Monday, November 23, 2015

White Pizza with Spinach and Avocado

This pizza sounds kind of weird, but is super delicious and a fun change of pace from our usual recipes.  Whole wheat pizza dough gets spread with garlic-spiked ricotta, and then piled high with raw spinach and fresh mozzarella.  The spinach cooks down in the oven, and the cheese melts and gets extra gooey.  I like including the spinach raw rather than pre-cooking it both because it's easier and because I think the texture turns out a little better.  Finally, arrange slices of fresh avocado on top of the hot pie right after it comes out of the oven for the perfect rich, green finishing touch.  Because of the avocado, this pizza doesn't keep as well as other recipes for leftovers, so I recommend making just as much as you plan to eat for dinner.

White Pizza with Spinach and Avocado (adapted from the Kitchn, original recipe here)

12-18 ounces whole wheat pizza dough
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few handfuls of baby spinach
6 ounces whole milk fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 Hazz avocado, pitted and thinly sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil.  Spray with oil.
2. Spread the dough out on the baking sheet to your desired thickness.  Bake until dry on top and just starting to brown -- as this pizza has wet toppings, you want to make sure the crust won't get soggy.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the ricotta, cream, and garlic, and season with salt and pepper.
4. Spread the ricotta mixture over the pizza.  Top with baby spinach -- it will cook down in the oven, so don't be afraid of a fairly thick layer.  Top the spinach with mozzarella.
5. Bake until the crust is crispy and the mozzarella is melted. If the cheese needs a little help to get browned, pass it under the broiler for a minute or two.
6. Top with thinly sliced avocado, slice, and serve hot.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

SRC: White Bean-Leek Soup

My partner for this month's Secret Recipe Club was Susan of The Wimpy Vegetarian. As the weather has been getting chillier here in Boston, I knew I wanted to pick something warm and comforting from her blog.  I really liked the look of Susan's curried cauliflower and greens mac and cheese and her breakfast polenta cake, but ultimately I decided that I couldn't skip her flageolet bean soup.  This is a great dish to pack in lunches because you can make it ahead on the weekend, and it keeps very well in the fridge.  Plus, it's delicious and just screams "fall!" to me, especially with the inclusion of fresh sage.  This would also make a good supper with some crusty bread on the side.

White Bean-Leek Soup (adapted from The Wimpy Vegetarian, original recipe here)
Serves 4 as large servings, or more as an appetizer or side dish

1 cup dried tarbais, flageolet, or other white beans
Olive oil
2 leeks, thinly sliced
15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 or 2 sprigs of fresh sage
3/4 tsp dried thyme
Vegetable broth, as needed
Salt and pepper
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1. Soak the beans overnight, and then drain and add to a soup pot.  Cover with water by a few inches, and simmer until tender (depends on the bean, but count on 45-90 minutes).  Set a colander over a bowl, and drain the beans, reserving the bean broth.
2. Rinse out the soup pot, and heat a generous drizzle of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the leeks, and cook until well softened and a little browned.  Add back the beans, tomatoes, sage, and thyme, along with a couple of cups of the reserved bean broth.  Add more bean broth and/or vegetable oil to thin the soup o the consistency you like.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.  Remove the sage sprigs before serving.
3. Just before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar, taste, and adjust seasoning.