DEEP DISH SPINACH PIZZA
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and I've been to some wonderful deep dish pizzerias including Gino's East and Pizzeria Uno. The challenge to making deep dish pizza is to keep the bottom crust from getting soggy. In this recipe a thick layer of cheese (in this case non-dairy cheese) is put right on top of the crust to seal it then the other ingredients are added. The top layer is sauce and my favorite option is a traditional and simple puree of canned tomatoes. This pizza would also be nice with a layer of thickly sliced fresh tomatoes (patted down with paper towels to dry them a bit) in lieu of the sauce.
This recipe fits a 12" diameter lightweight aluminum pizza pan.
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 c. warm water (110 degrees F)
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. sea salt
2 1/2 - 2 3/4 c. unbleached flour
28 oz. no-salt-added canned whole tomatoes, drained
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tsp. dried oregano
Filling: 3 1/2 c. grated non-dairy cheese such as Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Monterey Jack (about 10 oz.)
1/2 lb. (8 oz.) spinach, rinsed well, deveined, torn into bite-size pieces
Puree all sauce ingredients together and set aside.
To make dough, dissolve yeast in the water with the agave nectar. Add remaining ingredients and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. You can mix this with a Kitchenaid mixer for 4 minutes at medium speed or by hand for 10 minutes. I use the food processor and knead this dough by letting it revolve around the bowl 20 times after the dough comes together in a ball.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Rinse the spinach well, remove the stems, tear into bite-size pieces and let drain in a colander while making the rest of the pizza.
Puree all sauce ingredients together until smooth.
DO NOT PUNCH DOUGH DOWN. Instead, transfer it gently to a greased 12" deep dish pizza pan and gently push the dough to fill the pan. Spread the dough up the sides of the pan for 1 1/2".
Spread cheese evenly on top of the dough. Place spinach on top of the cheese and then spread tomato puree over the top. Bake in the center rack of your oven for 30 minutes or until crust is a deep golden brown and pulls away from the sides of the pan and the cheese has melted. Let pizza rest several minutes before cutting and serving.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 422 Calories; 21g Fat (43.6% calories from fat); 10g Protein; 52g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 632mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 2 Fat.