This ricotta and squash blossom pizza is an ode to Miss Green. Who is Miss Green, you ask? Miss Green happens to be my favorite pizza from Tomato Pie. It’s a pesto based pizza with spinach, artichoke, zucchini, broccoli, ricotta, shaved parmesan and a hint of nutmeg. Yes, it’s a mouthful. And more importantly, YES-it’s absolutely delicious!
Tomato Pie has three locations, but I prefer the one in Silver Lake. In my experience, they are the most consistent in terms of quality and taste (and correct orders). The last time Alex and I ordered pizza from the new location in South Pasadena, we ended up with an extra pizza because of miscommunication. No complains, though. We will happily eat any pizza they want to give us.
So back to this pizza. It doesn’t have all the same toppings as the wonderful Miss Green, but it’s a great alternative when squash blossoms are in season. Squash blossoms are these delicate little divas that need to be showcased. It’s better to allow them to shine in the spotlight rather than bombard them with other competing flavors.
I’m a fan of skillet pizzas because you’re guaranteed to get that perfect circle pizza. No wonky almost circles. No thin spots or uneven cooking. It turns out perfect! I learned this little trick from Cook’s Illustrated. (The best food/cooking magazine EVER!)
You oil the skillet. Place the dough in the pan and stretch and pull until the dough fits the bottom of the pan. Load on your toppings and set the skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. You precook the dough for a couple of minutes and allow of the bottom of the pizza to almost set. Then you pop the skillet in a super hot 500 degree F oven and within 10 minutes, the pizza will have ooey-gooey cheese and a nice crisp-crunchy crust! Perfection!
This pizza dough recipe is fairly straight forward. It’s an adaptation of Bobby Flay’s dough recipe. I love working with doughs. I find it very relaxing and stress relieving. However, if you don’t have the time, you can totally substitute your favorite store-bought dough.
This pizza is pesto based. I used a mixture of shredded mozzarella and fontina cheese. (My two pups watched me shred the cheese in hopes some pieces would make their way into their mouths. Do your dogs LOVE cheese as much as mine?) On top of the cheese, I added sliced zucchini and squash blossoms. Next, a couple dollops of creamy whole milk ricotta and finally a nice sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg.
It might sound like unusual combination, but all the flavors really fall into place. This is the kind of pizza that will have you forgetting about pepperoni, sausage and ham. Meaning you can totally serve this to your picky little brother who only eats meat, and I guarantee that he’ll fall in love with it (even if it is vegetarian).
Happy Friday! I hope you all enjoy some pizza this weekend :)
Ricotta and Squash Blossom Pizza
Yield: 12-inch pizza
Pizza Dough: (makes 2)
- 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees F
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
Pesto: (makes about 1 cup)
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/3 cup lightly toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly mined
- 1 tsp fresh squeeze lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 zucchini, thinly sliced
- 6 squash blossoms, stamens removed
- 3 Tbsp pesto
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/3 cup shredded fontina
- 1/3 cup whole milk ricotta
- a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper, taste
- In small bowl, whisk together yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let sit for 5-7 minutes until mixture cloudy and foamy.
- In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, whisk together bread flour, all-purpose flour, and salt. Pour in yeast mixture. Mix together on low speed until dough starts to come together.
- Add olive oil and honey. Increase speed to medium and mix until dough has come together to form a smooth ball, about 3 minutes. If dough is too sticky and does not pull away from the sides of the bowl, add 1/2 Tbsp of all-purpose flour at a time. Transfer ball of dough to a lightly greased large bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place kitchen towel over bowl. Allow to rest for one hour until dough has doubled in size.
- Punch down dough and place on a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into two equal parts. Lightly cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 15 minutes before shaping into pizza.*
- In a food processor, pulse together basil leaves and walnuts about 10-15 times until contents have begun to break down. Add parmesan, garlic and lemon juice. Pulse a couple more times until new ingredients have been distributed. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil until mixture comes together like a paste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer pesto to an airtight container and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Toppings and Assembly:
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Warm up a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat. Gently sauté sliced zucchini and squash blossoms to slightly softened. Transfer to a plate until ready to use.
- Spread about 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Place dough in oiled skillet and gently push and pull dough to fit the bottom of the skillet.
- Spread 3 Tbsp pesto on dough, leaving about 1/2-inch border around the pizza. Sprinkle mozzarella and fontina evenly over the pesto. Arrange zucchini and squash blossoms on top. Distribute spoonfuls of ricotta over the pizza. Lightly sprinkle freshly grated nutmeg over pizza. Season with some black pepper.
- Transfer skillet to a stove over med-high heat. Warm up the cast-iron and cook pizza dough for about 3 minutes until the bottom of the crust has set and the oil is bubbling along the outer rim of the pizza. In order to have a more defined crust, use a spatula to create an indent around the toppings to separate the crust.
- Transfer the hot skillet into the preheated oven. Bake for 8-12 minutes until cheese has melted and is bubbling. Remove from the oven and let sit for 2-4 minutes until unmolding. Place pizza on a cutting board and use a sharp knife or pizza wheel to cut into slices.
*Dough recipes make two 12-inch pizzas. If making two pizzas, double the toppings listed above. Otherwise, store remaining dough in the fridge and use within 2 days.
pizza dough recipe adapted from Bobby Flay, Food Network
The Little Epicurean