One of the ways to spice up your pizza dining is to create different doughs, adding flavor and color to your pizza. This recipe is a take off of our basic pizza dough recipe but with the addition of spinach, ricotta cheese and an egg. The rest of the recipe is our basic pizza dough. For a nice touch use our basic white sauce with this dough (it is visually very appealing!) and top with thinly sliced red, green and yellow peppers.
1 cup fresh spinach (if you use frozen be sure to drain very well, it adds a lot of unneeded water)
1 cup ricotta cheese (I prefer the whole milk type)
1 large egg
4 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 packages dry yeast
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
3/4 cup warm (not hot) water
In a small bowl add 1/2 cup of warm water to the 2 teaspoons of light brown sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Into this add the 2 packages of dry yeast and stir until this is dissolved. Set aside for about 5 minutes while you prepare the other dry ingredients. The mixture will become quite frothy.
Put the ricotta cheese and spinach in your blender or food processor and blend at a high speed until you have a smooth, bright green paste.
Dust a surface with about 1/4 of flour, you will be kneading your pizza dough on this surface.
Into a large bowl sift 4 cups of the flour with the salt. Make a depression in the middle of the dry ingredients and add 3 teaspoons of the olive oil, the spinach mixture and the remaining 1 cup of warm water. After the yeast has risen for at least 5 minutes, add it to the flour mixture.
Mix all of the ingredients in the bowl with your hands until you can form a loose ball, then transfer this to the floured counter surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes by pushing the dough away from you with a heel of one hand and then folding the dough back towards you. Rotate the dough and repeat, adding flour to the surface as needed to keep the dough from sticking. You can add more flour to the dough if it is too wet and sticky, eventually the dough will become elastic and you can form a cohesive ball with it.
Rub a large, clean bowl with olive oil and place your kneaded dough in it. Rub the rest of the olive oil over the dough ball and place a clean towel over the bowl. Place the bowl in dry, warm, draft-free place and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours. Your dough is now ready to be rolled out and you can start to create your perfect pizza!
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