There’s a moderately funny reason that in this picture is only one sad, small slice of white pizza all by itself. After making a lot of pizza the other night, we made sure to put aside half a pizza to photograph for the blog. We decided to let it sit on the counter for twenty minutes to cool before we wrapped it up and put it in the fridge. We left the kitchen to do other things for a while (big mistake), and when we returned all that remained of the pizza was this sad little piece. We learned a lesson: when there are two teenage brothers in the house, and our dad, we need to put a note on the food we are saving, or hide it somewhere! We guess it’s a compliment that they liked it so much, because we made four pizzas originally and this was all that did not get eaten!
Anyway, back to the pizza itself. White pizza is one of the greatest inventions, for its simplicity and great flavor. Our school sells white pizza sometimes, and it is a carb-filled circle of cheesiness. It may be one of the best things our school cafeteria has to offer, and one of the few things they sell that doesn’t semi-gross us out. Anyway, since we love white pizza so much, we knew we had to make it the minute we got a pizza stone. Some white pizzas have a ricotta sauce, and others have a plain white sauce (or cheese sauce). We have tried ricotta-based pizzas in the past, pre-pizza stone era, and never really liked that sort of texture, so we eliminated that option. We also didn’t want to bother with making and stirring a white sauce, since we wanted this to be a simple pizza that could be made (minus the dough) in less than twenty minutes. So finally we decided to make garlic-infused olive oil to brush generously over the crust. We then topped the pizza with mozzarella cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. After baking, we served each slice with fresh basil.
We were expecting great things from this pizza (although we were slightly concerned that the absence of a sauce would mean absence of flavor), but the results are amazing. This is better than the traditional homemade pizza we posted here. The flavors are fresh and light, and this pizza is far from bland- that garlic oil imparts so much flavor. The basil, while not in season, really brought this pizza to the level of perfection, so we highly recommend that you try to find some to top your pizza with. Buon appetito!
Crust recipe from Annie’s Eats
Garlic Olive Oil recipe based upon Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook
Serves 6-makes two medium-sized pizzas (that is, unless you have brothers who really like pizza)
For the crust:
½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups freshly grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese
Olive oil, for brushing the edge of the crust
For the crust:
Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, briefly mix the bread flour and salt Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture and the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours, preferably in a warm spot.
Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 500˚ F for a minimum of 30 minutes.
In a small pot, place the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat until the garlic starts to sizzle (do not let the garlic brown). Remove from heat and set aside.
Place a square of parchment paper onto a cutting board and dust it with cornmeal. Using your hands and/or a rolling pin dusted with flour, gently form the dough into a circle with a slight edge crust, on the parchment paper. Brush the inside with about half of the garlic-flavored oil. Brush the edge crust with plain olive oil. Sprinkle the top of the pizza with half of the mozzarella cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese. Use the cutting board to help you guide the pizza and parchment paper onto the stone. Let bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Cool slightly and top with basil. Slice and serve. Enjoy!
Side note: The links above for the basil instruct on how to chiffonade it, or slice it into thin strips, easily. It’s very useful. Check out this page for other helpful tips and techniques.