spring pizza: ricotta, spinach, prosciutto
Who doesn’t love a flatbread especially with ricotta! When my sister was visiting a few weeks ago, I wanted her to treat her to a “fancier” slice than the pepperoni she gets at the UC Davis Coffee House. Nothing wrong with a simple slice of pizza, especially between classes on the go, but we should also savor the finer things in life. Again, Laura is a pizza aficionado and also a muse for when I make pies. She is very clear about what can and can’t go on the pizza and also what her particular mood is that day. However, I know that she is always game for ricotta, so whatever I put underneath or next to it, she will eat it! Ricotta is such an undersold pizza topping and I strongly believe it should be on most pizzas! It’s creamy and complements both sweet and savory toppings and it’s challenging to find an analogous topping that can do the same! Feta is salty, cream cheese is too smooth, cheddar is oily, and goat cheese is tangy. Mascarpone comes close but is a bit sweeter and creamier--perfect for pastas (we’ll get to that one day!)
I knew Laura would “be down” for ricotta which was the pillar of this spring winner! I included my new favorite base of sautéed mushrooms and leeks, which I also put on my Farm Pizza. It adds a light earthy and caramelized component! Salty prosciutto would contrast with the caramelized flavors and creamy cheese and I figured I would throw some spinach on for some green color.
I chose to name this particular pie, Spring Pizza I, because I am fairly confident that there will be more to come! Already thinking about peas & pesto… happy pizza making & eating!
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Spring Pizza I: Ricotta, Spinach & Prosciutto
1 cup of chopped leeks (~½ a medium leek)
4 oz of crimini mushrooms, chopped
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup ricotta
Handful of spinach, stems removed
4 slices of prosciutto, cut in half
Chili flakes, salt, pepper
Thyme, rosemary or fresh herb, chopped (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil (sauteeing and brushing on crust)
Large baking sheet or pizza stone, prepared: greased or lined with foil and greased.
Medium skillet or saute pan
Inactive: ~15 minutes while baking
Active: 25 minutes
Follow the instructions on the prepared pizza dough package, preheat the oven, and prepare pan. *I use the Trader Joe’s dough, so I preheat my oven to 450F and set the dough on a floured surface for 25 minutes to allow the dough to rise.
In a medium saute pan over medium heat, heat olive oil, add the leeks and mushrooms, and cook until lightly golden brown, ~5-6 minutes. Remove leeks and mushrooms from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
When the dough is ready, throw it or roll it out to the size of the baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and brush it out so the entire pizza is covered. Spoon and evenly spread mushrooms and leeks.
Sprinkle mozzarella over mushrooms and leeks. Using a spoon, drop tablespoons of ricotta over the mozzarella. *For a more uniform look, use a piping bag to put ricotta on the pizza.
Place spinach leaves on the pizza. Sprinkle chili flakes, black pepper, and fresh herbs.
Cook the pizza following the directions on the prepared pizza dough package. Remove from the oven when the crust is cooked and the cheese is golden brown. *Trader Joe’s suggest ~10 minutes at 450. I have found it’s more like ~15 minutes in my oven*
Place the pizza on a cooling rack if you have one. Place prosciutto on the pizza either in strips or as “roses.” Move pizza onto board. Slice and enjoy!
Notes & Tips
-The ricotta is a very moist (ew I hate that word!) topping, so the pizza crust may take longer to cook through--we noticed it in the middle of the pizza where there was a lot of ricotta.
-The spinach shrinks down so you can add more than you think!
-Garlic would be amazing with the sauteed mushrooms and leeks.
-Easy substitutes: Salami (prosciutto), fontina and parmesan (mozzarella), basil (spinach), onions (leeks).