Wholemeal Sicilian Pizza with Pesto & Spinach
Having really enjoyed the wood fired Sicilian pizza (Sfincione) we made a few weeks ago (do check that out here), this time we’ve gone off piste a little with no anchovies (whaaaaatt!!) and a wholemeal dough base. Really delicious as proved by the fact there was barely any left. Here’s what we did – it takes a little time but let’s face it, we currently have plenty of that!
Wholemeal Sicilian Pizza with Pesto and Spinach
Feeds 2 greedy types (with some left over) or 3-4 normal people –
We made the dough over a few hours. It would be easy to make the dough in the morning and leave it all day for the evening. The addition of a roux may sound strange but it makes for a lighter, softer dough. This technique is particularly good for doughs with a lot of wholemeal flour as we mentioned in our Tangzhong blog.
For the roux:
- 25g white bread flour
- 100g water
For the Dough
- the roux
- 225g wholemeal flour
- 150g water (room temperature)
- 25ml olive oil (we use Spanish extra virgin olive oil from Las Chimeneas)
- 2g fast acting yeast
- 5g fine salt
- 10g caster sugar
- Olive oil for shaping
- 3 tbsp green pesto
- 150g fresh spinach (wilted in a little water and drained)
- 1 x 150g ball of mozzarella
- 30g grated parmesan
- 4 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
- Salt and Pepper
- Olive oil
- Begin by making the roux. Heat the flour and water in a pan over a medium heat whisking continuously. When the roux thickens and ceases to flow back together take it off the heat. Allow to cool before making the dough.
- Mix the cooled roux with the fresh flour, water, olive oil, yeast, salt and sugar. Use a dough scraper to mix everything vigorously until the mixture is lump free and well mixed. This dough can now be covered and left all day as a no knead dough. If you are around (as we were) give it 3 or 4 further mixes in the bowl during the day. This encourages yeast reproduction and will give an even lighter dough.
- 1 hour before you want to bake the dough, generously oil a baking tray with a raised edge (ours was 40cm x 26cm). Tip the dough onto the baking sheet and a little more oil on top of the dough. Note, the oil below is not just for lubrication. It will fry and crisp the underside of the pizza and add flavour; don’t hold back.
- Using your finger tips and palms press the dough so it begins to stretch out towards the edges of the tray. It will be quite elastic. The best technique is to work the dough a little then let it rest, then work it a little more.
- When the dough is almost fitting the tray cover it and let rest for 45 minutes. Heat the oven to 250C – or as hot as it will go if your oven doesn’t go that hot. You can also cook the sfincione in a wood fired oven – follow the instructions on our video here.
- Spread the pesto over the dough fairly evenly. Scatter the squeeze-dried wilted spinach and broken up mozzarella over the pesto. Grate parmesan over the top and then arrange tomatoes to cover everything. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little more olive oil.
- Bake the pizza for about 20 minutes. (We baked it for 15 minutes in the tray then for 5 minutes directly on a perforated sheet in the oven to let the bottom dry out a little.)
- Cut it up and eat it while it’s hot. We had some left over which was also delicious cold for lunch the next day.