cup/80 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
cup/180 milliliters lukewarm water (105 to 115 degrees)
teaspoon/5 grams active dry or instant yeast
teaspoon/5 grams granulated sugar
teaspoon/10 grams kosher salt
cups/305 grams bread flour, plus more as needed
- Oil a large bowl and set aside. (This is for the rising dough.)
- Add water to another large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stir 1/3 cup oil and salt into yeast mixture. Stir in flour until a soft, shaggy dough forms.
- If kneading by hand, turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or knead in a stand mixer equipped with the dough hook for 3 to 5 minutes. The dough is ready when it’s elastic but somewhat sticky and damp. If the dough seems unmanageable and won’t come off your hands, add more flour, a little at a time.
- Place dough in the oiled bowl and turn to coat it lightly with oil. Cover bowl with a plate or plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
- While dough is rising, make the topping: Combine eggplant and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Mince half of the olives and slice the other half.
- In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium. Add garlic, stirring constantly, and heat until opaque, about 1 minute. Add the minced olives and anchovies, if using. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until the oil is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour oil over eggplant. Add thyme or oregano and toss until evenly coated. Set aside and cool completely before using.
- Lightly oil an 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet. Working on a floured surface, roll dough into an 11-by-16-inch rectangle, then transfer it to the oiled baking sheet and press the dough to the sides. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange eggplant slices evenly over dough, and scatter tomatoes and sliced olives on top. Drizzle any leftover oil from the bottom of the eggplant bowl on pizza.
- Bake until edges and underside are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Using a spoon, top with dollops of ricotta. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and basil leaves on top, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.