Crispy Pizza with Feta and Arugula Ronit Penso

Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza with Feta Cheese and Arugula

Crispy Pizza with Feta and Arugula Ronit PensoUsually, even when I try to make the same recipe twice, I end up with a different version of some kind, and the following pizza is one of the examples for this habit. The original post from last year, included toppings such as fresh mozzarella cheese and Andouille sausage, along with peppers, onions and oyster mushrooms.

I made the dough exactly the same, as it is really the best and most crispy one I came out with. The same goes to the cherry tomatoes sauce, which I like better than regular tomato sauce.
However, as I’ve found wonderful goat milk Feta cheese in the market, the first change I’ve made was to use it instead of the mozzarella. Once I’ve done that, it made sense to go with more Mediterranean flavors, so I’ve added cured black olives instead of the sausage, and once the pizza was ready, I topped it with a handful of arugula leaves.
Obviously, the result was quite different than the original, but very good on its own right.
I plan to make this recipe again, exactly the same, but somehow I feel that the next version will also turn out a bit different…

To make the recipe easier to follow, instead of sending you to the original post, I’ve copied the original recipe and photos here, and only changed the topping ingredients to the ones I’ve used here.
As you can see, the basic recipe goes a long way. Feel free to improvise according to your liking.

* * * * *

I’m always looking for the ultimate pizza dough – one that will produce crispy pizza without having to use pizza stone or other professional gadgets. I’ve tried a few good and tasty recipes, but still thought they lacked in crispiness and texture. So I’ve decided to experiment a bit with other types of flour and came up with this tasty and crisp version for thin crust pizza. Try it and enjoy.

Notes:
* The basis for the dough is white flour, as we need its gluten to help the dough rise. I prepared the dough once with all-purpose unbleached flour and once with bread flour (which contains more gluten), and actually liked the all-purpose one better. However, if you prefer thicker crust, use bread flour.
* The semolina adds a crunchy texture, and the spelt flour adds extra crispiness, nutty flavor and a nice golden color.
*The dough keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days, and is even easier to roll after a day in the fridge. So it makes sense to prepare a larger batch. Just remember to bring the dough to room temperature before rolling.
* While many prefer to stretch the dough, using a rolling pin is quicker and easier, especially if you like thin crust, and if the dough was refrigerated. So here too, take your pick.
* One thing I recommend not to change is using semolina when rolling the dough and on the baking pan, rather than flour. The semolina makes the rolling easier and adds even more crunchiness to the dough.
* As tasty as the sauce is, try not to spread too much of it on the dough, so that your pizza will not end up soggy. The same goes for the toppings.
* One last thing: make sure that the oven is really hot before you place the pizza in it. This is a crucial step if you want crispy crust.

Spelt and Semolina Pizza Dough:
Makes: 4 x 11” (28cm) pizza
Prep time: 20 minutes
Proofing time: 2-3 hours
Baking time: 10-12 minutes
For the starter:
1 cup flour
1 package (1/4 oz, 7 grams) dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 Tbs sugar
For the dough:
1 ½ cups warm water
2 cups flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup fine semolina
1 Tbs salt
¼ cup olive oil + 2 Tbs for the bowl
Suggested toppings: Cherry tomatoes sauce (recipe below), sautéed onions and peppers, sautéed oyster king mushrooms, crumbled Feta Cheese (preferably goat milk Feta), salt-cured black olives, washed and dried arugula leaves.

1. Mix the ingredients for the starter in a mixer bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture foams.
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso
2. Add the rest of the dough ingredients. Fit the dough hook and mix on low speed, scraping the sides occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Turn the speed to medium-high and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic and playable. The dough should be fairly sticky, so add flour only if you think it’s really necessary.
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoP1070952Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso
3. Oil a large bowl with olive oil and place the ball of dough in it. Turn it so it will be covered with oil all over. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for about an hour. (Inside the oven always works for me.)
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso
4. Take out, punch the dough and knead by hand for 1-2 minutes. Cover again and place in a warm place for about 2 hours.
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso
5. Punch the dough again and knead by hand for 1-2 minutes. Cut into 4 equal portions and let rest for at least 15 minutes before rolling.
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso
6. At this point you can roll the dough and bake your pizza, but if you have time, wrap each portion with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a day and up to 5 days. The dough will be easier to roll after refrigeration – just remember to bring it to room temperature before rolling.
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit Penso
7. To bake the pizza: have on hand the tomato sauce and toppings. Preheat the oven to 500F (260C). Sprinkle semolina on the work surface and roll one portion of the dough on it, to a round, thin disc of about 11” (28cm). Sprinkle some semolina on the baking pan and place the disc on it.  Spread a few tablespoons of sauce (not too much, or your pizza will get soggy) all over and scatter the toppings on it. Try not to overload with toppings either.
Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza Ronit PensoCrispy Pizza with Feta and Arugula Ronit PensoCrispy Pizza with Feta and Arugula Ronit PensoCrispy Pizza with Feta and Arugula Ronit Penso
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the bottom is golden-brown and crisp and the cheese bubbly and golden. Place a generous handful of arugula leaves on top. Cut with a large knife to six triangles and serve immediately.
Crispy Pizza with Feta and Arugula Ronit PensoCrispy Pizza with Feta and Arugula Ronit PensoCrispy Pizza with Feta and Arugula Ronit Penso

Cherry tomatoes sauce:
Cherry tomatoes are great for a quick and tasty tomato sauce. I like to use a variety of colors and shapes, both for their flavor and for nutritious reasons. Since they have finer skins than regular tomatoes, it’s easy to process them whole, which will add an interesting texture and fiber to the sauce.
* As tasty as the sauce is, try not to spread too much of it on the dough, so that your pizza will not end up soggy.
Makes: 2 cups. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes
In a medium size flat pot, mix 2 Tbs olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped and 1 sprig rosemary. Cook on medium-low heat until the garlic turns white. Add 1 lbs (450 grams) assorted cherry tomatoes, quartered, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper and pinch of sugar. Mix and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are very soft. Take the rosemary sprig out, but leave a few needles in. Blend in a food processor to a thick sauce. Adjust seasoning if needed.
The sauce can keep, in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before using.
Cherry Tomatoes Sauce Ronit PensoCherry Tomatoes Sauce Ronit Penso Cherry Tomatoes Sauce Ronit PensoCherry Tomatoes Sauce Ronit Penso Cherry Tomatoes Sauce Ronit PensoCherry Tomatoes Sauce Ronit Penso

34 thoughts on “Crispy Spelt and Semolina Pizza with Feta Cheese and Arugula

  1. judilyn says:

    My next bulk order to Bob’s Red Mill will definitely include spelt. Not sure why I have been resisting your suggestion for so long. I usually use jarred pasta sauce, but am inspired to try this one. Must evict lazy bugs from my kitchen! I have dough going in the bread machine right now, so maybe I can do something delicious with it for lunch. We just finished breakfast!

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

    Liked by 1 person

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