Pizza Bianco is essentially a cheese pizza without tomato sauce. For this recipe I am using mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan and garlic wilted spinach. You could replace the ricotta with a young soft goat cheese and the spinach with wilted swiss chard. The spinach could be eliminated and you could add crisp bacon and perhaps some pesto, or sliced red onions, or sun-dried tomatoes to the recipe.
(makes 1 10 inch pizza, serves 2 to 3)
1 round of pizza dough (see recipe for basic pizza dough)
1 pound of spinach washed and stemmed (use baby spinach if available), or swiss chard, washed, stems sliced and leaves torn
4 cloves of garlic, minced (2 for pizza and 2 for spinach)
extra virgin olive oil
mozzarella, approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup, shredded
ricotta cheese, fresh if available, approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup
parmesan cheese, freshly grated
salt and pepper to taste
Place a pizza stone in the bottom third of the oven and preheat at the highest setting (500 degreesF) for 45 to 60 minutes.
While the oven is preheating, heat a saute pan over moderately high heat, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 of the minced garlic. Saute for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, but be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the spinach, in batches if necessary, and turn in the warm oil to wilt. Repeat until all the spinach is wilted, approximately 2 to 4 minutes. Remove spinach from pan and and season with salt and pepper. Drain and let cool.
Shape the dough into a round disk as outlined in the basic dough recipe. The dough should be thin in the middle with a slightly higher edge. Dust a pizza peel or a sheet pan with flour and place the stretched pizza dough on the peel or pan. Lightly brush the olive oil on the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border, and scatter the remaining 1/2 of the minced garlic on top of the oil. Lightly sprinkle the mozzarella on top of the oil leaving the same 1/2 inch border. Spread approximately 1/2 cup of the wilted spinach over the cheese, and lightly sprinkle the ricotta cheese on top of the spinach. Freshly grate some parmesan cheese on top. (If you aren’t using the spinach, you can scatter some chopped fresh oregano or thyme over the cheese)
If using the peel, slide the pizza from the peel onto the stone (it is a good idea to gently shake the peel first to make sure the pizza is not sticking).
Bake until the crust (top and bottom) is brown, or golden, crisp and starting to char on the edges. The cheese should be bubbling and just starting to caramelize.
The pizza will be ready in approximately 7 to 10 minutes. But the actual time will depend on the temperature of your oven. I generally check the pizza after 3 or 4 minutes and rotate it on the stone. You will quickly determine the best time for your pizza in your oven.
Remove the pizza from the oven, let it rest for a minute, slice and serve.