I’ve been experimenting with white pizzas lately. White pizza is a northern, olive-oil based pie that’s made its way south with the growing prevalence of NY-style pizzerias. It can be as complex or as simple as you want to make it.
I still haven’t mastered the art of making good pizza crust. Much of my disappointment stems from the fact that I can’t replicate a domed, brick oven at home. There are all kinds of hacks to superheat the top of a conventional oven, and I’ve tried some of them, but this pizza is good with store-bought crust as well. That’s all you need for this recipe.
These pictures were a bit of an afterthought late one night last week, so they’re not very good. I was just so pleased with the results that I thought I’d write down the precise cooking process before I forgot. My white pizza is loosely based on a recipe from Serious Eats insofar as I always start the pizza with minced garlic in olive oil. Everything else usually depends on what I have on hand.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for greasing a pan
- 1-2 garlic cloves depending on the size, finely minced
- 1 ball (8 oz) fresh mozzarella, diced into 1/4″ cubes
- 8-10 spoonfuls ricotta (maybe 1/4 cup?)
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Instead of using a pizza stone, preheat the oven to 450° with a pizza pan on a rack about 6 inches from the top. Give it a good 30 minutes to really heat up.
Finely mince a large clove of garlic and put it in a bowl with the olive oil. The longer the garlic can meld with the oil, the better.
For convenience, use a pre-made thin crust from Boboli. Drizzle the garlic oil over the crust and brush it evenly over the whole pizza. Then spread the chopped mozzarella all over, leaving some space at the edge of the crust. Sprinkle the parmesan over everything. Finally, use a little spoon to drop scoops of the ricotta randomly around the pizza. The little peaks will flatten during the cooking process.
Once your pizza is prepped, pull the tray out of the oven a pour a little olive oil into the pan. It’ll smoke a little. That’s okay. Use a folded napkin or something to spread the oil in an even layer around the pan and carefully place the pizza on the tray. It should sizzle. Place the tray back in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. At the 8-minute mark, turn the oven from bake to broil at 450°. Crack the oven door just enough that the heating element remains active. Cook for 2-4 more minutes.
When the cheese starts to rise and form brown spots, take the pizza out of the oven. Move it to a rack or a cutting board and let it cool for a few minutes. Then slice it however you like. I usually cut the pizza into bite-sized rectangles and serve it as an appetizer, but this time I cut it into wedges.
This is the base recipe that I use. If I have small amounts of other ingredients languishing in the fridge, such as goat cheese, good tomatoes, or fresh herbs, I’ll add one or two of those as well. The only way you can screw this pizza up is by adding so many ingredients that you can’t taste the garlic oil anymore. This is supposed to be an austere little pie.