Spinach Pesto Pizza

Last week I had the bright idea to make homemade pizza and try to sneak some spinach in it.  Spinach Pesto Pizza!  Ah, the cleverness of me.  I’ll go ahead and give away the ending…the sneaky part didn’t work out so well.  Addison spotted the green right away and was in tears at the thought of having to eat anything green.  Yes, tears.  I stood my ground because 1) it tasted awesome 2) he needs more green in his diet – a 7 year old boy cannot survive on carrots alone and 3) because I’m the mom and I said do, damn it.

He did end up eating a piece after having attempted to scrape as much green off as he could.  He did consume some spinach and admitted that it wasn’t that bad to which I replied “Come on, you just don’t want to admit how good it was.”  His reply, “I give it an 80.”  That’s a B.  I’ll take it.

Should you decide to subject your family to the torture that is eating green pizza here’s what you need:

Pesto:

4-5 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 roasted sunflower seeds
4 garlic cloves
juice from 1/2 a lemon
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Combine first 6 ingredients in a food processor.  Go easy on the salt because the sunflower seeds are already salted.

Turn on the food processor and stream in the olive oil until you have a green paste.  I’m guessing I used about 1/3 cup but really I have no idea.

Dough:

I used my bread machine on the dough setting

1 tsp dry yeast
3  3/8 cup (16 3/4 oz.) bread flour
1 Tbs. milk powder
1 3/4 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. butter
1 7/16 cup (11 3/4 fl. oz.) water

Other ingredients:

1 jar of pasta sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese

Once the dough is done kneading the machine, turn it out onto a floured surface.  Knead it a few times until it feels elastic then put it in a large bowl that has been coated with olive oil or sprayed with cooking spray.  Lightly rub olive oil on the top of the dough, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

Let it rise until it doubles in size, about 30 minutes to an hour.  Punch it down and recover.  Repeat.  Once you have let it rise place it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the pizza.

Once you’re ready to make the pizza cut the dough in half.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone put the stone into the cold oven and let it heat up.  The last time I tried to make pizza I didn’t have a pizza stone and just used a baking sheet.  I made one major mistake…I didn’t sprinkle corn meal on the baking sheet or cook it at the right temp.  Epic fail.  My mom read about my pizza stone lament way back then and gifted me her seasoned pizza stone that she no longer uses.  Moms, aren’t they great?

Anyhoo – generously sprinkle flour onto a wood cutting board or flat baking sheet (one that does not have a rim).  Don’t skimp of the flour when kneading.  The first time around I didn’t use enough and it was the dickens getting the pizza off the cutting board.  It was a misshapen, cheesy mess.

This is what happens when you don’t use enough flour on the board to knead and shape the dough.  It won’t slide off onto the pizza stone and turns into a saucy, cheesy glob of pizza.  Just keeping it real here, folks.

Knead the dough and form it into a circle or oval or square or any shape that will hold sauce.

Spread a layer of pesto then top with a layer of pasta sauce (I like Prego but any brand will do).  Top with a generous helping of mozzarella cheese.

Here’s where it get’s tricky.  Take the pizza stone out of the oven.  Please be careful as it is very hot.  Also – if your kids like to help you cook, now is not the time for their little hands to be in the mix.  The stone is way to hot and the probability of a huge mess is high.

Sprinkle corn meal onto the pizza stone.  This will keep the pizza from sticking.  Slide the pizza from the cutting board to the pizza stone.  If you have used enough flour then the pizza should look more like an ugly pizza rather than a pizza blob.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 -20 minutes.

That’s more like it!

Now you should be able to easily slide the pizza back to the cutting board so you can cut and serve.

As you can see, the green is poking it’s evil little head out.  I’m not sure how to avoid that.  Maybe less pesto?  But then that defeats the purpose of trying to get your family to eat more green.  Who the heck knows.  I can’t win.

While Addison gave it a B, Dear Husband gave it a B+.  He preferred the pesto on pasta the next night.  I however, tell this pizza to go straight to the front of the class.  You get an A!

6 Responses

  1. sharidominick

    Hi Stephanie! thanks for visiting my blog from SITS! I love pesto sauce but have never actually made it! I’m going to try your recipe!
    Blessings!

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