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Spinach, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Pizza

From "Pizza, Pasta, and More!" by Wolfgang Puck

1 package active dry or fresh yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 F)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (preferably kosher) salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

2 tablespoons homemade or store-bought pesto
1 cup baby spinach leaves, stemmed, washed and dried
1 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)
1 1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese (2 ounces)
1 large (preferably Roma) tomato, ends trimmed and cut into 7 slices
1/2 cup button mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 1/2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Pinch of minced fresh oregano leaves
Pinch of minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese


To prepare dough: In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in 1/4 cup of the warm water. In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Add the oil, your mixture and the remaining 3/4 cup of water and mix on low speed until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes. (The pizza dough also can be made in a food processor.

Dissolve the yeast as above. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse once or twice, add the remaining ingredients and process until the dough begins to form a ball.)

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should be smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled.) Divide the dough into 4 balls, about 6 ounces each. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball.

Repeat 4 or 5 times. Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days. (You will need 1 of the balls for this recipe; the others can be used for additional pizzas.) Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 F.

To add toppings: Dip 1 ball of dough into flour, shake off the excess flour, place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface and start to stretch the dough. Press down on the center, spreading the dough into an 8-inch circle, with the outer border a little thicker than the inner circle. (Use a small rolling pin, if needed.)

Brush the inner circle with the pesto. Arrange the spinach leaves on the dough, then the mozzarella, Fontina, tomato, mushrooms, blue cheese, herbs and Parmesan. Bake until the dough is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

Transfer onto a firm surface and cut with a pizza cutter or a large knife. Serve immediately. Yields 1 (8-inch) pizza.





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