Bacon and sun-dried tomatoes make a savory accent to this cheesy bread recipe.
320 per serving
- 1 pounds pizza dough, either homemade or store-bought
- 5 slices bacon, roughly chopped into half-inch pieces
- 1 pounds fresh spinach, well washed
- 4 ounces provolone, thinly sliced or grated
- 2 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, preferably not packed in oil, julienned
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1-1/2 cup marinara sauce, warmed, for dipping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a pizza stone or an inverted baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven while it is heating.
On a piece of parchment, roll out the dough into a 12-inch-by-15-inch rectangle. Take care to lift the dough occasionally to make sure it is not sticking. If the dough is very sticky, dust the parchment with a little flour or cornmeal. Cover the rolled-out dough with plastic and let it rest while you prepare the filling.
In the biggest skillet you own, over medium-high heat, sautee the chopped bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon onto a paper-towel lined plate and reserve.
Pour the rendered bacon fat into a bowl. Turn down the heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons of fat back into the pan. Add in as much spinach as you can fit (you'll likely need to do this in two batches) and begin tossing it in the fat, using tongs, until it is wilted. Repeat until you've used all of the bacon, adding more fat if necessary. Cook until the spinach is thoroughly wilted and much of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the spinach to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
With the short side of the dough facing you, sprinkle the cheese in a 3-inch-wide vertical stripe down the middle of the dough, leaving an empty strip on either side. Cover the cheese with the wilted spinach. Top with the sun-dried tomatoes and the crisped bacon.
With a pizza cutter, make horizontal cuts along the right side of the dough, at 1/2-inch intervals, from the filling to the outer edge. Repeat on the left side of the dough, trying to keep the cuts level with each other.
Begin folding these strips over the filling, alternating sides. Do not tug on the dough. Fold it gently, working as neatly as possible. This creates the illusion of the braid.
With a pastry brush, brush the braid with beaten egg. Using the parchment to carry the braid, place it in the oven (along with the parchment), either on the baking stone or on the inverted sheet pan.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. For a richer-brown crust, turn up the oven to 375 degrees and bake an additional five minutes.
Let cool at least 10 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife. Slice into thin sections and serve with warmed marinara for dipping.