Saturday, February 20, 2010

Recipe: Spinach Pie

A week or two ago, I had some leftover pizza dough from a previous pizza night and I needed a quick meal. Noticing that I had some frozen spinach left over in the freezer from a spinach pasta making session, I immediately thought of a Rhode Island Treat--spinach pies.

Though they go by other names, these calzone-like entrees are a real Rhode Island tradition. They're often found in Italian bakeries alongside "pizza strips" or "party pizza" (cold, cheesless strips of pizza...another story). You buy them cold and heat them up, maybe adding a little mozzarella inside or some sliced black olives.

Anyway, here's my version of quick Rhode Island-style Spinach Pie

Spinach Pies
Prepared pizza dough
Frozen Spinach
Ricotta Cheese, drained if very moist
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
salt and pepper

1) Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Insert a pizza stone into the cold oven if you have one.
2) Using your hands and a mesh strainer or a tea towel, squeeze as much moisture out of the spinach as you can.
3) In a small saute pan, saute the onions in a little olive oil or butter with a pinch of salt until soft but not browned. Add garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrent. Add spinach and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook on low until just heated through. Put aside and cool slightly.
4) Form the dough into 9-inch rounds, fairly thin. Place them on a sheet pan or pizza peel dusted with flour or cornmeal.
5) Spread a 1/4-inch layer of ricotta onto each round of dough.
6) Spread a layer of the spinach mixture on top of the ricotta.
7) Top with mozzarella and fold the round over into a half-circle shape. Optionally crimp the edges (or just leave them open).
8) Optionally brush the tops with egg wash and bake at 475 until puffed and golden-brown. Bake directly on pizza stone if using.
9) Cool slightly, slice in half and serve. Goes great with heated marinara for dipping.

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