There’s nothing like a fresh pizza. The melted mozzarella and crispy crust are a perfect combination. Traditional pizza is delicious but feels like a solid block of cheese by the time it hits your stomach. Sometimes I feel like pizza but want something a little bit lighter. The first step is to switch out the greasy cheese in a way that doesn’t sacrifice flavor. In this respect, my wife often mentions my steady progression as a cook over the years. When I first started cooking I would try to make everything as healthy as possible without much regard for taste. After a few years I realized that if it doesn’t taste good, why eat it? I’ve tried many substitutions here but my favorite is creamy ricotta and salty parmesan cheese. Topped with crispy prosciutto or ham, this pizza is full of flavor and the perfect model of healthy and tasty cooking. And in the writing of this post, I came up with an outstanding pizza with peanut butter idea which I’ll be testing out soon, stay tuned…
1 pizza crust (store-bought or homemade)
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 large bunch (~4oz) fresh spinach or chopped swiss chard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
3 thin slices prosciutto or ham, diced into small squares
1/2 cup ricotta cheese, salted
grated parmesan, to garnish
1/4t garlic salt
1/4t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4t garlic powder
1/2t dried basil
1/2t dried oregano
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Preheat a large pan over medium-high heat. Spray the pan with cooking spray and add the diced ham. Cook until brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes, and put ham aside. Place the pan back on the burner, spray again and add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute and add the spinach and the garlic salt. Cook until the spinach has cooked down, about 1-2 minutes.
2. Place the pizza crust on a cutting board. Spread the sauce over the crust to about 3/4″ from the edge. Add the garlic powder, basil and oregano on top of the sauce. Distribute the ham, spinach and tomatoes on top. Add the ricotta in dollops and shake the parmesan and red pepper flakes on top. Place the pizza directly onto the oven rack if it’s firm enough or place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to brown and the crust is crispy.
We use Trader Joe’s pizza sauce as well as Trader Joe’s Tabula Rasa whole wheat pizza crust to save on time, and it always comes out delicious. If you’ve got the time though, I recommend starting from homemade or pre-made pizza dough and baking it halfway before loading on the ingredients.