Monday, 1 July 2013

Pancetta, Spinach and Mushroom White Pizza

Mr E and I hardly ever go out for dinner, and when we do it's usually on vouchers. There's a certain well known supermarket in the UK that issues reward points for shopping with them, and you can exchange these for vouchers for various treats such as a meal at a restaurant, hotel stays or days out. We almost always exchange them for restaurant vouchers, and that's pretty much the only time we eat out! I was about to say apart from birthdays... but I'm pretty sure we used vouchers for my birthday last year too!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining- in fact, somewhat bizarrely, I think I might enjoy that more than when we do go out for dinner on our own dime. Yes, ok, we might be restricted to only certain restaurants with the vouchers, but actually one or two of the restaurants we really like! My favourite thing about it is that when it comes to ordering, I feel totally free to order whatever I really want without worrying how much the bill will come to- even if we go slightly over the voucher value, we don't mind paying a few pounds for a three course meal! The other thing I like about it, is that it makes me be a bit more adventurous and order something I might not normally go for- I admit that sometimes I can be a bit boring for want of ordering something I know I'll like if we're going to be paying for it!

Oh dear, I fear that I might be painting a rather tight fisted picture of myself for you!

So why am I telling you all this?!

Because of this pizza.

Ordinarily, I am a "drown it in mozzarella and make it spicy" kinda gal... and if we were out for Italian and actually paying for a meal then you can bet your bottom dollar that's what I'll go for. On vouchers, however, I'll take the risk of not liking something and go for a new dish- and that's how I discovered this pizza.... thin and crispy base with a creamy white sauce, topped with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, onions, pancetta, crème fraiche and Grana Padano cheese.

Oooh yeah. So good.

We don't have any vouchers at the moment though, and I was kinda craving this pizza, so I decided the only thing for it was to recreate it myself!

Now, I'll admit, I didn't get it quite right... but I'm sharing it with you anyway because I really liked our version! The main difference was that the restaurant version has quite a lot of the white sauce, whereas on ours the 'sauce' actually ended up baking a little bit when we cooked it- I'd still quite like to do a proper white sauce sometime, but what I liked about this was the depth of flavour it had and the fact that there was no soggy bottom to our pizza (which, I'm afraid to say, there sometimes is at the restaurant)! I will come back and update you when I've perfected the proper white sauce but, for now, please enjoy this variation.

Pancetta, Spinach and Mushroom White Pizza
Makes 2

1 quantity of skillet pizza dough (from Pass the Sushi)
5 tblspns cream cheese
5 tblspns ricotta
1 clove garlic, minced (1/2 tspn)
75g cubed pancetta
100g frozen spinach
125 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
Handful of chives, finely chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to season

1) Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180c fan/ 400f/ Gas 6. Put your pizza stone/ oven tray in the oven and allow to preheat too.

2) Cream together the cream cheese, ricotta and 1/4 tspn garlic in a small bowl and season to taste.

3) Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the spinach and simmer for 6 minutes, then drain and squeeze out the excess liquid (once it has cooled slightly!).

4) Heat a drizzle of oil in a small pan, add the pancetta, mushrooms and remaining 1/4 tspn of garlic and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, until the mushrooms have softened and the pancetta has just cooked through.

5) Halve the pizza dough and roll into two discs about 9 inches in diameter (ok, I realise we made a rectangle in these pictures, so feel free to do the same!). Take your pizza stones/ oven trays out of the oven and place your pizza bases on them. Lightly prick the surface of the dough with a fork to prevent air bubbles - only do this where the topping will go, we want the crust to rise a little.

6) Spread the cream cheese mixture across your bases (reserving some for later), and then top with the pancetta and mushrooms. Scatter the chives across the top.

7) Bake for 15-20 minutes, keeping an eye on them for the last 5 minutes. Serve with the reserved cream cheese mixture for you to dollop on top. Mmmm.

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