Like any warm blooded American, pizza and I are best friends. Although our relationship recently has been closer to that of “frienemy” than best friends forever. You see, the disconnect lies with the sauce. Traditional “quick and easy” pizza sauce is more frequently sourced from a can, rather than an actual tomato. And that’s a problem for me. It’s metallic. It’s strangely reddish-orange. It’s often sickeningly sweet. It’s tomato only in name.
Thus, may I introduce to you the 3 cheese ricotta spread? It’s creamy. It’s tangy. It’s slightly salty and spicy and herby in all the right ways. And best of all? It does not come from a can. It’s mixed fresh and tastes like it.
A simple spread of ricotta on a cracker thin crust, topped with garlic sauteed spinach, roasted turkey, feta cheese, and a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan is enough to make my day. It’s simple enough for a week night, but fancy enough to impress.
Now, no more questions. Get cooking!
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl until it comes together. Dump the entire bowl out onto a clean work surface and knead until well combined. Lightly oil the same bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let rise an hour or two, or until it has doubled in size.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
6 ounces of fresh baby spinach, washed
7.5 ounces whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup roasted turkey (or chicken or sausage, or…), shredded or cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with the rack at the lowest spot.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the minced garlic. Cook for 3 minutes, not letting the garlic brown or burn. Add the spinach. At this point, it will look like too much spinach, but as it cooks, it will reduce in size. Toss the spinach and garlic together in the skillet so that each leaf wilts and none burn. After cooked, squeeze the excess water out of the spinach using a cheesecloth or clean (non-terry) kitchen towel. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Roll out the crust to your desired thickness and shape. Place the dough on a well oiled cookie sheet. Evenly spread the ricotta mixture over the dough, leaving room around the edges for the crust. Arrange the spinach on top of the ricotta mixture and then add the turkey and crumbled feta cheese.
Bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes. Top with the remaining parmesan cheese and enjoy!
I’ve found that the best way to reheat cold pizza, while creating a crispy bottom, is to heat it slowly in a skillet. I turn the heat to medium-low and place the pizza slice on the dry skillet. I then top it with the lid to “steam” cook the toppings while the bottom re-crisps. Since you’re using a dry skillet (as opposed to one you’ve added oil or butter to), clean up is easy!