Happy St Patrick’s Day a little early! I thought I would share a recipe with a little green in it 😀
We are getting ready to harvest all of the spinach from our winter garden, and I have been making a lot of spinach dishes. My kids have been eating a lot of spinach pesto, spanakopita, and shells and spinach, so I decided to go in a different direction and make a spinach pizza. This pizza is a great way to get extra spinach in your diet and is a nice change from regular pizza. It is an olive oil and garlic based pizza with a pile of spinach, mozzarella, and feta cheese. What’s not to like, right? I have a serious obsession with feta cheese and spinach, but that’s what happens when you grow up with a Greek mom. 😉 I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do, and remember to not only wear green tomorrow, but eat something green!
3 cups all purpose flour and more for dusting (I use unbleached)
1 ¼ cups warm water (not hot)
1 ½ tsp. honey
3 Tbsp olive oil and more for greasing bowls (I use extra virgin)
2 tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet will work fine)
1 tsp. salt
cornmeal (for pan)
Toppings (the topping ingredients are for 1 pizza, double if making 2 spinach pizzas)
3 oz. fresh spinach
2 large garlic cloves
3 Tbsp olive oil (I use extra virgin)
8 oz. mozzarella cheese
4 oz. feta cheese
Sift the flour and then add salt and stir well with a whisk, and set aside. Add the warm water to a warmed mixer bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. Let sit for 3-5 minutes, and then stir if needed to dissolve the yeast.
Add the olive oil, honey, and flour mixture. Using the dough hook, mix on low until the dough comes together (about 1.5 minutes). If using the mixer to knead, you will knead for 3.5 minutes on low. Check along the way, and if needed, sprinkle a small amount of flour at a time during this process. The dough should be slightly sticky, soft, and come back when poked.
Form a ball and place in an oiled bowl and lightly oil the dough on top. Cover and let rise in a warm draft-free spot for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Gently remove the dough and place on a scantly floured surface. Gently pat into a rectangle and cut into 2 pieces, and then form 2 balls. Place each in a greased bowl, and cover and let rise for an additional 30 minutes in a warm draft-free spot. If you are newer at shaping pizza dough, place in the refrigerator instead, for at least an hour for the second rise (cool pizza dough is much easier to work).
Note: You can make this dough the day before. Instead of letting it rise in a warm draft free spot for the first rise, cover well with plastic wrap and let it rise in the fridge. Remove and prep for the second rise, by starting where you gently pat into a rectangle.
Making the Pizza
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a good pizza stone, use it and ensure you preheat if needed. Some stones need to be heated for an hour at 500 degrees for optimal performance. If not using a stone, lightly grease your pan.
Finely chop up the garlic and roughly chop your spinach (to make it more manageable). Grate the mozzarella if needed and crumble the feta cheese (keep cheeses separate).
Flour your work surface well. Place one dough ball at a time and begin to pat down, adding flour as needed. Sprinkle on top and lightly pat, and add to dough as needed. Once you have patted the dough down to a small circle, you can continue to flip and pat down until you have reached an optimal size and thickness (always pat out, so that you end up with excess to form a crust).
Using both hands, begin to make the crust, with one hand on the inside and one on the outside (if using a regular pan, form the crust in the pan). Now pinch the outside, to better form a crust. Sprinkle cornmeal all over your pan and place the dough on it. If using a preheated stone, some quick reshaping will be needed.
Using a pastry brush, evenly spread 2 Tbsp olive oil all over the pizza, followed by the garlic. Place on the stone or pan, and in the pre-heated oven, par-cook the dough to get a better cooked dough (this step is optional).
Let the dough slightly cook, until it just loses its floppiness and can be lifted off the stone, with a pizza peel or large spatula (this will only take a few minutes, especially on a pre-heated stone). You do not want the dough to start browning, so watch it carefully. Remove from the oven and carefully spread the remaining 1 Tbsp over the pizza with a pastry brush and then begin to top the pizza (You can leave the stone in the oven and lift the pizza out with a pizza peel).
Evenly spread the spinach on the pizza, followed by the mozzarella and feta cheeses.
Place back on the stone or pan, and back in the oven. Remove once the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Right before the pizza is done, I like taking it off of the stone for a few minutes and baking directly on the rack, just until the dough underneath is browned. Once done, remove from the oven or put under the broiler if you like more browning on the cheese. Slice and enjoy!
Make 1 pizza and use the other dough ball to make garlic knots