Worknight Dinner Recipe: Friday Night, Pizza Night

by Maris Callahan on June 7, 2009

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I think it’s disheartening that when I Google “pizza” to see if I could come up with a few pieces of fun trivia for this post, the first two links that populated my screen were for Domino’s & Pizza Hut. Between the commercials for Domino’s Bread Bowl Pasta and Pizza Hut’s “P’Zone Eating Chow-lenge” it’s no wonder why pizza has a bad rap for being nutritionally inadequate. It’s also hard to accept such commercialized adaptations of pizza, a dish traced back to Italian origins as far back as 997, though it is said to have become mainstream in Naples in the 18th century. Back then, pizza was made from yeast bread dough and tomatoes, later to be topped with mozzarella cheese, basil and extra-virgin olive oil. Today, Domino’s Deep Dish crust is made from:

Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Folic Acid), Water, Malt, Sugar, Whey, Malted Barley Flour, Yeast, Soybean Oil. Zzesty Blend: Butter Flavored Oil (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin, Artificial And Natural Butter Flavoring, Vitamin A Palmitate And Beta-Carotene for Color), Imitation Parmesan Cheese (Water, Modified Food Starch, Casein And Or Caseinate, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Cellulose Powder, Salt, Sodium Phosphates, Stabilizers [Mono And Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan], Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Sorbic Acid [As A Preservative]), Onion And Garlic, Spices, Salt, Lactic Acid, Butter Flavor, Tomato Powder, Bell Pepper. Dextrose, Citric Acid, Extractive Of Paprika And Lemon And Orange Oil With No Greater Than 2% Calcium Silicate And/Or Soybean Oil Added to Prevent Caking, Corn Meal (used in preparation).

Now, I won’t pretend I didn’t have the number for the Domino’s Pizza in my town memorized when I was a freshman in college (come on, it was 374-5665, it doesn’t get much easier than that). There was a time when crust and cheese and sauce meant pizza. Now, however, now, I think of pizza as somewhat of an indulegence and if you’re going to indulge, my theory is, “go big or go home.” I make pizza dough using only six simple ingredients. Granted, not everyone has the time (or desire) to create their own pizza dough but it probably isn’t hard to find one without “butter flavor” and imitation parmesan cheese. If you do feel like whipping up your own crust, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day has an amazing dough recipe that can be replicated for focaccia, flatbread and other variations.

There are ways to alter pizza so that you can enjoy it without eating three days worth of calories in one sitting. I mean, you certainly can if you eat the entire pie, but if you’re like me and you just don’t have the bandwidth for eight slices, a slice or two of this pizza won’t set you back too much if you pair it with a big, green salad.

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Spinach Ricotta Pizza with Olive Oil Dough

Ingredients:

1/3 recipe Olive Oil Pizza Dough (or your favorite refrigerated pizza dough)
3/4 cup chunky marinara sauce (if you like a lot of sauce on your pizza, you can be liberal but more than 1 cup will leave your dough soggy)
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese 8 oz. (or 1/2 lb). part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated or torn into small pieces
2 cups uncooked spinach, sauteed until just barely wilted

Directions:

1. Use your hands or dust a rolling pin with flour and gently shape dough into desired shape on a floured surface. Use flour as needed to shape dough so that it does not stick to surface.

2. Dust a pizza peel (you can attempt at using an oiled cookie sheet but I tried that and it was an EPIC FAIL. I highly recommend a pizza peel) with cornmeal, to prevent dough from sticking.

3. Use a spatula and slide the dough onto the pizza peel. Preheat oven (with baking stone) to 500F. Assemble the pizza with desired toppings – in this case, sauce, cheeses and spinach.

4. Use the peel to place the pizza on the pre-heated pizza stone. If you’re using an upside-down cookie sheet, the dough may be sticky and will require more than one par of hands to transfer to the hot baking stone.

5. Bake at 500F for approximately 15-20 minutes or until cheese begins to bubble and crust turns golden brown.

Tell me your favorite kind of pizza!

