White Pizza with Arugula
The craving for pizza can strike at any time. Either late at night in the midst of a last minute study session or during those odd hours in between meals when you’re contemplating what to cook for dinner, pizza always seems to somehow cross your mind. Maybe there’s just something comforting in knowing that a good and, most importantly, filling meal is just a half hour away from when you pick up your phone to dial that familiar number.
The craving struck me this past weekend as I stood in the kitchen making lunch yet already pondering dinner’s options (it was one of those days). It helped that I had just received Ina Garten’s new cookbook, Back to Basics, a few days ago and have been really wanting to try a recipe from it. As I excitedly flipped through the book with its cardboard delivery box still in shreds at my feet, Ina’s recipe for white pizza with arugula immediately caught my attention.
I had never really had a white pizza before and the draw of the chance to play around with some different types of cheeses was too tempting. This pizza, with a pleasantly bitter and tangy salad on top, is fulfilling in so many ways. The richness of the cheeses with the lightness of the crust and the freshness of the arugula makes for one wholly complete meal. This definitely reaffirmed my wonderful love of the Barefoot Contessa (but that’s for another post).
White Pizza with Arugula, adapted from Ina Garten’s Back to Basics Cookbook
1 package of pre-made pizza dough (makes about two 8-inch pizzas)
1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
5 sprigs of thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup each Italian Fontina, fresh mozzarella, and creamy goat cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (or vinegar)
1. Bring the pizza dough to room temperature and pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F. On a floured surface, work dough into two 8-inch circles.
2. In a small sauce pan, add 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes and simmer for 10 minutes while not letting the garlic burn.
3. Brush the pizza dough with the garlic oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on cheeses and drizzle with an additional 1 tablespoon of garlic oil. Cook in oven on a sheet pan with parchment paper for about 15 minutes or until the crust and cheeses are golden brown.
4. For the vinaigrette, in a large measuring cup whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper until emulsified.
5. To serve, place a large bunch of arugula on the pizzas once they’re out of the oven and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
The recipe in Ina’s cookbook also includes directions for making the pizza dough yourself, which might be something fun to attempt. I was lazy so I just used pre-made pizza dough from Trader Joe’s (a very good product yet so cheap — only .99 cents for enough dough to make one medium sized pizza!). Although not in the original recipe, I added some slices of fresh tomatoes on top of the pizza as well.
I also used a fresh ball of mozzarella cheese and instead of grating it, I simply sliced them into wheels and layered them on top of the Fontina and goat cheese with the tomatoes. I also ended up “recycling” the garlic slices from the garlic oil by adding them as a topping, too. Using the extra garlic oil as a dip for the crust of the pizza is a good idea as well. I didn’t have any lemons on hand so I used a white vinegar instead and it tasted fine, though the freshness of a lemon would have livened up the salad a bit more.
For more complete directions, check out Ina Garten’s new cookbook! It is a wonderful resource with some very good recipes! The book itself is very well put together and exactly what I like in a cookbook — clear directions and interesting yet simple recipes with wonderful pictures!