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White Pizza with Arugula (& Potato & Mushroom)--Barefoot Bloggers

Posted Aug 27 2009 12:00am
Our second Barefoot Bloggers recipe for August; Ina's White Pizza with Arugula was selected by the wonderful Andrea of Nummy Kitchen. I happen to love pizza bianca or white pizza, because I think not having tomato sauce really allows the flavors of the toppings to come out. Ina's pizza is covered in three kinds of cheese--fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese and then is topped with some lightly-dressed arugula salad. 

It sounded delicious but I wanted to cut down a bit on the amount of cheese (love it but don't need so much of the extra fat and calories), but substitute it with some veggie toppings to keep it satisfying. I had decided to add some oyster mushrooms from my CSA box and was trying to think of another veggie when I saw a comment on the BB page from Kate at Warm Olives and Cool Cocktails that said she put potato on her pizza. Bingo! I love thinly sliced potato on pizza. Thanks Kate! ;-) My other confession...I didn't make the pizza dough! (cue gasp of horror!). It's like this, I made the dough when we did grilled pizza last year so I know I can do it but I am having "a week", it was hot today and frankly I just didn't feel like messing with the extra steps. Solution? Whole Foods in their deli section has baggies of freshly-made whole wheat pizza dough that is really good, so I grabbed a bag and saved myself some time, effort and a couple of kernels of sanity. It's cheaper and better than most pre-made crusts and I like the fact I can work the whole wheat in there too. 

You can find the recipe for Ina's pizza in "The Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics" (pages 197-198) or on the Food Network site here.

White Pizzas with Arugula
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten
(Makes 6 Pizzas)

For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degree) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, sliced
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the topping:
3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)
11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as montrachet, crumbled

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces baby arugula
1 lemon, sliced

Mix the dough:
Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Make garlic oil:
Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!) Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)

Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.

Make the vinaigrette:
Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the greens.

When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza and a slice of lemon and serve immediately.

Tips: Make sure the bowl is warm before you put the water and yeast in; the water must be warm for the yeast to develop. Salt inhibits the growth of yeast; add half the flour, then the salt, and then the rest of the flour. To make sure yeast is still "alive," or active, put it in water and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If it becomes creamy or foamy, it's active.

Notes/Results: This is one good pizza! All of the flavors and textures came together perfectly in this recipe. The whole wheat crust was tender and good. The additions I made were to use my mandoline to cut paper thin slices of a baby Yukon gold potato and I cooked them in the pan with the garlic oil mixture. The mushrooms I softened slightly in a separate pan with a bit of olive oil. Before baking the pizza, I layered the potatoes on the crust, overlapping them slightly and put the mushrooms  on top, then added the cheese, using about 2 1/2 ounces for my pizza, which with the other toppings was plenty. My pizza baked about 11 minutes and was perfect. I would make this recipe again for sure. (I need to use up the rest of the pizza dough anyway!

Thanks to Andrea for a great and delicious choice! You can see who the other Barefoot Bloggers are and see what they thought of their pizzas by going to the BB site here.

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