White Bean and Escarole Pizza

This pizza was inspired by a recent family dinner where half the crowd chowed on lobsters, clams, and an antipasto spread and the other half were vegans (I know, weird). One of the cast-aside vegan dishes was Escarole and White Beans, lightly sautéed together to create a hearty and comforting dish. One bite and I knew I had to make it my own. This recipe by no means is vegan, and by no means as healthy as that black sheep dish on that hot summer night, but this is a modern twist that will suit for dinner or for a light appetizer. 

White Bean and Escarole Grilled Pizza

For the Crust:

1 Packet Active Dry Yeast
2.5 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1.5-1.75 Cups Water
1 tsp Salt

A note on crust: Crust is as temperamental as a Real Housewife Reunion Special. Find a recipe that works for you and if it isn’t this one I won’t be upset. You can always always count on The Joy of Cooking. 

  1. Dissolve the yeast in warm water, use just enough water to cover the yeast. 
  2. Add 1 tsp. of salt to flour
  3. Add yeast to flour and slowly add water into flour-yeast mixture until a dough is formed.
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  4. Ball dough and let rise in refrigerator for 1 hour. Dough will double in size.

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    Before Rising

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    After Rising

While Dough is rising…

White Bean Puree:

1 Can Cannellini beans (we use the 15.5 oz can from Goya)
1 Can Low-Sodium Chicken Broth (15.5 oz can)
3 cloves of Garlic
2-3 glugs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes to taste
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan
Juice of 1 medium-sized Lemon

  1. Rinse the beans.
  2. On the stove top, pour entire can of chicken broth into sauce pan along with the rinsed beans and 1 clove of garlic.
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  3. Boil the beans until the skins start to pull away from the flesh and the beans have been infused with the Chicken Broth (about 10 minutes).
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  4. Drain chicken broth from beans.
  5. Place beans, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and crushed red Pepper flakes into food processor.
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  6. Process until smooth, add more olive oil if necessary. Add parmesan cheese. Blend lightly once more.img_2416
  7. Set aside for assembly.

For the Escarole:

2 Large bunches of Escarole
2 cloves of Garlic; minced
4 strips of Bacon; cooked and crumbled.
Don’t forget to reserve the fat!

  1. Cut the white ends off of the escarole and cut into small bite sized pieces.
    Note: Escarole can suck dirt deep between the leaves similarly to a Leek, cut the end off and rinse well before cutting further.
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  2. Saute garlic lightly in the bacon fat.
  3. When garlic becomes aromatic add the escarole; it will look as though it will never fit in even your largest pan; remember it will rapidly reduce.
  4. Stir escarole with tongs till it is cooked down to 1/3 the original amount and there is little liquid remaining in pan.
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  5. Set aside.

After the dough has risen…

  1. On a floured surface stretch the dough out. There really is no rhyme or reason to rolling dough; some use a rolling pin others, like Nick, can toss the dough high in the air (show off).
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  2. Over a hot grill carefully place the tossed or rolled dough on the grill being careful to avoid creases, or stretching the dough too thin -this creates holes in the crust!img_2419
  3. when the dough puffs up and can be moved easily on the grill, flip crust, about two minutes on each side.
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Pizza Assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. Lightly coat grilled crust with olive oil
  3. Spread a thick coating of white bean puree over the crust.
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  4. Sprinkle the escarole over the top.
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  5. Cover the entire pizza with mozzarella cheese.
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  6. Sprinkle bacon bits and crushed red Pepper flakes over the top.
  7. Bake until cheese is melted and slightly browned and your kitchen becomes full of “all the smells.”

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