White pizza, or pizza bianca, is simply pizza without tomato sauce—and, in this instance, with an inspired and noteworthy dollop of ricotta.
This subtly flavored white pizza is what author Jamie Geller refers to as “dressed down.” Her words. Forgive us, but those of us who delight in simpler pleasures consider plain white pizza plenty dressed up. Spiffy, in fact. Still, for those of you who prefer to be knocked giddy with flavor, you may wish to strew this pizza with sautéed garlic and fresh torn basil leaves (as the author suggests), hot chile flakes, or any of countless other strew-ons suggested by our recipe testers in the comments below the recipe. Suit yourself.–Renee Schettler
WHAT WINE CAN I PAIR WITH A WHITE PIZZA?
One last word of wisdom from the author. Geller posits, “Never thought of Champagne with pizza? Think again.” White pizza and white wine are a marriage made in heaven. Pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc are a terrific match but something bubbly is even better. And don’t worry if it’s not the expensive stuff—sparkling white wine does just as well as the fancy bottles.
- Baking stones (optional), but worth it
- Finely ground cornmeal for the baking sheet
- 1 pound pizza dough
- All-purpose flour for the work surface
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup ricotta
- Coarse sea salt (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Lightly sprinkle 2 pizza stones or baking sheets with a dusting of cornmeal.
- Separate the pizza dough into 2 equal pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough, then transfer it to a prepared pizza stone or baking sheet. Drizzle each dough round with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Top each with 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella and dot all over with 1/2 cup ricotta (about 10 dollops per pizza). Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the pans once halfway through baking.
- Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt and an additional drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
Blue Cheese, Pear, and Arugula Pizza variationInstead of drizzling the dough directly with olive oil, first arrange 2 unpeeled, cored, and very thinly sliced pears on the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Then drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Bake until the crust is just starting to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle 2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese over the pears and scatter 1/2 to 1 cup baby arugula over the top. Drizzle with more olive oil, if desired. Serve immediately.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
If you're looking for wonderful white pizza that isn't complicated, here it is. Simple and delicious, that's what this white pizza recipe is. We devoured this pizza rather quickly. Everyone loved it. It didn’t matter what anyone's personal tastes were—carnivore, vegetarian, etc.—this pizza was a hit. The creamy ricotta with the golden brown crisped mozzarella and the hint of salt was well-balanced and satisfying. The look is rustic but beautiful. No dress up necessary. The measurements are spot on. It took my pizza 14 minutes in the oven. We drizzled some reduced balsamic vinegar on top of a few slices–magnifico!
I was pleasantly surprised by the final result of this white pizza. I was sure while making it that it would be quite salty. Once it was out of the oven and I cut a slice, though, I was amazed at its light texture and its mild and not-terribly-salty flavor. I really, really liked how light this white pizza was. However, I was disappointed at the single flavor note of this pizza—salt. So I decided to dress it up, as the author suggests, and added a chiffonade of basil and sautéed garlic on top of the cheese. Lo and behold, the transformation! The pizza went from a single note to an amazing flavor profile. I'll be keeping this in my recipe collection.
My pizza philosophy is generally “more is better," but I’m working on changing that. I was fully prepared to dump sautéed garlic, torn basil leaves, and some red pepper flakes on this white pizza, just for good measure. But after the first bite, I was hooked on this pizza's simplicity and shoved all that extra stuff aside. Really good pizza from perfectly ordinary ingredients. (I shredded a block of low-moisture mozzarella (in other words, not the fresh stuff) and used a perfectly ordinary tub of part-skim ricotta so the cheese wouldn’t throw off too much moisture.)
But we’re a house divided over this pizza. My husband isn't really a drizzle-on-the-olive-oil kind of guy. He thought the pizza was too greasy. I think just a very light drizzle over the crust would have been sufficient for him, and the pizza wouldn’t really have suffered.
This white pizza recipe is simple yet scrumptious. In fact, it's simple enough for teen boys—teen boys who can't even find the hamper—to make when I call upon them to cook dinner, and that's a win in my book! My sister and I prepared 4 pizzas total, and this was by far my favorite. The little clouds of ricotta tasted so delicious with the fruitiness of the olive oil. I didn't deviate much from the recipe except to add some red pepper flakes for a bit of kick, but the possibilities for sprucing this up are endless. I'm dreaming of a white pizza...
