Friday, September 05, 2008

Spinach, Caramelized Onion and Bacon Pizza...

I have yet another recipe to share for our weekly Friday Night Pizza (well, for now anyway)! I think a riot may ensue if I don't keep this up... someone has gotten quite used to it! Thankfully, there are endless ways to prepare pizza and this Spinach, Caramelized Onion and Bacon Pizza I made tonight is keeping in line with the "unusual" toppings for us! I take that back... maybe not as "unusual" to us anymore since we have really been branching out from the usual sauce, cheese and meat toppings!

To stand up to the weight of this pizza's toppings, we went with the one-pound version of our favorite whole-wheat dough. This gave us a bit thicker crust to work with and allowed me to form a decent rim around the outside to keep all those delicious ingredients in place.

Once I had whirled the dough in the food processor (again... so easy to do!) and set it to rest, I started crisping up a few slices of smoky bacon. I reserved a couple teaspoons of the flavorful drippings the bacon expelled in a small bowl and then tossed in a hefty amount of baby spinach into the skillet. When wilted down, I transferred the tender leaves out into a colander, added the dippings back into the skillet and threw a mess of thinly sliced onions into the pan. We want these to turn a rich golden brown and caramelize, so to help the process along, we also added a couple teaspoons of granulated sugar.

This process still takes a bit of time, so I also had a pot on the stove going to prepare a light, creamy and garlicky white sauce to use instead of a tomato-based sauce. To a couple tablespoons of bubbling melted butter, we added a couple cloves worth of minced garlic and let them cook to mellow their flavor. Flour, along with fresh ground black pepper, is tossed in and after a few seconds, milk is gradually whisked in so no lumps form. If, for some reason, you do gets lumps, don't be afraid to take a handy immersion blender to the sauce and smooth it out.

Now that the toppings have been all prepped (whew - a little more work than your average pizza for sure!), we easily stretched out the dough to a rough circle and turned over the outer edges to form a rim. We stretched the dough to probably around 13" and it was about 12" after we formed the edge. Before you layer the spinach, be sure to give it a few squeezes with your hand (or use a potato ricer as we've mentioned before!) to get rid of the excess moisture - you don't want a wet pizza! As this point, the creamy sauce, spinach and caramelized onions are the only toppings you want to add - this way you can let the thicker crust bake through, without having to worry about over-browning the cheese. Once the crust is crisp, the top is showered with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and the crumbles of bacon. After just a few short minutes back into the oven, the cheese has melted and the pizza is ready to go!

I loved how the sweetness from the golden onions, the savory nature of the garlicky sauce and the bright spinach harmonized together to set off the sharp cheese and salty bacon strewn on top of the crisp crust. Jeff was thrilled with the combination and decided to forgo any dessert (!) to have another slice or two later - so much for leftovers tomorrow (ok, so maybe it wasn't all his fault... I went back for more too!).


  1. I haven't tried any of your recipes yet, but my mouth is watering and I'm already loving your blog! Can't wait to try the whole wheat pizza dough. -Ari

  2. This looks great, Joe! I love the combination of carmelized onion and a long time vegetarian, I think I will add this to my list of fall recipes to try (minus the bacon, of course!)

  3. That pizza is right up my alley, Joe. Looks delicious.
    The only thing that could make slightly happier would be some marsala laced sauteed mushrooms on there. Bacon and mushroom pizza is a fav around this house. But with caramelized onions and spinach, too? A great combination. Yum.

    I want to tell you that your carrot orzo has been one of my go-to side dishes since seeing it here. Although, I must admit at times I've made it with rice when orzo wasn't in the pantry. So simple, so delicious. - Jo

  4. Another pizza night for us. I'll have to start taking pictures. I've been lazy to blog about it. Another great combination that you are sharing with us. Thanks.

  5. Ari - Give one of 'em a chance and let us know!

    KAnn - I hope you like this one (even minus the bacon!).

    Jo Ann - I'm glad to hear you like that carrot orzo dish! I've made it a couple times since and still enjoy it.

    Helene - I hope to see some pizza on your site soon!

  6. I'm drooling over here! Yum. Tomorrow night is pizza night for us and I have all the ingredients for this, including some nice organic spinach, onions and garlic from our CSA. Thanks so much!

  7. Nick - Enjoy! This was a favorite of ours.