Monday, January 16, 2012

Stuffed pizza for a winter day

Here comes my annual post. I've been craving pizza lately, so I made this kale-stuffed pizza for this week's lunch.

This recipe started originally came from an American Heart Association booklet as spinach-stuffed pizza, complete with a recipe for dough and instructions for a marinara-mushroom topping. I always take the easy route and just buy pre-made whole-wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe's. I'm not very big on mushrooms, either, so I usually go with extra cheese and pesto on the top instead. And while spinach is nice, it often gets a little to soggy between the crust. I've been using heartier greens like kale and collard greens in its place - they hold up better, give off less water, and the flavor is not much different. This recipe is very adaptable, so you can swap out ingredients to suit your own tastes.

Vegetable-stuffed Pizza

  • 1 package of whole-wheat pizza dough
  • 1/2 pouncd fresh spinach OR 1 bunch of other leafy greens (kale, collard greens)
  • 1 pound of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup marinara, pesto, or other sauce
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, chopped

Preheat the oven to 475°F and place the oven rack in the middle. Grease a pie tin with olive oil, making sure to cover the sides and creases.

Split the pizza dough into two equal pieces. Set one half aside. Stretch the other piece out to cover the bottom and sides of your pie tin. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork at 1-inch intervals. Bake the crust for 4-6 minutes, then remove to a rack and let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 450°.

While the bottom crust is cooling, wash the vegetables and chop them into bite-sized pieces. Heat a skillet with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and some salt in once hot, and let the pieces brown for about 1 minute. Add the vegetables in and stir occasionally, until they are bright green and wilted. (If you use kale or collard greens, you may also want to add a tablespoon or two of water about a minute after you add the vegetables to "steam" them. This will make them a little more tender.)

Layer about 3/4 of your cheese and all of your vegetables on top of the crust. Press the filling down with a spoon if it's higher than the sides of the pie tin. Stretch your second piece of pizza dough out to cover the top of the dish, tucking the edges around the bottom crust layer. Cut a 1-inch slit in the center of the top crust.

Top the crust with your sauce of choice and the remaining cheese. You can also add other toppings here, like sliced tomatoes or mushrooms.

Bake the pizza at 450° for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature again to 400° and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the edges are a deep golden-brown. Remove and let cool for 10-5 minutes before slicing.

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