Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chard and ricotta deep-dish pizza

Laura just got a large cast-iron pan, which is fantastic. Much as I love my tiny cast-iron pan (thanks Grandma Jeanne!) it's great to have a larger one around. One of the inaugural use cases she wanted to try is deep-dish pizza, with a nice bready crust that gets crispy around the edges from the oil in the pan. This crust, a consensus of several things around the internet, worked quite well. The chard-ricotta filling was a good idea but a bit bland--I'd recommend sprinkling a bit of a sharper cheese on top for extra bubble and zing.

crust for 2 deep-dish pizzas:
2 t yeast
1.25 c warm water
1/4 c olive oil
2 c bread flour
1.5 all-purpose flour
1 t salt

In the morning, combine flours and salt in a large bowl, and combine yeast and liquids in a small bowl. Pour the liquids into the flour and knead for several minutes to form a sticky dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

About an hour before you want to bake the pizzas, take the dough out of the fridge and transfer it to a floured surface. Punch it down, cut it in half, and pat each half into a round about the size of your hand. Let sit and warm up while you prepare the toppings.

filling for 1 deep-dish pizza:
1 large or 2 small onions, thinly sliced
knob of butter
4 large leaves chard, cut along the stem then cut across the stem into thin strips
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 c ricotta
salt and pepper

Caramelize the onions in the butter. Add the chard and cook until wilted and dry. Stir in the lemon zest, ricotta, and seasonings.

to assemble:
Preheat oven to 450F and brush your dishes with olive oil (we used a large cast-iron pan and a 9" springform). Pull each round of dough into a uniformly-flat circle slightly larger than its pan, carefully transfer the dough into the pan, and press the extra dough up the sides to create the crust. Top with the toppings: spread the chard-ricotta mixture into the springform, and put something else on the cast-iron pan (such as the one pictured below with pizza sauce, sauteed spinach+mushrooms+garlic, and grated mozzarella). Brush the exposed crust with olive oil, and bake for about 20 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. Cool for a few minutes before cutting each pizza into 8-12 small slices to serve.

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