There are few ingredients that are as transformed by slow cooking as much as the onion. Golden brown and meltingly soft, caramelized onions add so much flavor to this grilled pizza. But use patience! Trying to speed the process will almost guarantee failure …and burnt, unusable onions.
This recipe calls for multiple cooking appliances – onions cook on the stovetop, pizza bakes in the oven and eggplant gets added smokiness from cooking on the grill (you can bake the eggplant at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, flipping midway, while the onions cook).
Start the onions, which take the longest time, before prepping the other ingredients to keep the recipe moving.
2 to 3 large onions, thinly sliced
2 to 3 eggplants cut into 1/3-inch thick slices
Kosher or sea salt
Prepared pizza dough for one 12 to 14-inch pizza
1 1/4- 1 1/2 cups passata or other tomato puree
1 large ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced or grated
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons fresh basil, torn into pieces
In a very large skillet or stockpot over medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Add the onions a few handfuls at a time, sautéing each group for 2 to 4 minutes, or until they start to soften and make room for more. Continue until all onions are in the pot. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until meltingly soft and golden brown, 20 to 40 minutes, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if necessary to prevent sticking.
Meanwhile, preheat the grill. Generously brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill until softened and cooked through. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough and place on a baking tray or pizza pan lightly coated with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Fold up the ends to make a crust. Spread a thin layer of passata and top with cooked onions and eggplant slices. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with basil. Buon Appetito!