We used frozen spinach for the filling, which was thawed and most importantly, squeezed as dry as we could get it. I used to use a kitchen towel to expel the excess water, which was a bit of a hassle, but for the past few years my favorite way to get this done is to use our potato ricer. It works well and we don't end up with a green-tinged towel to wash!
To loosen and push a splash of excitement into the bowl of squished spinach, a healthy scoop of ricotta was worked in, along with several grates from a block of Asiago we had in the refrigerator. A couple cloves of minced garlic also joined the party and because it adds a novel spark to spinach that is hard to explain, a touch of nutmeg. It's one of those je ne sais quoi moments - hard to put your finger on and while you don't get an overwhelming nutmeg presence, it definitely adds an element that would be missed if left out.
Thick and cheesy, that spinach mixture was then spread over the dough, which we stretched out into a fairly thin rectangle. Rolled up tightly into a thick, sausage-like log, the seam and ends were sealed before moving it over onto a baking sheet. You don't have to line the pan with parchment paper, but it makes clean up a breeze - especially if any of the filling decides to leak out.
To lending a helping golden hand to the dough, allowing it to evenly brown all over, the log was brushed with a couple teaspoons of olive oil just before baking. You'll want to let this loaf cool for a minimum of ten minutes before using a serrated knife to slice off rounds - I rushed this (hungry!) and felt a few extra minutes would have given us better looking portions. I left out any heat from the filling as we served bowls of a garlicky homemade sauce on the side for dipping that already had a spicy bite - you could always add a pinch or two of crushed red or cayenne pepper if you like.
In the end, it mattered more that we went back for seconds, nearly finishing off the whole loaf, than if this legitimately fit with a pizza theme or not! I knew we would be left with extra ricotta and there was just enough to make a snazzy dessert tomorrow night - that Ricotta Cappuccino we first made back in '07! Can't wait!
Hot Ricotta Spinach Loaf