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

doggybloggy June 7, 2009 at 12:00 am

my favorite changes but right now it would be – black olive, mushrooms and truffle oil

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Sophie June 7, 2009 at 12:00 am

MMMMM…lovely!! I love ricotta spinach together!! Yum Yum Yum,…

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thatShortChick June 7, 2009 at 12:00 am

I HATE domino’s/pizza hut. The thickness of their crusts freak me out.
Right now, I I’m loving wheat crust (thin) with slices of tomato, mozzarella and spinach.
There’s a great chain down here in NC called Brixx that makes great pizza like this.

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ksgoodeats June 7, 2009 at 12:00 am

Your pizza looks delicious!! I would eat that ;) Ever since I went to Italy and had their version, I have banned US pizza from entering my mouth. Worlds different!!

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kat June 7, 2009 at 12:00 am

The only pizza we go out for not is a wonderful wood-fire cooked pizza but mainly we make our own including the crust. I think my favorite right now is topped with some good sticky Italian cheese grilled asparagus

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Lacey Bean June 7, 2009 at 12:00 am

That looks delicious!! You should go on Scott’s NYC Pizza Tour – this guy LOVES everything about pizza and gives a great tour of lower Manhattan and all the pizza haunts, and you get three awesome slizes of authentic NY pizza. Yum!

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elra June 7, 2009 at 12:00 am

Your Spinach Ricotta Pizza with Olive Oil Dough sounds scrumptious.

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Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) June 7, 2009 at 12:00 am

Shame on Domino’s Pizza. That list of ingredients is terrifying. Your pizza, on the other hand, looks delightful, and is just the kind of pie I like to make when I have fresh basil from my garden.

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Chrissy June 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

Can there be just ONE favorite kind of pizza? I like pizza all different ways – with pepperoni, sausage, or meatballs, loaded with vegetables, with “gourmet” toppings, etc. etc. I’m also partial to one particular white pizza with spinach and breaded eggplant, and I’ll admit there’s also a time and place for buffalo chicken pizza. (Clearly I just love pizza.) But the best pizza, by far, is always homemade. I love making my own crust; half of the fun is in actually making the pizza – although eating it isn’t bad either. :-) Also – I love the addition of ricotta here. Great pizza must have ricotta. (I’m pretty sure that rule is written somewhere.)

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Jenn June 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

THAT is pizza! As a NY to DC transplant, I’m always fighting a losing battle with people who think Papa John’s is “good pizza”. Don’t get me started. My favorite kind — thin-crust margherita pizza with fresh tomato sauce and basil, real mozzarella and good olive oil.

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Debbie Davis June 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

I love homemade pizza! Especially when our family makes it together!

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FatFighterTV June 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

That looks soooooo good! I love pizza with mushrooms and black olives on a whole wheat thin crust – perfect.
I have never heard of a pizza peeler. ;)

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The Food Hunter June 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

Olive oil dough sounds yummy!

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Janice June 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

Yum! This pizza looks so good, my stomach is growling. I agree about the pizza peel- it’s hard to do the transfer without it! I also like making pizza on the grill in the summer.

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mandy June 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

This looks fantastic. Lately my favorite pizza to make is veggie pizza.

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RobinSue June 8, 2009 at 12:00 am

I love to make pizza and homemade is the best every time. Great photos!

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lisa (dandysugar) June 9, 2009 at 12:00 am

Looks delicious! I agree, pizza doesn’t have to = unhealthy. I love making pizzas simple, like you have done here. What a great crust recipe!

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Kerstin June 9, 2009 at 12:00 am

Looks fantastic – I love ricotta and spinach together on pizza! I consider it healthy if it has spinach on it :)

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Bridgett June 9, 2009 at 12:00 am

Homemade pizza is always the best. I love the use of the ricotta here.

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bodeloublogs June 9, 2009 at 12:00 am

my favorites? ooo i dont know about that but i did replicate the Sweet Tea and sausage pizza made by Richard on Top Chef a few seasons ago. it was truly heavenly.

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Whit June 16, 2009 at 12:00 am

I want some pizza!

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