Spinach was the first topic for Fall Fest 2010 that begins today and continues each Wednesday throughout the fall. I'm hoping to participate in this and challenge myself to come up with a recipe that hi-lights the ingredient and/or topic for each week that celebrates fall.
For spinach, I made a spinach and artichoke pizza. I cheated and bought a whole wheat pizza dough ball at the bakery because I didn't have the time on a weeknight to make the dough myself. It was still really good and I love that I can get a pretty healthy pizza crust when I need. I liked this pizza a lot. It's a good way to get a lot of greens into something that everyone will enjoy.
Spinach and artichoke pizza
1 whole wheat pizza dough
2 bunches fresh spinach, washed
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 jars of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 to 1-1/2 cups milk or cream
1 to 1-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sprinkling
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 to 1-1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
sprinkling of fresh or dried oregano, optional
extra virgin olive oil
Begin by cooking your onions in a small skillet with the olive oil over low heat. Stir occasionally until they turn golden and sweet. In a medium sauce pan, warm about a tablespoon of olive oil and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 2 minutes and then whisk in the flour and cook for another 3 minutes, whisking to prevent burning. Add the milk/cream and whisk until the flour is combined. Keep whisking until the sauce begins to thicken (about 5-7 minutes). Once the sauce begins to thicken, begin adding the Parmesan cheese until the sauce thickens and becomes cheesy enough to you (give it a taste and keep whisking). Set aside the sauce. In a large skillet, wilt the spinach. Once it's wilted, place it in a colander or a towel and squeeze it until you get out as much liquid as possible. Then stir it into the sauce.
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Knead your dough and roll it out onto a pizza stone (or whatever you use to cook your pizzas). Once it is ready, begin assembling your pizza. Start by covering the dough with your spinach alfredo sauce. Then top with mozzarella cheese. Place onions and artichoke hearts on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese and the oregano, if using. Cook for about 20-30 minutes (depending on your crust thickness), or until the pizza turns golden and the crust has cooked. Let sit for about 5 minutes before slicing.