Friday Night Easy Dinners: A White Pizza RecipeAdd to Recipe Box
If you get tired of tomato sauce, I think you will really enjoy my white pizza recipe. Actually, it isn’t so much of a recipe as it is a guide to creating your own delicious white pizza.
I decided to write a few posts about Friday night quick and easy dinner recipes, and this is the second “installment”. (Look here for last week’s stuffed baked potatoes recipe).
Friday nights are not great cooking nights for me. I am not totally sure why. I think it’s partly because I am just tired by Friday night. Maybe too because we work so much during the week, not cooking on a Friday night is just a treat, a great start to the weekend. Either way, I have a few longstanding favorites that I make often on a Friday night. One of them is white pizza.
I grew up in a 1/2 Italian household, so spaghetti was a more than weekly dinner. I loved it, still do. My mother made fantastic pasta sauce. But I think all those dinners of tomato sauce on pasta made me a bit tired of red sauce. I don’t always want to eat it, although I still may want the pasta or pizza experience. Hence white pizza – pizza without the red sauce, or any sauce for that matter.
Sound boring? Actually it’s anything but.
The recipe starts out of course with the base, a delicious pizza crust. If you are up for making your own, that’s great. You can find our white pizza dough recipe here and our recipe for a healthier whole wheat pizza crust here.
You can make pizza dough in the bread machine too and it is really time saving. Just put all the ingredients into your bread machine, turn it on, and do whatever you want while it creates your delicious dough. We have a recipe for bread machine pizza dough here.
I hate to admit this but I must be honest. On Friday nights, when I am REALLY not in the mood for any kind of fuss, my go to pizza crust often comes from the grocery store. Not the dried out pre made ones in plastic, but freshly made dough in the store’s refrigerator section. I know most of the grocery stores around my area carry it, and I am sure you can probably find it too. If not, see if your local bakery will sell you a batch of white or whole wheat bread dough.
Once you have your dough, you need to get it on the baking pan. Simply spread the dough out with your fingers, or use a rolling pin to roll it into the shape you need for your pan.
Here is a great tip that I got from a chef on the Food Network: If your dough is stubborn about rolling out easily, just leave it for a few minutes and let it rest. Go back to it about 5 or 10 minutes later and it should be much better. In the meantime, you can be getting your toppings ready.
Place the pizza dough on the pan and spread with your fingers to make it fit the right pan exactly. Or go free form if you want and make a rustic shape that isn’t quite perfect. All will taste great.
A moment about pizza pans. You can bake a pizza on any baking pan and it will probably be just fine. There are two ways to bake your pizza though that result in a much crispier, well cooked pizza crust. They are:
1. A pan with holes as in the image below. A pizza pan with perforations allows the hot air to penetrate the dough from below much more effectively and results in a pizza with a nice crispy crust.
2. A pizza stone. A good quality pizza stone is wonderful, not only for making great pizzas, but also for baking bread, rolls and biscuits. You place it in the oven to heat up before you use it, then quickly slide the ready to bake pizza right on to the stone. Watch your fingers, the stone is hot.
A real fire brick stone duplicates the results you would get from an old stone pizza oven. It heats evenly, retains the heat and results in a beautifully baked crisp pizza crust.
Placing the pizza on the stone is easiest if you have it on a pizza peel, which is simply a piece of wood with a long handle on it, like the one below from Amazon.com. Just add a bit of cornmeal to the peel before you add the pizza dough so it slides off the peel easily.
Okay, you’ve got your dough made, rolled out and ready for toppings. This is what I did for my white pizza.
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
hot chili flakes (Optional)
4 ounces of mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 ounces ham, sliced thinly
a few leaves of fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C), with your pizza stone in the oven if you are using one.
I add the garlic and hot chili flakes (just a few for me. Add more or leave them out to your taste) to the olive oil and let it sit while I chop everything else.
Using a pastry brush, brush the entire surface of the pizza with the seasoned oil, reserving some of it for later. Sprinkle the pizza with the Parmesan cheese, then spread the mushrooms and ham evenly over the surface of the pizza dough. Top with the grated mozzarella cheese.
Bake the pizza in an oven that has been preheated to 450°F (230°C) for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned.
Before serving, brush the top of the pizza, especially the crust edges, with the rest of the seasoned olive oil.
Cut into slices or squares and enjoy.
You don’t have to use my exact ingredients. A white pizza is wonderful topped with all sorts of things including sliced tomatoes, artichokes, olives, onions, sausage, or pretty much anything you think you will enjoy on a pizza. I like sliced tomatoes because they give a bit of the tomato flavor we love in a pizza without having to have red sauce on it.
Here is a variation on the white pizza recipe that I like to make, this one with sliced red onions and mushrooms.
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