Sometimes I get lazy. You may have figured that out from my recent lack of posts here. Pizza is a nice comfort food, but I don’t want to go through the trouble of from scratch crusts or specific shopping just for ingredients. I’ll use what I tend to keep around the house and will start with a store bought crust. Like I said, sometimes I get lazy. Yes, this makes it an Italian-American Pizza Pie and not the most perfected and beautiful classical pizzas. That is okay. We’ll cover no-knead dough crusts and from scratch later. For now, let me show you how easy it is to make a delicious pizza in little time. This is an Italian-American style pie, not your traditional Italian pie, so be warned.
Remember the red sauce? Get some of it, preferably of the blitzed variety that is leftover from your batch. One of the secrets of pizza is the need to get as much moisture out of the ingredients as possible. Simmer the leftover sauce a little bit to thicken it for this purpose.
Spinach is a staple in the fridge so that will be used for the toppings. To make them more interesting, I am taking a page from Caesar salad dressing. Oil and then a pair of anchovy fillets packed in oil. They won’t be fishy. I promise.
- Premade Pizza Crust (We are being lazy here)
- Parmigiano-regiano & dried oregano (optional)
1. Get your red sauce ready. Blitz and simmer it down just a little bit so there is as little moisture left as possible. You will need ½ cup at most for a 10” pizza round.
2. We are taking a tip from Caesar dressing here. Start with a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add one or two anchovy filets. This won’t make it fishy, but will give some salty earthiness to the spinach that we are going to cook in it. Preferably, use anchovy fillets in a glass jar. Metal tins can’t be used to store leftovers because they will encourage bacterial growth. Go glass.
3. Break the anchovies up in the oil until they are a paste.
4. Add the spinach to the pan.
5. Prepare your premade crust. This will mean laying it out and rubbing or brushing a little bit of olive oil on it.
6. Stir the spinach so that it is cooking down. Like the red sauce in Step 1, we want to cook as much water out as possible while coating the spinach with our anchovy infused oil.
7. Spread your sauce on the crust. It won’t be much. It will just barely cover the entirety of the crust.
8. Add the spinach evenly around the pie
9. Add some good mozzarella cheese. Here is where you don’t want to use the preshredded stuff. Get as good a mozz as you can afford to use here.I keep a ball or two of it in the house at all times.
10. Sprinkle on some dried oregano, grated parmigiano-reggiano, (Optional)
11. Bake. If you are using a baking sheet, I have found a layer of aluminum foil underneath enhances the baking. It will absorb & redirect heat to the bottom to help make up for the fact that we are being lazy.
12. Bake at a temp and for a time the premade crust recommends.
13. Remove. Slice. Eat.
Other toppings are limited only by your imagination and your pantry. Artichoke hearts add a nice saltiness. Broiled or pan seared asparagus is great. If you have lunch meat that needs to be used, here is your chance. Pizza is one of the dishes that you can turn to when you have to finish a load of leftover. One of my favorites is a potato and white bean puree with sage leaves and thin slices of leftover steak.
If you are making the dough from scratch, you can go for a classic Italian version where you use nothing but fresh ingredients and cook it at a temperature as blistering as you can manage. One good method is to turn on the broiler and get it heated while you have a cast iron or other heavy & conductive base in the oven. Place the crust on the cast iron and cook quickly. But that will be a different blog post!