutes, then use a pizza peel to cut into 8 pieces.