Prior to living in Turkey, I didn’t know anything about thin(er) crust pizza. As much as I obsess over a thick crust pizza encrusted with bits of burnt cheese and tangy tomato sauce, I occasionally do enjoy that crispy, flatbread like crust that is popular in some parts of the Mediterranean.
With some left over pizza dough and pesto sauce, I threw together this Thin Crust Spinach and Parmesan pizza.
This Mediterranean-inspired pizza would taste a thousand times better with the use of a wood burning oven and its incredibly high temperatures. Alas, my tiny apartment does not come with one, so I am forced to re-create my memory of this pizza with my conventional, but very handy, oven.
Normally, I use flour to roll out my pizza dough. But to create a thinner, crusty texture, I roll my dough over corn meal to about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. The dough will rise, but certainly not by a significant amount.
Most traditional pizza recipes call for mozzarella as it melts beautifully and has a mild flavor. But what I love about the cheddar cheese that I used in this recipe is that its flavor is sharp and pairs well with the basil, garlic and nutty Parmesan flavors dominate in this dish.
While I used spinach, I would most definitely encourage the use of grilled eggplant, olives, anchovies (if you dare), cooked salmon, basil, or whatever you might have left over in the fridge. I like the use of spinach as 1) its gorgeous, vibrant green color offsets the deeper, forest green of the pesto and 2) it is high in folic acid and super good for you!
Thin Crust Spinach and Parmesan Pizza
Pizza dough (I made my dough with chili pepper and dried basil flakes)
½ cup of pesto (or more to taste)
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese (or more to taste)
½ cup of grated parmesan (or more to taste)
Raw/Cleaned spinach (enough to cover the pizza with one layer)
Salt and Pepper
Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees 30 minutes before baking the pizza.
Using some cornmeal, roll pizza dough out to 1/8 – ¼ inch thick. Transfer dough to a pizza pan.
Spread pesto on the pizza, leaving about a 1-inch rim along the edges. You can make this as thick or as thin as you like – but try not to drown the pizza in pesto as the pesto is strongly flavored AND could make your pizza soggy!
Layer the cheddar cheese. Then the spinach. Then the Parmesan.
Brush the crust with some olive oil and sprinkle some olive oil on top of the pizza. Then add a pinch of salt and a few cracks of ground pepper on top of the pizza.
Put in oven on the lower, middle rack for 12-13 minutes, or until crust is brown and the cheese is slightly brown and melted.
Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving! Enjoy!