The beginning of our CSA brings big fluffy spinach leaves to the CSA share boxes! If you want to put these into a big crunch salad I will not blame you, but try this fresh easy pesto – you’ll have enough for the flatbread plus another meal. Pesto also freezes really well so it’s a great way to preserve the harvest.
If you make the pesto in advance this meal comes together pretty easily. The pizza dough is very easy to make, but if you prefer just use a pre-made crust or gluten free option. Stretch the dough as thin as you can with a rolling pin and your hands to make a thin crispy flatbread with just enough fresh mozzarella.
I left the spinach raw in this pesto which makes for bright, fresh tasting pesto with a hint of lemon. Remove the stems, wash, and dry thoroughly for the best results.
Spinach Pesto Flatbread
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound fresh spinach leaves, stems removed, wash and thoroughly dried
1/2 cup – 3/4 olive oil
1 clove garlic
juice from half a lemon
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup pecans or walnuts
salt to taste
8 oz fresh mozzarella
Make the flatbread dough. Sprinkle yeast and sugar into warm water. Set aside for 15 minutes. Place flour and salt in mixer and whisk together. When yeast is bubbly and expanded add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the yeast mixture. Combine flour and wet ingredients in stand-up mixer. Mix on low speed (2 on a kitchen aid mixer) for 4-5 minutes. Dough should be in a ball chasing itself around the mixer. If dough is too dry add warm water 1 tablespoon at a time. If it’s too wet add flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Place dough ball in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap for one hour.
Make the pesto.
Toast the pecans. Place the pecans in a small skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring frequently. You’ll know the pecans are toasted when they smell toasty and start to brown. Remove from the pan right away so they don’t burn.
Place the garlic clove in a food processor alone, and process a few times to mince the garlic. When garlic is minced add cheese and seeds to the processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add spinach to the processor, then stream oil in while processing. Add lemon and salt, and pulse once more. Taste and adjust salt and lemon if necessary.
Assemble the flatbread.
Preheat the oven to 500°F
Roll the dough into a rough rectangle shape, as thin as you can without tearing. Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking pan, or if you’re out of parchment (as we were) oil a baking pan and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Spread a layer of pesto over the flatbread, leaving about 1/2 inch of crust. You’ll use about 1/2 cup – 1 cup of the pesto. Slice the mozzarella into thin slices and spread out over the pizza. Fresh mozzarella spreads a lot and is really rich, so each piece of flatbread should have mozzarella on it, but doesn’t need to be coated.
Bake the flatbread for 10 – 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and the edges are starting to brown. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.