Grilled Veggie Flatbread with Ricotta Cheese

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Just for the record, let me say herewith (in case there might some confusion), that pizza and flatbread are not the same thing.  Yes, they are similar in style and design, but one bite will disavow you of this misconception very quickly.  And it's not that one's better than the other; they just hold differing life purposes and really should not be compared.  

That said, there are two major differences between the two, the first being that while pizza features a yeasted dough, traditionally flatbreads are unleavened breads.  Since this one has yeast, it isn't technically a flatbread.  But in spirit, it qualifies as a flatbread because it's bread and it's flat and being rectangular rather than round, it's not a pizza.  I hope I'm being convincing here.  Oh, and the other major difference is that historically, flatbreads have been used to scoop up and sop up bites of food and catch drippings and juices from meats, etc.  And although our flatbread also fails to qualify in this category, I like to think that we just saved ourselves a lot of mopping and sopping by placing the foodstuffs on top.  So yes, this is indeed a flatbread in every sense of the word and I think we can be done talking about that.

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But the one thing that flatbreads have in common with ours is that they are most usually cooked on a hot grill or griddle which gives them a deliciously smoky flavor.  In this regard, our flatbread was exceptionally delicious, and made all the more so when paired with our grilled veggies and ricotta cheese. 

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You can choose to grill up any veggies you might have on hand; I had a zucchini, a pepper and a red onion so that's what I went with.  Eggplant, tomato and asparagus would also be great here. 

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As for the ricotta... have you made our 5-minute microwave ricotta cheese?  It's a cinch to make and so much better than your standard store-bought varieties.  I made some while my dough was rising, and then stirred in a little olive oil, some Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  I spooned that over the top of the grilled veggies and then cut the whole thing into little squares to be eaten out of hand, accompanied by a glass of wine.  Needless to say, we were quite happy about it.

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I can think of so many awesome applications for this flatbread, starting with our little appetizer bites. But this would be so good grilled up alongside your favorite grilled chicken, steak or seafood.  Add some shrimp or sausage or both to the top and you could call it dinner.  But I wouldn't call it pizza.  Here's the recipe...

P.S. Here's our other traditional but not really flatbread recipe. Oh, and there's this one too.

Grilled Flatbread with Grilled Veggies and Ricotta Cheese

Click here for a printable recipe

I've included the recipe for flatbread below, but you could also easily use a purchased one.  Just heat it on a grill or griddle before adding your toppings.

Grilled Flatbreads (recipe below)
Grilled Veggies (any mix of veggies you like; zucchini, red onion, peppers, eggplant, tomato, etc)
Ricotta Cheese (either store-bought or homemade)

For the Ricotta Cheese
1 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta and the remaining ingredients.  Set aside.


For the Veggies
Slice your veggies about 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick and either brush them with a little olive oil or spray them with olive oil spray.  Season them with salt and pepper and then lay them cross-wise on a hot grill or grill pan.  Cook them for 3-4 minutes per side or until they have developed good grill marks and are cooked through.  Remove them from the grill and place on a cutting board.  Cut them into chunks and season again with salt and pepper.  While they're still hot you can also sprinkle them with thyme and/or rosemary. 

For the Flatbread   (Makes 2 medium-sized flatbreads)
Recipe adapted from Food52

This recipe makes 2 flatbreads, each the size of the one in the above photo.  You can halve the recipe if you only need one flatbread, or freeze half of it after kneading.

3 cups bread flour (396 g)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (3.5 g)
1 teaspoon instant yeast (4 g)
1 1/4 cups water (292.5 g)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (43 g), plus more for brushing
Flaky salt, for finishing
Leaves of 1 to 2 sprigs rosemary, for finishing, optional

In a large bowl, whisk the flour and salt to combine. Add the yeast and mix to combine.

Place the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.  Whisk to combine and with the mixer on low, add the water and olive oil.  If using a stand mixer, increase the speed to medium and using the dough hook, knead for 4-5 minutes.  If mixing by hand, remove to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball, 6 to 9 minutes

Transfer the dough to a medium, lightly oiled bowl. Loosely cover, and let rise until the dough is double in size, about an 1 hour.

Preheat the grill or grill pan until smoking hot. Clean and oil the grates of the grill.

While the grill is heating up, divide the dough in half to make 2 medium-sized flatbreads; it will be on the sticky side, so oil your hands a little to make the dough easier to handle. Holding the dough on its outside edges, stretch it gently, letting gravity do most of the work to form it into an oblong shape. Stretch the dough and place it onto an oiled baking sheet.  Carefully place it onto the hot grill and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Top your flatbread with the chopped grilled vegetables and then dot the whole thing with spoonfuls of the ricotta cheese.  Cut into squares to serve.