05 January 2011

Spinoccoli Pizza

As I stated when I began this blog, I was inspired by Annie's Eats to write about what I'm cooking  as a record for myself, and an easy way to share recipes with friends and family.  I was surprised to find home made pizza on Annie's list of easy dinners, it's easy when Papa Murphy does it, but all that dough preparation easy?  I looked at her recipe, which reminded me of the recipe that I used when I was not working and had lots of time to cook by Jeff Smith in The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Italian.  I had two of his books and used them often when Kaci was a baby.  I was intrigued to try Annie's method for prepping the dough ahead and freezing it.  I also love white sauce on pizza rather than tomato based sauce and am trying to make as many meat free meals a week as I can, so this pizza fits the bill.

I removed the pizza dough from the freezer in the morning and it was ready to go when I arrived home.  The recipe was on the table in an hour and was the best pizza I've had in ages.  The texture and flavor of the dough was marvelous.  I was concerned that making a white sauce would be a pain, but it went together easily while the pizza dough sat out to rest.  No more Papa Murphy's Pizza or TJ's dough for us, this is just too good.  Can't wait to try other versions on this pizza, and I still have enough for 1 pizza in the freezer!

Check out Annie's Eats for step by step directions for the dough.

Basic Pizza Dough
Yield: enough dough for 2 medium pizzas or 4 calzones
½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle the yeast over the top.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend.  Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture.  With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil.  Mix until a cohesive dough is formed.  Switch to the dough hook.  Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.
Press down the dough to deflate it.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball.  (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.)  Cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes.  Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Shape the dough with lightly floured hands.  Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil.  Top as desired.  Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

Spinoccoli Pizza
For the white sauce:
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
¾ cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 clove garlic, smashed
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For the pizza:
Pizza Dough
Olive oil, for brushing
½ cup packed baby spinach leaves, torn
1 cup very small broccoli florets
2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Grated Parmesan

To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until bubbling and light golden, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the heavy cream and garlic, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and bubbles.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated Parmesan until completely melted and smooth.  Discard the garlic clove.  (Note: This will make a bit more sauce than you need for the pizza, but with a little extra cheese it makes a great dipping sauce for crust.)
To make the pizza, preheat the oven and a pizza stone at 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes.  Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round.  Lightly brush the perimeter of the dough with olive oil.  Spread a thin layer of the white sauce over the crust, leaving a border clear around the edge for the crust.  Sprinkle the torn spinach leaves over the white sauce.  Evenly distribute the broccoli florets over the dough.  Layer evenly with the shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.  Finish with additional grated Parmesan, if desired.  Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Source:  Annie's Eats

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