I’m not the type of person who turns to food for comfort, so I’ll spare you the Star Jones “food never judged me” speech. But this pizza was undeniably the result of a much needed emotional release. To me, that’s the beauty of cooking – it’s a welcome distraction in my mind, allowing me to get lost in the process of perfectly preparing each ingredient and then photographing the final product until it turns into art.
I adapted this recipe from a recent feature in Cuisine at Home, tweaking the flavors and simplifying the technique in my attempt to transform traditional pizza into gourmet pie perfection. And let’s just say that for the first time in a while, I have been left (almost) speechless.
I asked my mom as she took a second bite, “How do I even describe this?” Her response was one word, “Perfect.” There really is no other way to explain how the creamy garlic flavor of the hummus is magnified while roasting on top of a homemade crust that matches doughy texture with every crunchy bite. Caramelized onions offer peaks of sharp flavor, baked into layer after layer of melted provolone and tangy Parmesan.
So while I’m not exactly speechless, I am convinced that this pizza will forever remind me of a slice of comfort, and that alone makes it one for the cookbook.
- 1 cup warm water (100-110ºF)
- 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup bread flour
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup prepared garlic hummus
- 1½ cups fresh spinach, blanched & squeezed dry
- 1/2 of a red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
- 1/2 of a white onion, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups shredded provolone
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
- Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let rest until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk together the all purpose flour, bread flour and kosher salt in a bowl.
- Add the flour mixture and oil to the bowl with the yeast.
- Using a dough hook, mix the dough on low speed until smooth (roughly 7 to 10 minutes). Remove the dough and knead it once or twice to create a smooth top.
- Transfer the dough to a bowl brushed with olive oil and cover with a moist towel.
- Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size (roughly 1½ hours).*
- Preheat the oven to 475ºF, placing a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the center rack.
- Sprinkle the pizza peel with cornmeal. On a cutting board, roll out the dough until it is 14" in diameter. Transfer it to the prepared pizza peel.
- Spread the hummus over the dough, leaving a ½" border.
- Top the hummus with the fresh spinach, bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, provolone and Parmesan.
- Slide the pizza onto the baking stone or inverted baking sheet.
- Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
- Remove and cut into slices.
- I find that a dryer (shortly after it's been used) is the best place to set dough to rise. It's both dark and warm, the perfect mix of factors to get dough to double in size.
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Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home.