Pizza Four Kinds: White Cheese, Peas, Spinach, and Asparagus; Egg and Avocado Salad

By Ira,

Once you’ve had bechamel sauce on your pizza, you can’t go back! We’re making four kinds of pizza, but it all comes together very quickly. The recipe for the dough and the bechamel idea comes from Jim Lahey’s book “My Pizza”. The dough couldn’t be easier. You just need to add water to flour and yeast, stir with a wooden spoon so it all combines, then cover it and leave it on your counter for 18-24 hours. And the bechamel sauce is easier to make than marinara sauce.

The egg and avocado salad is my husband’s favorite. He’d love to have it for lunch everyday!

Jim Lahey’s Pizza dough – makes 4 pizzas

  • 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients.

Add 1 1/2 cups water and mix using a wooden spoon so it all combines.

Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and let it sit on your kitchen counter for 18-24 hours.

The dough will rise to more than double its size.

Flour your work surface and turn out the dough on it. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Take one piece of dough, pull up one side and pull it and fold it toward the center. Do the same for the other 3 sides.

Place seam-side down so you can stretch it. If the dough is too sticky, dust it with more flour. At this stage, you can wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or you can freeze it. The dough needs to come back to room temperature before stretching it, so leave it on your counter 2 to 3 hours before using it.

Bechamel sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced

This makes a very thick bechamel sauce so it can spread on the pizza. In a small saucepan, heat up the milk to just below boiling point.

In a separate medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter.

When melted, add the flour and

stir with a wooden spoon for a minute.

Add all the hot milk and whisk vigorously. It will thicken immediately. Stir in the salt. The bechamel sauce needs to be cold before using it on he pizza. So you can just let it cool down on the counter, or you can put it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just before using it on the pizza, stir in the garlic (I know it’s a lot of garlic but it will end up being 2 cloves per pizza). Divide it into 4 equal portions (one portion for each pizza).

White Cheese Pizza

  • 1/4 of the pizza dough (1 round)
  • 1/4 of the bechamel sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces mozzarella cheese (divided with your fingers into a few pieces)

Preheat the oven to 500F. If you have a baking stone, put that in the oven to preheat it. If you don’t, like me, use a baking sheet turned upside down. But I didn’t even bother preheating my baking sheet, and the pizza was still phenomenal. I used a silpat but you can skip this part and put the dough straight on the baking sheet (don’t use parchment paper as it will burn).

Use your fingers and the palms of your hand to stretch out the dough. If you have difficulty with this, you can use a rolling pin but be gentle and don’t press too hard on it as you want some of the bubbles to remain in the dough. You can shape into a circle or a rectangle.

Using a spoon, spread the bechamel sauce on top, then sprinkle the parmesan cheese, then disperse the dollops of the mozzarella across.

Bake in the oven for 6-10 minutes (this depends on your oven temperature, so start checking at around 6 minutes just by turning the oven light on so the heat doesn’t escape). When done, transfer to a wire rack to cool (you don’t want to leave it on the baking sheet).

Peas Pizza

  • 1/4 of the pizza dough (1 round)
  • 1/4 of the bechamel sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces mozzarella cheese (divided with your fingers into a few pieces)
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas, defrosted

Same as the cheese pizza, but sprinkle the peas on top before baking in the oven.

Asparagus Pizza

  • 1/4 of the pizza dough (1 round)
  • 1/4 of the bechamel sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces mozzarella cheese (divided with your fingers into a few pieces)
  • 2 thick asparagus stalks, or 4 thin ones

Shave the asparagus using a potato peeler.The easiest way to do that is to hold it down on the kitchen counter, and shave it using your other hand.

Same as the cheese pizza, but spread the asparagus on top before baking.

Spinach Pizza

  • 1/4 of the pizza dough (1 round)
  • 1/4 of the bechamel sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces mozzarella cheese (divided with your fingers into a few pieces)
  • 1/3 cup frozen diced spinach

This time, defrost the spinach, squeeze out the liquid, and mix it with the bechamel sauce. Proceed the same way as the cheese pizza.

Egg and Avocado Salad

  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • 2 scallions, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley or just parsley leaves

This is the best way to hard boil the eggs: in a small pan, cover the eggs with 1 inch water. Let it come to a boil over high heat. Take it off the heat and put the lid on, and set it aside for 10 minutes. Then take the eggs out of the hot water and place them in a bowl of cold water with ice. Wait another 5 minutes, then peel them.

In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Cut the the avocado lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices.

Add them to the dressing bowl and mix them gently so they don’t brown. Take them out of the dressing and arrange them on a plate leaving the center of the plate empty for the eggs.

Slice the eggs lengthwise into 1/4-inch pieces, and arrange them on the center of the plate. Drizzle the rest of the dressing all over the eggs and avocado. Sprinkle with black pepper and garnish with the scallions and parsley.

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