Rhode Islanders can be a bit quirky about these type of things....it is a historical fact! Rhode Island was THE first of the original 13 colonies to declare itself independent from British rule. Rhode Island demonstrated the first armed act of rebellion in America against the Brits by boarding and burning their "Gaspee" Schooner ship in Narragansett Bay, back in 1772.
(Photo Source: Gaspee.org)
They BURNED DOWN THE SHIP......they didn't throw tea into the harbor.....they seized and burned down the entire ship...and it is still hailed in celebration 242 years later! So please, ick-snay on the alzon-cay, okay?
What? More quirky, useless RI trivia? O-kay!!
Military General and Former Governor of RI, Ambrose Burnside, established the sideburn as "a thang" back in the day. He did many other great things for our country through his military career, and while in office....but come on! Look at those mutton chops!!
(photo source: wiki.com)
FACT: The former Mayor of Providence has a lucrative line of jarred sauces...and a criminal record.
Now that I've feed yo' mind, lets feed yo face! There are two ways to make the spinach filling: frozen spinach or canned spinach (I've also actually tried fresh spinach - you need a TON of fresh spinach - after the time spent steaming or sauteing it down....it's just not worth it in my opinion). I know you're thinking canned spinach? Yuck!! This is actually what many of the famous pizza places in RI use in their spinach pies. If you drain it really well, and squeeze as much liquid from it as humanly possible, it will work. Once the spinach filling is seasoned, folded into dough, stuffed with, peperoni and cheese, they pretty much taste the same: the only big difference is the texture, or consistency, of the spinach. The canned is way more tender; it melts into the crust and cheese...it's actually my favorite way to make these. If you've ever been to Caserta Pizza in Providence and ordered a Wimpy Skimpy (spinach pie stuffed with cheese and pepperoni) - it's canned spinach (you can actually see the large foodservice-sized cans stacked in the back of the kitchen...plus, I asked the lady behind the counter).
The Wimpy Skimpy is the inspiration behind this post. I added some marinara sauce to my pies...I like to do that sometimes. Weather you're a purist and prefer regular spinach pies, straight up - no cheese, no meat....or, you're a bit radical and stuff them with as much cheese and peperoni as they'll hold - I think we can all agree ======>They are NOT calzones!
makes 6 Stuffed Spinach Pies
2 pounds pizza dough
2 1/2 cups of well drained spinach (thawed frozen, or canned)
1/2 cup sliced black olives
2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Lawreys Seasoned Salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper, or more to taste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1/2 c flour for dusting and rolling the dough
1 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil (not olive or it will smoke) to grease pan and brush dough
1 cup sliced pepperoni
2 cups shredded pizza cheese
2 cups pizza sauce
Position rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Thouroughly grease a large sheet pan with vegetable oil. In a medium sized bowl toss the drained spinach with olive oil and seasoning - fold in the sliced olives; set aside.
Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Flour your rolling surface and rolling pin; press or roll each portion into a round-ish 1/4" thick circle (depending on the temperment of your dough, humidity, temperature, rotaion of the earth, etc, the dough rounds will be anywhere from a 6-8" across).
Spread 1/2 cup of spinach on half of each dough round, fold over, and press edges to seal. Carefully transfer to greased sheet pan. With a serated knife, score a slice in the center to allow steam to escape while baking. For a crispy top crust, lightly brush with a little vegetable oil.
Bake for 20 minutes in the until golden brown. Remove from pan to a cooling rack for 15 minutes, reduce oven temperate to 375 degrees. Split open spinach pies; layer pepperoni, cheese and sauce on the spinach side, fold top back over. Bake another 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and gooey.
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