I know what you’re thinking: veggie pizza – bleh. Or at least that was Kevin’s reaction as he pulled bags of arugula and spinach out of the grocery bag. I get it – when you picture the pizza of your dreams you see tomato sauce, pepperoni or crumbled sausage perhaps – certainly not heaps of garlicky greens and ricotta. I’m here to change that.
Light, very green, with a salty bacon bite, it really is the perfect excuse for a weeknight pizza dinner. Also, I had just finished a fantastic bread baking class, which sent me home with an obscene amount of bready goodness, including one fresh batch of pizza dough. So, pizza was in the cards for us this week regardless – no complaints here.
The pizza dough is super simple. It goes from bowl to toppings ready in 1 hour and totally eliminates any fears you might have about using yeast (or is that just a fear of mine?). The end result is crisp, with the perfect amount of chew and holds up beautifully beneath a generous layer of your favorite toppings – even if they aren’t the green kind.
White Pizza with Arugula & Bacon
Pizza dough recipe via Le Pain Quotidien’s Bread Baking Basics| Yields 2 9″×13″ rectangular pizzas or 2 12″ round pizzas. Serves 4 for dinner or 2 if you like leftovers as much as we do.
- 500 grams bread flour, unbleached (my instructor swears by King Arthur brand)
- 350 grams water (ideally 90 degrees F for hand mixing or 70 degrees F if using standing mixer)
- 10 grams sea salt
- 1 gram instant dry active yeast
♦ For whole wheat dough, use 250 g. whole wheat flour, 250 g. unbleached flour, 370 g. water, and 3 g. instant dry active yeast ♦
- 8 slices thick cut bacon, diced
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cups arugula
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup ricotta
- 2/3 cup grated mozzarella
- 1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino
- Red pepper flake (optional)
To make the dough, add dry ingredients to a large bowl, pour the water over and mix together with your hands until everything comes together into a ball. Flip out of bowl and onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough into a smooth ball (about 10 minutes). Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for 1 hour.
Grab your pizza pan & stone or any old baking sheet – if using a baking sheet coat it with a thin layer of olive oil or non stick cooking spray. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F and if applicable, place your pizza stone in the oven now so it heats up too.
After 1 hour, scrape the dough out of the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Flour the top of the dough, cut the dough in half and form it into two balls. Grab each piece with floured hands, pull it apart a few times to get it started and then place it onto your prepared baking sheet or pizza pan. Use floured fingers to press it into rounds or misshapen rectangles like mine.
Time for toppings! Add the bacon to a sauce pan over medium heat and cook until just lightly browned; it will crisp up more in the oven. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel reserving 1 tbsp bacon fat in the pan. Add garlic and sauté for a minute before adding the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove pan from heat, add arugula, give everything a toss and set aside.
Head back to your dough and top them with the mozzarella and pecorino cheeses. Pile on the greens, sprinkle on the bacon, and cover them with scoops of ricotta. Place them in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until the top is bubbly and the crust is golden.
Slide pizzas onto a cutting board, slice, and serve immediately.