We used to honor the family tradition of Pizza and a Movie Night. Being me, I would make homemade pizza. Usually Grace would "help." But we haven't yet found a pizza dough that we can all agree on. Jason and Grace don't like the flavor of whole grain in their crust, and I think that most homemade breads made with only all-purpose flour or bread flour lack a compelling flavor. For a while we used a King Arthur recipe that called for a mixture of semolina and AP flour, but lately we've simply foregone the tradition. Every once in a while we'll get a couple of frozen pizzas at Trader Joes, top them with pepperoni and mushrooms and really enjoy it, but it isn't very "green" to eat something shipped frozen all the way from Italy...
Recently though I found a recipe I wanted to try: Spinoccoli Pizza from Annie's Eats. I know it's odd, but when spinach first becomes available in the farmers market in the winter, it's been so long since I've had it that I crave it. I know, a spinach craving? What am I, a vegan? But is it less dorky if I explain that this preparation includes a creamy garlic sauce, cheese and bacon? Annie makes what she calls a Spinoccoli Pizza (modeled after a pizzeria in her hometown): with creamy garlic sauce, spinach leaves, broccoli florets, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. I lightened up the sauce, using milk instead of cream, and I added bacon. And to make it easier than pizza, I assembled it as open-faced sandwiches using sliced french bread that was in our freezer.
Spinoccoli Open-Faced Sandwiches
Adapted from Annie's Eats' Spinoccoli Pizza
Sliced french bread, sheepherders bread or other bread of your choice (stale bread is fine, if you like a crispy crust)
Garlic Sauce (see below)
6 slices bacon
1/2 cup packed spinach leaves
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets (about 1 cup florets; reserve the stalk for another use)
2 ounces each cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese, shredded
Grated Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes for serving, if desired
1. Drizzle bread with olive oil. If bread is soft and fresh, toast it in a warm oven before topping.
2. Preheat oven to 400º. While oven is preheating, cook bacon. You can do this in the oven or in a frying pan, however you prefer. Prepare Garlic Sauce. Wash and dry spinach. Cut broccoli into florets. Crumble bacon or cut into small pieces.
3. Spread Garlic Sauce on bread. This is a thick sauce, and I found that the bread could stand up to a heavier application of creamy garlic sauce than a standard tomato sauce. Top sauce with spinach, broccoli, bacon and cheese.
4. Bake at 400º for 6-8 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and bread has crisped. Let cool 3 minutes before serving.
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup milk of half-n-half
1 clove of garlic, cut or crushed into 2 pieces
salt and pepper
6 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
In your smallest saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute. Then whisk in milk. Add garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce boils. Boil and stir one minute to thicken. Remove from heat, remove garlic and stir in cheese.