Mediterranean Brunch Braid

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup Crisco® Light Olive Oil

1 1/2 cups chopped green onions (about 24 small)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 box (9 oz) Green Giant® frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz)

2 tablespoons Fisher® Chef's Naturals® Pine Nuts, toasted*

1 can (13.8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated classic pizza crust

1 1/2 cups shredded Italian five-cheese blend (6 oz)

4 plum (Roma) tomatoes, thinly sliced

Fresh basil sprigs, if desired

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Spray large cookie sheet with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray.

2. In 10-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender. Stir in spinach, salt, pepper and chopped basil. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove skillet from heat; set aside.

3. In small bowl, mix ricotta cheese, feta cheese and pine nuts; set aside.

4. Unroll pizza crust dough on cookie sheet. Starting at center, press out dough into 15x10-inch rectangle. Brush 1 tablespoon oil over dough. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the Italian cheese in 5-inch-wide strip lengthwise down center of dough. Spoon spinach mixture over cheese. Spread ricotta mixture over spinach. Layer tomato slices, overlapping, on ricotta mixture. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over tomatoes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Italian cheese.

5. Using kitchen scissors or sharp knife, make cuts 1 inch apart on each long side of rectangle to within 1/2 inch of filling. Fold strips of dough diagonally over filling, alternating from side to side. Turn ends under; press to seal. Brush remaining 1 tablespoon oil over top of braid.

6. Bake 18 to 23 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown. Remove from oven. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Italian cheese over top of braid. Bake about 1 minute longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to cutting board; cut crosswise into slices. Garnish with basil sprigs.

 

*To toast pine nuts, cook in ungreased heavy skillet over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently until nuts begin to brown, then stirring constantly until light brown. Remove from skillet to plate to cool.

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Taken on October 26, 2009