Monday, April 1, 2024

Milena's Pizza di Verdura (Vegetable Pizza)


If you follow this blog, or my Instagram page, you probably know that I'm part of a group of women who meet weekly in each other's homes to chit-chat in Italian. What started out as a simple espresso and dessert gathering has morphed over the years to include lunch as well as something sweet. Milena, who is originally from the Liguria region, has taught cooking classes and frequently makes something from her home region, including this stuffed pizza di verdura. She used escarole, scallions, anchovies and capers in the filling, but you could use any greens you like -- spinach or Swiss chard, for instance. Milena said she has made it with only scallions in the past, which is also delicious. Her family likes to tease her, calling it "garbage pizza" because she'll use any vegetable that's on hand. A few weeks ago, she gave our small group a demonstration of how she puts the dish together and now you can see for yourself how she does it, even though you may live far from central New Jersey, where our group meets each week. 

The dough as well as the filling recipe is below. After spreading the filling over the base, Milena tops it with another layer of dough.

Then she pricks it all over, and smears some olive oil and salt on top.

Here's a video of her placing the anchovies on top of the escarole. For those of you who understand Italian, you don't need a translation. For the rest of you, she explains that the anchovies and capers contain a lot of salt, hence you don't need to add any more. Also, she says that sometimes she add olives, sometimes not, depending on what she has on hand.

After about 45 minutes, it's ready to remove from the oven and eat.

Check out Ciao Chow Linda on Instagram here to find out what’s cooking in my kitchen each day (and more).

Milena's Pizza Di Verdura (Vegetable Pizza)

for the dough:
1/2 cake compressed yeast or 1 package dry yeast
2 cups water
5 1/2 cups bread flour (approximately)
1 tsp. salt
1/8 cup olive oil (optional)

Make sponge:
In a large bowl, soften yeast (.6 oz. of fresh yeast) in 2 cups of body temperature water, using a wire whisk to mix. Note: If using dry yeast, use water at a higher temperature, between 105-115 degrees. Add 2 cups bread flour, mix well with a wire whisk. Cover with a cloth and let the mixture rest in a warm place until bubbly, approximately 10 minutes. At this point, the mixture is called the "sponge."
Stir sponge, add salt, olive oil and additional 2 1/2 cups flour. Mix with a spoon until dough is blended.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the last cup of flour onto wooden board.

Turn out dough onto the floured wooden board and knead, using a bread spatula and adding additional flour as required. When well kneaded, place into a large greased bowl and cover with greased waxed paper and a dish towel. Note: best if large bowl is warmed first, so that dough is not in contact with a cold surface.
Let dough rise in a warm area until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Punch down and shape innto desired forms or divide dough and shape into desired forms.

For the Filling:
3 lbs. mixed green leaf vegetables (Milena used escarole)
5 T. olive oil
1 crushed clove garlic
2 bunches green onions cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 T. capers
10 anchovies
6 black olives, pitted and sliced (optional)
black pepper
olive oil


Place vegetables and green onions in a large pan with oil and garlic. Saute about 5 minutes. Add 5 anchovy filets, cook five minutes longer. Remove garlic and let cool. When dough is ready, return it to floured board pound it lightly to deflate it and divide into 2 pieces. Spread out 1 piece over bottom of an oiled 12" baking pan. Place vegetable mixture over dough in pan, on the vegetables sprinkle capers, anchovies and olives.
Cover with other piece of dough. Press edges together and trim excess dough. Prick surface with a fork, brush with olive oil and bake at 400 degrees F. until puffed and golden, about 45 minutes. Serves 6


  1. Oh how lovely ! If I lived in or close to Princeton, I would have asked to join your group!

  2. Wonderful! I wish I was your neighbor, too! What a lovely pizza.

  3. I know this is delicious because I had something very similar from my daughter in law's Nana only she made it with swiss chard, so so good!

    1. It's Marie Linda not anonymous 😍