So, it’s late in the day, and the sunlight gives way to shadows, and I’m in a pizza kind of mood. I look to PIZZA BIANCA (White Pizza) as one of my favorites requiring no sauce, no meat, and a minimum of fuss. PIZZA BIANCA can take on many forms. It can be just a crust with oil and herbs or you can add a little cheese and maybe an olive or two. I especially like PIZZA BIANCA WITH THREE CHEESES because it has all of the elements of a good PIZZA BIANCA plus a little more.
This pizza is especially cool because it has so many uses. Aside from being another great pizza choice, it can be an appetizer when cut into small pieces, an accompaniment to your antipasti, or a more interesting substitute for bread at a meal when cut up and served in a basket– especially On the Patio - where I love to hang out for meals whenever weather permits.
It is so darn simple you won’t believe it and still retains a complexity with the choice of ingredients and flavors. Your average “garden variety” PIZZA BIANCA usually “pals up” with olive oil and herbs. This PIZZA BIANCA WITH THREE CHEESES runs up the ladder a little with, what I think, is a great mix of ingredients.
Roasted garlic – I start with the usual layer of olive oil and follow with roasted garlic mashed and spread out over the dough. If you are familiar with roasted garlic, you know how mild, nutty, and inoffensivo the garlic becomes when roasted in the oven prior to use. This is an easy step, which I describe in the recipe, and kicks this pizza into the stratosphere.
Cheeses – For my 3 cheeses, I selected some of my favorites: fresh mozzarella for it’s mild, creaminess, Parmigiano-Reggiano for a little sweet nuttiness (and also because I can’t imagine pizza without it), and Ricotta Salata for it’s salty flavor to balance the other milder cheeses. Also, the Ricotta Salata tends to hold its form a little more than the others and will stand out when the other cheeses melt together.
Other stuff – Sometimes I like to add Black Olives or Kalamata Olives sliced in half. They add a little brininess to the pizza. I love to sprinkle fresh Rosemary from the garden on this pizza. With the olive oil and garlic, the Rosemary is like the third of Three Tenors which make this pizza sing. I also like a little Red Pepper Flakes scattered over the top for some zip! Last but not least – the ingredient that ties it all together – a drizzle of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil before serving. What else could you possibly need?
The dough - Many people like to buy their dough. I know – it’s easy. If you’d like to make your own dough with a VERY easy recipe, check my post: PIZZA THAT’S AMORE
This is my mother, Loretta’s, pizza dough – with a little tweak from me. It is easy to make. You can make it ahead and freeze it. I like to have a couple of loaves in the freezer at all times so I can have pizza any time I like.
I always make my pizzas on the grill. If you add some wood chips to your grilling process, you get that beautiful wood fire flavor on your crust that is known around the world as the signature Napoletana style of producing a great pizza. Honestly, if you have enough wood in there, your flavor will not be much different from pizza cooked in those $15,000. Ferrara ovens that are legendary. You can’t achieve that indoors in the oven. Pizza made on the grill is also less messy than indoors. For a tutorial on this process, check out my post: PIZZA ON THE GRILL.
Let’s fire up that grill!
PIZZA BIANCA WITH THREE CHEESES
Makes: 1 Medium Pizza
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: About 5 minutes on a very hot grill
1 Loaf Pizza Dough – For an easy delicious recipe see: PIZZA THAT’S AMORE
1 Large Bulb Roasted garlic (instructions below)
Salt and Pepper
1 8 oz. ball Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Lots of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese – about 1/4 – 1/3 cup
1/8 lb. Ricotta Salata
1/2 c. Black Olives or Kalamata Olives sliced in 1/2
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Prepare your pizza dough.
Roast your whole bulb of garlic: Cut off the pointed end of the bulb. Slice it all the way across so that the tops of the cloves are exposed. Place it in foil and drizzle with olive oil. Seal up the foil and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes. Cool down before handling.
Roll out your pizza dough – Rub the top with a few drops of olive oil.
Take the roasted garlic bulb, turn it upside down, and squeeze out the soft roasted cloves onto the oiled dough. They should slide right out. Then mash them and spread them out on the dough with a fork.
Add a little salt and pepper.
Slice the mozzarella thinly and distribute it around the top of the pizza.
Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Shave the Ricotta Salata and add to the pizza. A vegetable peeler is a good tool for this.
Don’t overload your pizza – especially this one.
Distribute your olives next. Then add the red pepper flakes and as much fresh Rosemary as you like.
Cook your pizza as you like or use the grilling method: PIZZA ON THE GRILL
When your pizza is finished, give it a generous drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Enjoy your PIZZA BIANCA WITH THREE CHEESES with your cocktails, your dinner, or as an appetizer. It pairs beautifully with a lighter red wine like a Valpolicella or even a Barbera. The roasted garlic and earthy cheeses seem to beg for your favorite vino rosso.
PARLA COME MANGI!
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Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography