As many of you may be aware, yesterday kicked off the season of Lent. For Christians, this is a season of preparation and sacrifice before Easter. And for Catholics, it means fasting and abstaining from meat on Fridays. Now many people find this as a lovely excuse to get a Mc-nasty-square-fish-on-a-bun. However, I am not in that number. I despise seafood in any form (you can tell me how wonderful you think fish is until you’re blue in the face, but you won’t change my mind – much to my mother’s chagrin!)
Before I started my cooking adventure a typical 6 weeks of Lent would look like this on Fridays:
Week 1 – Cheese pizza
Week 2 – Mac & cheese
Week 3 – Cheese pizza
Week 4 – Mac & cheese
Week 5 – (stroke of brilliance) French toast
Week 6 – Peanut butter sandwiches
Sad, sad, boring meals. Eventually I became aware that there were a whole slew of edible and delicious meatless options out there that didn’t involve fish. So during this season of Lent, I am going to share a meatless recipe with you on Thursdays, just in case you need an idea for Friday. You know, if you’re Catholic, or just cutting back on meat, or that vegetarian relative is coming to visit and you’re panicking, or something. Be sure to check out the meatless tag off to the side!
Today’s recipe is delicious and can be easily adapted to include meat should you choose, but is not really in the spirit of fasting and sacrifice. Baby steps, baby steps.
Whenever I go to Detroit, I always eat at a little Pizzeria called Pizza Papalis, and they make a mean Stuffed Chicago Style Pizza: rich, biscuity crust, an abundance of cheesy filling, and a chunky sauce to top it all off. Sadly, I don’t make it to Detroit often enough to satisfy my pizza cravings, so I have researched, and researched, and researched some more (for months, people), and have come up with a combination of crust, fillings and sauce that come about as close to Pizza Papalis as I think I can without infiltrating the company and stealing their recipe.
1 recipe of Chicago Style Pizza Dough (recipe follows)
1 recipe Italian Style Pizza Sauce (recipe follows)
3-4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
10 oz frozen spinach
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
3 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ cup yellow corn meal
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast (1 packet), also called rapid rise or bread machine yeast
1 ¼ cups water, room temperature
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp olive oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed until blended, about 1 minute.
Add the water and melted butter and continue missing on low speed until fully incorporated, 1-2 minutes. Scrape sides as necessary. Increase speed to medium low and knead until the dough is glossy and smooth and polls away from the sides of the bowl; 4-5 minutes.
Spray a separate bowl with cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turn to coat with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 60 minutes.
After an hour, turn the dough out onto a dry work surface and roll into a 12x12 square (approximate). Using an offset spatula, spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving a ½ inch border on each side.
Starting at a short end, begin rolling the dough into a tight cylinder. Place the dough seam side down and roll the cylinder flat, into a long rectangle. Fold the rectangle in thirds like a letter, pinching the ends to form a ball. Return the dough to the greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes, until the dough has doubled in size.
Makes: 2 lbs of dough or enough to make 1 stuffed or 2 9-inch deep dish pizzas
Cooked Italian Style Pizza Sauce
Recipe from The Cooking Photographer
Note: I recommend starting the sauce while your dough in raising in the refrigerator.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
Black pepper to taste
In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium-high heat and sauté garlic for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes (with their juice), salt, sugar, and black pepper (I used ½ - 1 tsp)
Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook uncovered on medium-low heat. Simmer until all the juices have evaporated and sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. After about 45 minutes, use a wooden spoon to break up the large tomato chunks. Continue cooking for another 15 minutes if necessary.
Makes about 1 ½ cups of sauce
Assembly and Baking
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Spray the sides and bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray.
Cook the spinach according to microwave instructions. Place the cooked spinach into a colander lined with a paper towel to drain liquid. When it is cool enough to handle, squeeze any additional liquid out of the spinach (otherwise you may get a soggy bottom crust).
Meanwhile, heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a small skillet. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms have released most of their liquid, around 7 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine mozzarella cheese and mushrooms. Crumble the spinach into the bowl and stir with your fingers to blend.
Take 2/3 of the pizza dough (1 1/3 lb) and roll into a 15-inch circle. Place the dough circle into the spring form pan and press up against the sides of the pan. Pour the cheese mixture on top of the dough.
Take the remaining 1/3 of the dough (2/3 lb) and roll into a 10 inch circle. Place on top of the filling and pinch the ends together. Using a fork, poke several air holes on the top piece of dough.
Place the pizza in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Turn the oven to 400 degrees F and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove pizza from the oven and top with the pizza sauce. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes (the edges of the crust will be very brown).
Remove pizza from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove the pizza from the spring form pan, and cut in 8 slices. Serve hot.
Makes: 1 9-inch stuffed pizza, cut into 8 slices.