Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spinach Alfredo Pizza

We have another Big Green Egg in the family.

Nah, I didn't buy a third one, my sister bought herself a large BGE.  This week she came up to her nearby cabin with my parents, her son, and his girlfriend for an Autumn vacation in the scenic Great Smoky Mountains.  Most of the time was filled with family visits, misty waterfalls, and traveling the curvy mountain roads lined with gold and red trees.  But she made sure she included a day to come by our house for a quick lesson on how to use a Big Green Egg.

One of the things we showed her was how to use the BGE as a ceramic oven to make wood fired pizzas.  This is one of the pizza recipes we made that day.  It's nothing unique but there's a reason so many people make spinach alfredo pizza - it's so good.

Spinach Alfredo Pizza

  • 1 ball pizza dough*
  • 1/2 cup garlicky alfredo sauce (see recipe below)
  • 3 cups fresh spinach* (tightly packed)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese*
  • garnish:  red pepper flakes
  1. Melt butter in a pot over medium high heat.  Add spinach, season with a pinch or two of salt and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally,  until it is all thoroughly wilted down.  Drain and press in a colander to get all the moisture out.  You don't want a soggy pizza.
  2. Preheat the Big Green Egg (or your brick oven or regular oven) to 550f.  The set up for the Egg is with the plate setter in, legs down.
  3. Sprinkle some corn flour on a surface and spread out the dough.  Dock the dough by stabbing it all over with a fork.  Place on a pre-heated pizza stone and put it in the Egg for 2-3 minutes*.
  4. Carefully remove the dough and stone from the Egg.  Lightly coat with the alfredo sauce.  Top with the spinach and cheese.  Put back in the Egg until the crust is golden and the cheese is cooked through, about 8-9 minutes.
  5. Carefully remove, allow the pizza to cool on a rack for 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Pizza Dough - We used Publix's 5 grain pizza dough as recommended by my Egghead neighbor, John M.   Very good when you don't feel like making your own.
  • Spinach - sounds like a lot but trust me, it will cook down to nothing.
  • Cheese - this amount is a SWAG, I just sprinkle it on until it's lightly covered.  
Garlicky Alfredo Pizza Sauce  makes enough for 2 pizzas

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Melt butter in a small pot and simmer garlic until fragrant and just starting to turn golden (1-2 minutes).
  2. Add the flour and stir into a light roux (about another minute).
  3. Slowly add about 1/4th of the half and half, whisking furiously until well blended.  Whisk in the remaining half and half, bring to a simmer.  Simmer (NOT BOIL) 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.
  4. Stir in the cheese in small batches until blended in.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.  I probably used 3-4 pinches of salt and 3 twists from a pepper grinder, so not a whole lot. 
Pre-cooking the dough gives a little crisper crust that we like.

Ready to go in the BGE.

Coals as hot as the sun make short work of the pizza.

Sprinkle with some red pepper flakes to spice it up a bit.

We also made a pepperoni pizza.

Here's a shot from the fire tower on top of Wayah Bald during our visit with my family last weekend.

We also found a red pizza sauce that we're happy with and it will probably be our "go to" sauce.  It's aptly named Ultimate Pizza Sauce and we made it as written. 

So my sister has had her crash course on the Big Green Egg and it sounds like her first cook on her Egg is going to be a pork butt for smoked pulled pork.  I know she'll nail it.  Plus, she has my number like that Butterball Turkey Hotline if she needs it.