Spirit of Hot SpringsREAD ONLINE
A simple, rustic white pizza for those not fans of red sauceOriginally Published April 4, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated April 2, 2013 at 5:47 p.m.
If you’re not a huge red-sauce fan but do love pizza, this one is for you. A quick meal for two, this recipe can be doubled for a group. It pairs well with white wine. I chose Macon-Villages Chardonnay, which goes nicely with cheeses and cream dishes.
Simple yet rustically elegant, this little meal comes together in a flash. Good ingredients, fresh herbs and an infused olive oil layered upon a crispy crust hit the spot. Since I always have rosemary and parsley on hand, they were the top candidates for this pizza. The latter herb is highly underrated — parsley has a wonderfully unsullied flavor and tastes somewhat like it looks: green, crisp and fresh.
Many groceries stock delicious brands of pizza dough, so go ahead and cheat. After all, they’ve already made it, and it’s just waiting for you to bake it. Many brands of dough in a can aren’t bad either.
For olive oil, I use infused oil that has a mix of garlic, salt, white and red pepper, thyme, bay leaves, some coriander and fennel. Making your own infused oil is easy: Just mix up a grouping of your favorite herbs and spices, about a teaspoon of each, and let the mix “steep” in some olive oil for a bit. The longer this assembly melds together, the better it gets! Specialty food stores also carry great selections of infused oils.
As for cheese, use ricotta for the base (then the oil splashed on top): Shredded mozzarella, Romano, provolone and fontina make up the lactose body of this pizza with a sprinkling of Parmesan for good measure. If buying a gaggle of cheeses isn’t your cup of tea, use a blend from the grocery.
Bake the pizza until it looks done and the cheese is toasted and completely melted. As soon as you take the pizza from the oven, sprinkle the fresh herbs on top and let the heat wilt them perfectly, adding that fresh layer only herbs can. A rustic cutting board is the perfect platform to use to serve the pizza.
The Farmer’s White Pizza
1 grocer’s bakery pizza dough, preferably thin crust
3/4 cup of ricotta cheese
About 4 tablespoons of infused olive oil
2 cups of mixed cheeses (mozzarella, provolone, fontina and Romano)
3/4 cup of shredded or grated Parmesan
Handful of curly-leaf parsley and rosemary leaves (basil or thyme would be great in summer)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Lay out the dough on a greased baking sheet, and spread the ricotta across the dough; then drizzle with the oil.
Sprinkle the mixed cheeses evenly across, and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven when the dough is crispy and the cheese is toasted.
Toss on some fresh herbs, and serve hot with a good chilled white wine.
James T. Farmer III shares his love of food, flowers and photography on his blog All Things Farmer. His book A Time to Plant is now available. He writes articles for One for the Table, Amy Ephron’s online magazine that specializes in food, politics and love. Find it at www.oneforthetable.com.