Pear and Spinach ‘Za

PearSpinachZaHorizbfLOTo continue on our theme of pears and cookery books…

Cousins were visiting from Canada, and on some of our travels, I took them to my not-so-new favorite book store – Half Priced Books in Highland Park (you may recall that they set me up with a pre-1997 edition of Joy of Cooking last summer for around $8). I wasn’t really in NEED of any books, but I knew Lois would enjoy the store, and figured I could at the very least see what the clearance section might have.


I came across this title for $2 (!) and snatched it up.

There’s an entire series of “365 Ways to Cook…” books, and I have a few of them, so a new addition to my collection for cheap seemed like a good idea. My trust and faith in the series was rewarded by this recipe from the author’s brother-in-law Charlie, who uses (I think) a pre-made pizza crust and jarred pizza sauce.

Not I.

I have a killer pizza dough recipe, courtesy of my Cuisinart, and pizza sauce just didn’t sound right to me with these ingredients, so I opted to go with a jar of my barbecue sauce – which I think was the better choice by far.

OH, and before you go all “Pears and spinach and pizza?!?” – don’t knock it – this is ONE. FINE. ‘ZA. The flavors all work amazingly well together, and, if you REALLY need a bit of meat on your baked, cheese topped bread disk, a bit of chopped cooked chicken or some prosciutto would probably work well – you choose where to add it.

•1-1/2 cup barbecue sauce
•1 (12-inch) thin pizza crust – I made my own dough
•1 lb fresh spinach – I used about a half bag of baby spinach
•2 firm pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
•2 red onions, thinly sliced and separated
•1 cup pecan pieces
•2 cups shredded mozzarella

PearSpinachOnionsbfLOHeat oven to 425º.

Rinse and dry spinach leaves, removing stems, and tear coarsely.

Spoon sauce evenly over the pizza crust. Since I was using fresh dough, I rolled it out onto a floured surface first – which got me into a bit of trouble later in the process. NEXT time, I’m rolling the dough out onto parchment paper for ease of oven transfer.

PearSpinachOnionPecansCheesebfLOTop with the torn spinach. Arrange the pear slices over the spinach and then cover with the onion.

See? It’s starting to look really good even now, isn’t it?

Sprinkle pecan pieces over the onion and then cover it all with the mozzarella.

SO, this is where I got into a bit of trouble.

PearSPinachZaBakedbfLOWhen I went to transfer the ‘za to the stone in my oven, things got a touch, ermmm, messy. It was NOT the simple, seamless process it’s made to seem. Irregardless, as I said, NEXT time, I use the parchment paper.

Messy transfer or not, bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and crispy, and the cheese nicely melted. The original recipe didn’t specify if the pizza crust they called for was unbaked or not, so if you are using a Boboli-type crust, just keep an eye on it while baking, or follow the recommended baking times on the package.


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