Saturday, July 17, 2010

White Pizza with Arugula

Friday night of this past week was the first night that I was home before 7:30 pm, so we decided to take advantage of it by taking the dog for a walk and then making two kinds of pizza for dinner.  Even though I was home by 6:30, we still didn't manage to eat dinner until almost 9 pm.  Oops.  If we had stuck to just one pizza for dinner, we probably would have eaten by 8:30pm, but such is life.  I really liked both pizzas (actually I slightly preferred this white pizza, while Alex slightly preferred the Eggplant Pizza), so I think it was worth the extra 30 minutes!

This recipe was actually one of the main reasons I bought this Ina Garten cookbook and it was well worth it.  I love white pizza and I love pizza with arugula, but every time I have attempted to make either in the past it just hasn't been that great.  And I have never tried to make pizza dough before, but I kept hearing that this pizza dough was a great one to try.  I have to admit that this time we didn't bother to make the dough.  Instead, I picked up a ball of whole wheat pizza dough from Whole Foods.  But if you have the time and the inclination to make your own pizza dough, this is supposedly a great recipe to try.  One of these days I promise I will test it out, but until then you're on your own.  Another pizza dough recipe that I have heard is a great basic dough recipe is Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough.  I haven't tried it out either, but I hear really good things. Anyway, even with store-bought whole wheat pizza dough, this was a great white pizza.  I loved the blend of creamy mozzarella, tangy goat cheese, and smooth fontina cheese.  I also loved the garlic oil that you brush the dough with before topping with cheese, and then drizzle over the top.  If you want a particularly saucy pizza this isn't your recipe, but I rarely like a lot of sauce on my pizza, so this was perfect for me.  That was Alex's only complaint about the pizza - that there wasn't much sauce so it seemed a little dry, but I love my pizza that way.  It was nice, fresh, and light (mostly due to the arugula with the lemon vinaigrette on top).  I loved it.  Alex liked it.  I consider that a smashing success.

Recipe after the jump!

White Pizza with Arugula
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients
By Ina Garten

For the dough: 
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) 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 

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.

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.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
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.

TIP Make sure the bowl is warm before you put the water and yeast in; the water must be warm for the yeast to develop.

TIP Salt inhibits the growth of yeast; add half the flour, then the salt, and then the rest of the flour.

TIP 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.

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