Thursday, February 23, 2012


Last fall, I attempted an improvised spinach, mushroom, and feta pizza inspired by one I saw on TV. It was good, but unbalanced because I vastly underestimated how much spinach to use. That old shrinks-when-you-cook-it trick gets me every time! This is why I don’t cook without recipes, people. But recently I realized that the answer to this conundrum was right under my nose, in the form of a recipe for spinach and feta pizza I’d bookmarked months before at Eggs on Sunday (the source of so many of my favorite pizza recipes). This recipe very cleverly amps up the spinach volume by making it into a pesto—which also provides a hit of garlic (so nice with spinach and mushrooms) and a nice sauce-like element that is often missing from non-marinara-based pizzas. All I had to do was follow the directions, add in some mushrooms, and voila! I had the spinach-mushroom-feta pizza of my dreams.

I bought the biggest bag of spinach at Trader Joe’s, 12 ounces, and then felt compelled to use it all on the pizza so it didn’t go to waste, and although it was a great way to get my greens for the day, I probably could have eased up on it slightly. I had the right amount of pesto (I can’t report on exact quantities; it was just as much as I could fit in my tiny food processor), but I went a bit overboard on the sauteed spinach. I do like my pizza toppings applied with a generous hands (more vegetables = always a good thing), but I’m guessing 9 or 10 ounces might have been a happier medium. I briefly sautéed my mushrooms before adding them to the pizza, because I like them that way (they tend to do that incredible-shrinking-ingredient act too, so if you shrink them down a bit first you can fit more of them on the pizza) and I’m still using that pizza-on-the-stovetop method that I really need to tell you about sometime, and this ensures that they get fully tender even though the pizza doesn’t spend much time in the oven), but do what you like. Either way, I promise this will be delicious.

1 pound pizza dough
1 large bunch spinach, rinsed and spun dry (about 9 to 12 ounces)
1 garlic clove
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
About ¾ cup grated mozzarella cheese
4 to 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1. Take about half of the spinach, cut off and discard the stems, and place the leaves in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add the garlic clove and Parmesan and process until finely chopped. Drizzle in a few tablespoons of olive oil and blend, continuing to add olive oil until the pesto reaches the consistency you like; it should be spreadable but not too liquidy. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

2. Cut the stems off the remaining half of the spinach leaves, and sauté that spinach in a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until wilted. Remove to a cutting board, let cool slightly, and coarsely chop.

3. Optionally, heat a little more olive oil in the same skillet (once the spinach has been removed) and sauté the mushrooms until they have softened and shrunk a bit.

4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Stretch out your pizza dough and lay it out on a baking sheet that’s been generously dusted with cornmeal.

5. Spread the spinach pesto on the pizza dough (you may not use all of it, but if you have extra, it freezes well), then top with the mozzarella, mushrooms, chopped sauteed spinach, and crumbled feta.

6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted.

Serves: 4
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: Good

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