Posts Tagged ‘spinach pizza recipe’

Winter Butternut Pide with Bellwether Crescenza and Teleggio

I love cooking butternut squash with vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup, so when Rhonda from the Athens Farmers Market unloaded a huge one upon me, I knew exactly what to do. Since I had a pair of wonderful creamy cheeses; Teleggio from Italy and Bellwether Farms Crescenza from Sonoma, I thought I’d make a delicous Turkish-style Pide, (Pee-DAY,) with pancetta, roasted hazelnuts, fresh spinach and some local Cantrell honey. This pide is quite perfect for these cold winter days.



One- twelve to fifteen ounce dough from the Schiacciata dough recipe on this blog.

One ounce or half a handful of fresh whole spinach leaf.

Two and a half ounces of imported Teleggio, (DOP) from Italy.

Five to six ounces of  butternut squash. (Recipe below with equal amounts of cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup with nutmeg and water)

Three and a half ounces, (one thick slice,) of Italian style pancetta. (Bacon is too strong for this recipe.)

One ounce raw hazlenuts or “Filberts” as they are sometimes called.

Three ounces Bellwether Farms Crescenza.

Local Cantrell honey poured on after oven.

For the squash, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. To render the butternut squash, I usually keep the vegetable peeler on the bench and cut the butternut squash first across to obtain round sections that are two inches high. Put these sections flat on the cutting board and trim the skin off of them. Then cut them into quarters so you can cut the stringy inside off also. These can then be cut again into smaller inch wide chunks.

Place the butternut squash chunks in a bowl and coat with the same amount of  honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and vanilla essence. Add a little hot water and toss in the bowl. Pour the mix on a foil-lined tray and insert into the oven on the middle shelf. Cook until fork tender, tossing occasionally. Take out of the oven, and cool, then slice into small thin squares that will spread nicely on the pizza. Turn the oven up to 495 degrees and place a heavy, upturned cookie sheet or pizza stone on the middle shelf.


Cube the pancetta and the cut the raw hazelnuts with a sharp knife. Cook the pancetta over the stove in a saute’ pan or pot, (as I used here because I couldn’t find a saute’.) Briefly saute’ on medium high heat until partially cooked. 


Add the copped hazelnuts to the pot. Toss under the same heat for one minute, then add two tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan. Cook in the pancetta juice for one minute more. Remove and reserve for the pizza.


Using the dough from Schiacciata dough recipe, you will have a 14 ounce dough ball, (I used a 12.5 ounce dough for this recipe.) Place on a piece of parchment and form into an oval. Add the spinach, the Teleggio and the sliced butternut squash.


Then add the pancetta, the hazelnuts and lastly the Crescenza.


Now is time to pull the dough from the middle of the dough disc toward you and work it to the end. Using gentle pressure, pull the dough and twist into a cable-like rope. Next, wrap the dough around your finger and pull the dough through the hole forming a simple knot. (here, I had to be careful becuase the dough was quite sticky but it still held its shape.)

Transfer the parchment with the Pide on it to the oven using another tray to slide it on the stone or cookie tray and cook for at least 15 minutes. This is a large Pide and will take a little more time to cook. Keep an eye on the bottom of the Pide and the outer crust.

Drizzle with honey and serve to an astonished crowd!

Nice, and look at the crumb on this cornicione.




A Matter of Perspective

In my 30-plus years in the food industry, several hilarious incidents stand out in my memory. These are staked on my ceribral cortex in bright blinking neon, and never fail to cheer me up during serious moments (or tax time.)

The latest involved an employee and a customer who participated in the age-old practice of mis-communication. But this incident was more of a topsy turvy discombobulation that brought both persons (channel Rod Sterling now) into the Twilight Zone.

At 6:45 p.m. on  November 24th, Joel Fair, my stellar general manager, took an order for a small Godzilla pizza. The Godzilla is the pizza that won at the World Pizza Championships in Salsomaggiore Italy in 2004. It is adorned with sundried tomato, feta cheese, chicken and spinach, with mozzarella and provolone. The woman who ordered it (a certain Ms. H). requested our new local spelt crust and also requested that it be cut into squares as opposed to pie shapes.

After Joel printed out the order, Ms. H called back and requested it be available for pick-up at 7:45 p.m. Joel hurriedly wrote the time on the ticket and went about his duties. The ticket is below.

When Ms. H. came in to retrieve her requested pizza, Joel quickly jumped to the front counter with her pizza and dipping sauce. She was well dressed and courteous, obviously accomplished at whatever profession she practiced. He double checked to see if the pizza had indeed been cut into squares as requested, and continued with the transaction.

“That’ll be ten dollars and eighteen cents please,” Joel said as he set the ticket on the counter in front of her.

“Can I ask you a question?” she said, sounding concerned.

Joel looked up saying, “Why yes, ma’am.”

“Why does my ticket say ‘Shit’ on it?”

Joel looked at the ticket again. Then the woman turned the ticket upside down.

Joel was dumbfounded and stammered an apology and explaination. The woman was cool about it and continues to be a good customer.

Like life, this ticket depends upon the viewer; our time on this earth only becomes shit when you look at it the wrong way. It’s just a matter of perspective. Nyuk Nyuk.