Alcoeur Apron's Spinach & Artichoke Pizza with Cheesy Bread Crust
2 tablespoons salted butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seed
1 pinch red pepper flakes, to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch each salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 cup whole milk mozzarella, cubed
1/2 pound pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
1 cup shredded fontina, gouda, or mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1 jar (8 ounce) marinated artichoke hearts, drained
Position the oven rack in the upper 1/2 portion of your oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F for at least 30 minutes before baking, preferably 1-2 hours ahead of time. If you have a baking stone, start preheating it.
In a skillet, melt together the butter, basil, oregano, thyme, fennel, and red pepper flakes. Cook until garlic is golden and crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Pour the garlic butter into a small dish and set aside.
Set the same skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, spinach, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, until spinach is wilted, make sure to get all the excess water out.
On a lightly floured surface, push/roll out the pizza dough until it is pretty thin (about a 12-14 inch circle). Place the pizza dough on a lightly oiled sheet pan. Arrange the cubed mozzarella around the edge of the dough. Fold the edges of the dough over the cheese, pinching to seal the cheese inside.
Spread the garlic butter over the dough, then add the spinach and distribute evenly. Sprinkle on the shredded cheese and parmesan. Arrange the artichoke hearts so they are spread evenly on the pizza.
Slide into the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 3-5 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese has melted. Top the pizza with fresh basil and enjoy!