This rustic pizza represents the culmination of my efforts to woo a certain gentleman with my kitchen know-how: a thin crust spread thick with a spicy white bean mash, topped with smoky oven-roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh spinach and finished with a drizzling of balsamic reduction. In addition to being easy to prepare and budget-friendly, it looks impressive as all get out. It’s also a healthy size, and can serve up to four people (or two exceedingly hungry cooks). To the pizza!
What you’ll need
– Pizza dough for one large pizza (recipe below)
– 1 pint container cherry tomatoes, halved
– 1 (19 oz.) can of white navy beans, drained and rinsed
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/4 c. olive oil, plus 1 T. for roasting tomatoes
– 1 1/2 T. tahini
– 1 1/2 t. lemon juice
– handful mixed olives, roughly chopped (optional)
– Dash each paprika, cayenne and crushed pepper flakes
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
– 1 c. fresh spinach or arugula, roughly chopped
If you’re making your pizza dough from scratch, be sure you leave plenty of time for it to rise. Once your dough is ready to go, you can begin preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Roasting the tomatoes
Preheat oven to 400 F degrees. Toss tomato halves in oil (about 1 T.), sprinkle with kosher salt, and roast in an oven-proof dish for 30 minutes, or until soft and partially-blackened (e.g., roasted).
In a large bowl, mash down beans with a fork until there are no whole beans left. Add minced garlic, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, chopped olives, and seasoning to bean mixture, and stir until well-combined. Adjust seasonings to taste.
In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a simmer over medium-low until reduced by half. After about 10 minutes, the vinegar should be thick, dark and syrupy. Remove from heat and set aside.
Assembling the Pizza
Roll out pizza dough onto a floured baking sheet or pizza pan until 1/4 inch thick. Brush with olive oil and pre-bake in your 400 F oven for 2 – 3 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if the dough bubbles a little when you take it out.
Spread the crust with a thick layer of bean mash and top with oven-roasted tomatoes. Bake at 400 F for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is golden-brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped spinach. Finish off with a drizzle of balsamic reduction (I recommend a “zig-zag” pattern for added effect).
Admire. Then stuff it in your face-hole.
(Makes two large pizzas)
– 1 1/3 c. warm water
– 2 1/4 t. dry yeast
– 3 to 3 1/2 c. all-purpose or whole wheat flour
– 2 T. olive oil
– 2 t. salt
– 2 t. sugar
– 2 T. caraway seeds (optional)
Combine water and yeast and let sit 5 – 10 minutes, or until yeast is dissolved. Add oil, caraway, salt and sugar and mix to combine. Add flour one cup at a time, mixing in as you go, until the dough is smooth and elastic but not dry or dense (you may need a bit more or less flour than this recipe calls for). Coat with about a tablespoon of oil, place in a bowl covered by plastic wrap or a clean cloth, and let rise in a warm place at least 1 1/2 hrs. (dough should double in size).
When ready to use, punch down the dough and divide in half. Shape each half into a crust and follow baking directions above. This dough refrigerates and freezes very well.