One of my goals this year is to overcome my fear of yeast. Before, if a recipe would list yeast as one of the ingredients, I would immediately bypass it, because it intimidated me. I have good reason for this fear, because anytime in the past that I had made a recipe with yeast in it, the results were pretty dismal. Usually it wouldn’t rise, and the bread would be flat and tasteless. Most of those failures were in the distant past, so I decided it was time to over come my fear, and learn how to work with yeast, even if I had to fail many times over in the process. This pizza was my first effort in overcoming my fear, and amazingly it turned out great – twice !
I found this recipe on Cooking Classy’s blog, and as soon as I saw it, just could not get this pizza out of my mind. It was different from other pizza’s, and looked so creamy and delicious. She gives very detailed directions, so I’m sure that is one of the main reasons that it turned out. I used my candy thermometer to make sure the water temperature was just right, in order to maximize my chances for success. Being February, the house was kind of cold, so I turned my oven on 200 degrees for about 10 minutes and then turned it off so I would have a warm place for the dough to rise.
I was very nervous as I opened the door of the oven to see if the dough was rising, and amazingly it was! What a satisfying feeling.
Jeff is not a big spinach or white sauce lover, but even he really liked this pizza. There are 3 kinds of cheeses which is part of what makes this recipe so delicious. The first time I tried it, I even added feta cheese as well, and it was a wonderful addition. I am happy that I am not going to shy away anymore from recipes just because they have yeast in them. That opens up a whole new world of breads, pizzas, and cinnamon rolls to try now. I’m sure there will be disasters along the way, but hopefully each failure will help me to learn how to succeed with yeast in the future. Now, if I could only overcome my fear of snakes!
Spinach and Artichoke Pizza
For the Crust:
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine yeast, 2 tsp. sugar, and 1/2 cup warm water, and whisk until yeast has dissolved. Allow to rest 5 minutes.
- Add in remaining 1 cup warm water, olive oil, salt, and vinegar.
- Fit mixer with whisk attachment and set to low-speed and slowly add in 1/2 of the flour. Mix until combined.
- Switch to a dough hook and slowly add in remaining flour, then knead mixture on medium-low speed about 7 – 8 minutes until smooth and elastic (dough should be slightly sticky, but should not stick to a clean fingertip).
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
For the Pizza:
- 1 (16 oz.) homemade or store-bought pizza dough
- 8 oz. fresh spinach, divided
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c milk
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 oz. (1 cup) provolone cheese (I used deli slices and grated them)
- 2 oz. (1/2 cup) shredded low-moisture mozzarella cheese
- 2 oz. (1/2 cup) freshly shredded parmesan cheese
- 6-8 canned artichoke hearts, drained well and quartered (don’t use marinated)
- red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Place pizza stone in preheated oven and allow to rest in oven 20 minutes (if you don’t have a pizza stone, just use a large pan and don’t preheat. Cook pizza a few extra minutes to make sure middle of crust gets cooked through).
- Meanwhile, stretch and shape pizza dough over a sheet of parchment paper to a 13-inch round, while creating a taller rim along outer edge. If using homemade dough, it may be sticky, but that is okay. Just push dough out into a circle with your fingers instead of a rolling-pin.
- Brush with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and season crust lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then allow to rest while pizza stone preheats (note that if your pizza crust has been refrigerated, be sure to bring it to room temperature first, then shape and let it rest the 20 minutes).
- In a large saucepan, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add 3/4 of the spinach and sauté just until wilted. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat, then while stirring add in flour and onion powder and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Then while stirring, slowly stir in milk, increase temperature to medium and cook, stirring constantly until mixture just starts to boil and has thickened well. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat and stir in minced garlic and sautéed spinach. Set aside remaining fresh spinach (you should have about 1 1/2 cups chopped).
- To assemble pizza, spread the spinach white sauce evenly over pizza crust, leaving the rim uncoated.
- Sprinkle chopped, fresh spinach over sauce, followed by the provolone, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses and chopped artichokes.
- Slide a pizza wheel under parchment paper and carefully transfer pizza to hot pizza stone in oven or just leave on parchment until after cooking.
- Bake 10-13 minutes (or a few minutes longer if you aren’t using a pizza stone) until crust is golden brown.
- Cut into slices and serve warm sprinkled with red pepper flakes to taste, if desired.
Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, originally found on Cooking Classy