You know when you think you're at a Doritos/store-bought veggie tray kind of party, and then someone walks in and plunks down a bowl of cubed bread and a casserole filled with warm, oozy spinach-artichoke dip? Maybe it's just me, but I'm pretty sure the aroma alone—garlicky, cheesy, earthy—has magical powers, halting idle chitchat and commanding attention from across the room.
For this pizza version, I went with a trio of garlic-infused béchamel sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan, which is considerably lighter than the mix of cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo found in most spinach-artichoke dip recipes. Crushed red pepper flakes add just the right amount of heat to counter the creamy base and round out the flavors. Then, of course, there's the doughy crust that bubbles up in the oven and absorbs just enough sauce, creating a silky, dip-on-a-bread-cube feel with each bite. No party planning required.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pizza
Makes one 12-inch pizza
- 2½ cups baby spinach, packed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball Basic Pizza Dough (or pre-made dough)
- 1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 5 canned artichoke hearts, sliced
- 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Place your pizza stone (if using) on an oven rack about 8 inches from the broiler. If you plan to cook your pizza on a baking sheet, place a rack in the middle of the oven (you do not need to preheat the baking sheet). Preheat the oven to 500°F and let it heat up for at least 30 minutes while you make the dough and/or prepare the toppings.
To prep the toppings: Place a medium sauté pan over medium heat and add the spinach. Cook the spinach for 3 to 5 minutes, until it is completely wilted, then remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the garlic and let it cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, then sprinkle in the flour. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and fragrant. Pour the milk into the saucepan in a slow stream, stirring the mixture continuously in a figure-eight pattern. Stir in the salt and crushed red pepper flakes and continue stirring for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool to room temperature.
To stretch/roll out the dough: Dust the ball of dough with flour and place it on a well-floured work surface. Using your hands or a rolling pin, gently stretch or roll the dough into a 12-inch disk.
If you’re using a pizza stone: Dust a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet generously with flour or cornmeal. Place the dough disk on the prepared peel.
If you're using a baking sheet: Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the dough disk on the prepared baking sheet.
To top the pizza: Give the cooled sauce a good stir. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the spinach.
Spoon about 2/3 cup of sauce onto the dough and spread it evenly, leaving a 1/2-inch border of dough. Sprinkle the chopped onion over the sauce, followed by the artichokes, spinach, mozzarella, and then the Parmesan.
To bake the pizza: If you're using a pizza stone, 10 minutes before you are ready to cook the pizza, increase the oven heat to broil. Slide the pizza from the peel (or inverted baking sheet) to the hot stone using quick shimmying movements. Broil the pizza for 5 to 7 minutes (3 to 5 minutes in a gas oven), rotating halfway, until the bottom of the crust is crispy, the cheese has melted, and the top is blistered. Using the peel or inverted baking sheet, transfer the cooked pizza to a cutting board. If you are making more than one pizza, allow the pizza stone to reheat under the broiler for 5 minutes before you cook the next one.
If you're using a baking sheet, do not increase the oven to broil. Place the baking sheet on the rack in the middle of the oven and bake at 500°F for about 10 minutes, until the crust is crispy, the cheese has melted, and the top is blistered.
Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for at least 5 minutes, then slice and serve.