Tuesday 9 April 2019

Pizza with sauteed spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and ricotta cheese

15 minutes to prepare  Serves 4

I ♥ Carbo loading

I can’t even tell you how excited I am!
I have successfully ran my first marathon last weekend, and finished it in less than 4 hours!!!

Milano marathon is a 42K race that spans the city – from Porta Venezia, to the Dome, close to the Stadium and back to the city. It is a running event that encompasses everything I love about this amazing city.

It’s energetic, colorful, over-the-top and a truly special day.
This year was my first time running it. Weather forecast was pretty bad but I managed to keep myself calm (aka light-weight dressed) and everything turned out just fine!

While I’m on the topic of preparing for a race, did you know that carb loading the night before a race is not the best way to prepare for a run? There are a lot of myths that surround carb loading, but you should carb load two days before the race!!
If you carb load the day before it isn’t enough time for those carbs to replenish the glycogen stores in your legs (aka the energy that is easily available for exercise).

Today's pizza recipe below is perfect for preparing for race day. Instead of fatty mozzarella cheese, this crispy crust gets its creaminess from ricotta. Adding ricotta to your pizza's ingredients is a great way to add healthy protein and ensure that you stay full long after your meal has finished. It’s easy and it tastes great! Since you’re preparing for a race, you don’t want to lose minerals, so I just added some sauteed spinach. Spinach is packed with nutrients and is fairly easy to digest, as far as vegetables go.
The fat balance is ensured by sun-dried tomatoes preserved in oil and by a fistful of pine nuts.

Carbo loading is basically eating, for 3 days, all those things that are usually just indulgences.
Now, I understand marathoners, ha-ha!

Here are ingredients for a 4-serving recipe (4 pizzas):

1 kg pizza dough divided into 4 balls (you may find here my pizza dough recipe and here my recipe for sourdough pizza)
500 g spinach
30 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
400 g ricotta cheese
50 g pine nuts
EVO oil
salt and pepper

  1. When you are ready to bake the pizzas, take the dough out of the fridge, leaving at least 1 hour and half for it to warm up and get pliable
  2. Meanwhile, wash and clean spinach
  3. Drain sun-dried tomatoes from the oil in which they are preserved and chop them into small pieces
  4. Toast pine nuts in a hot pan until golden. Keep aside
  5. Place spinach leaves in a pan with 3 tablespoons of EVO oil and braise them for 5 minutes, until soft. Add a pinch of salt
  6. Preheat oven to 270°C (or, better, as far as oven temperatures go)
  7. Generously dust the counter with semolina flour. Make the pizzas one at a time. Dip your hands in flour and lift a ball of dough. Very gently lay the dough across your fists and carefully stretch it by bouncing the dough in a circular motion on your hands, carefully giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss. When the dough is stretched out to your satisfaction (about 25 cm in diameter), lay it on the baking tray covered by baking paper
  8. Sprinkle both spinach and sun-dried tomatoes over. Add toasted pine nuts on top
  9. Bake the pizza for about 10 minutes. If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the baking tray to a lower self before the next round
  10. When the crust of the pizza is golden - it means that the pizza is almost ready -, add ricotta cheese on top. Let ricotta to soften for a couple of minutes
  11. Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer it to a wooden cutting board. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts are detailed in the table below. Data is provided per serving.

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