We love this white pizza recipe. I prepared a simple pizza crust, and my daughter Lena, age 10, followed the recipe for the toppings. Everyone at the table agreed that the result was absolutely delicious. I served it with an arugula salad for lunch. We will follow this recipe exactly as is again. Next time we may add a bit of basil and garlic.
This white pizza recipe is simple, fast, and far from disappointing. The timing was perfect and the golden color of the cheese was gorgeous. Don't be scared of adding salt and olive oil after the pizza is done; without them, the pizza just doesn't taste the same. Make sure to use high-quality olive oil so that the flavor is enhanced. Much as the author points out, this pizza is great as a stand-alone, but also the perfect foundation for adding other ingredients. For the dough, I used the Jim Lahey pizza dough recipe linked to in the recipe, though I made it gluten-free by using a mixture of flours.
I love pizza. Who doesn't? Seriously. But there's pizza and there's pizza. Because I was unhappy with what's served at a lot of pizza parlors, I started making my own pizza using the baking method from Jim Lahey. His secret, besides the dough, is to preheat a pizza stone using the broiler to get it super hot. That works great. So I was curious how this white pizza recipe would fare.
I liked the simple toppings, especially with the addition of the basil. I think the key here since you use only a few ingredients, is to buy the best ones you can afford, including fresh mozzarella—maybe even burrata—and fresh ricotta. I made the white pizza again later with Lahey's high-heat baking method, and I preferred that method for the crust.
This is an excellent white pizza. The use of ricotta gives it a nice, creamy texture. The Jim Lahey crust is divine. Please make the crust a day ahead to fully enjoy its wonderful flavor. My only suggestion would be to go against the desire to use fresh mozzarella instead of slightly harder, grated mozzarella cheese. I went the fresh route with the first one and was disappointed. Use a high-quality olive oil since you're actually using it to flavor, as opposed to just slicking a skillet for cooking onions.
This is a really delicious white pizza recipe. I suggest using good, full-fat ricotta as well as full-fat mozzarella. Fresh mozzarella, with its extra moisture and more delicate flavor, doesn’t work for this recipe. It just gets lost, which is a waste of a wonderful product. For the first pizza, I added thin slices of garlic to half the rolled-out dough. With the pizza baking at 450°F, I figured that thin garlic slices would cook quickly enough, and indeed they did. I couldn't find nice fresh basil, so I had to leave that out. Although tasty, I wouldn't add the garlic again. It just interfered with the very tasty ricotta. For the second pizza, I put thin slices of pancetta on top. Oh my! Do yourself a favor and add that to your pizza. Really wonderful.
I heated up leftovers on a pizza stone, which I had heated in a 450°F oven for about 20 minutes before putting the pizza slices on it. The leftovers were even better than the pizza the night I made it. The bottom crust was crisper and more to our liking. When I make this pizza again, which will probably be fairly soon, I'll bake it on the pizza stone. I made this in conjunction with Jim Lahey's pizza dough recipe, which is linked to in the ingredient list above. I highly recommend this pizza dough. It’s very user-friendly and makes a great-tasting crust.
White pizza is a really nice change from tomato-based pies. It brings a new level of sophistication to pizza because there are only a few ingredients. Also, the Jim Lahey pizza dough is delicious and easy. I've made it before and the 18 hours it takes to develop flavor makes a huge difference in taste. I did add some garlic as suggested, which added a little pizzazz. The only problem I ran into was that it took 15 minutes to bake. The crust was on the thin side, and I know my oven is spot-on. I think an even hotter oven would've helped too. Outside of that, I made a tomato-based pie and this white pizza, and it was the white pizza my testers went back to for seconds.
I made this white pizza recipe with Jim Lahey's pizza dough and really enjoyed it. So rich and satisfying. The quality of the ricotta and mozzarella makes a big difference in the finished product. However, I think of this as more of a starter recipe to which you can add additional flavorings. I think minced raw garlic under the cheese would be great, and/or some arugula on top of the cheese after the pizza comes out of the oven, or maybe some thinly shaved red onions or shallots.
Originally published March 3, 2014