Monday, August 31, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers tackled Ina Garten's White Pizza with Arugula for our second recipe in August.

I've only had white pizza at our neighborhood joint. On Fridays, and Fridays only, they make clam pizza. If you're from the east coast, particularly Connecticut, you'll know that white clam pizza, when done right, is bliss. It's simplicity in itself--cracker thin crust, a brushing of olive oil, herbs and crushed red pepper, maybe a tiny sheen of cheese, loads of garlic and fresh, briny clams. It's a slice of the sea.

I digress. Anyways, Ina's pizza didn't call for clams, and it had a LOT of cheese. Three kinds to be exact: fontina, fresh mozzarella and goat cheese. To add freshness to the pizza, she topped it with a simple salad of arugula in a crisp lemon viniagrette.

My husband was skeptical. No meat on this pizza? And it has no tomato sauce? And it's topped with, of all things, salad? A Salad Pizza? What the heck?

But he's a good guy, willing to try whatever I fling on the table (as long as it's not casserole; casserole induces mutiny).

You can find Ina's recipe here.

Ina makes her own crust, and I'm sure it's great. I even thought I was going to brave the yeast package and give it a whirl, but life interfered.

In fact, it interfered so badly that I couldn't make this dish on deadline. I am several days late. Bad Girl!

So I schlepped down to the local pizza joint and they kindly let me buy a few balls of dough. They rock.

I was having a guest for dinner, so I decided to make 2 large pizzas instead of the little individual ones Ina made. Our dinner guest also happened to be a dude, so I had mercy on him and made the second pizza with tomato sauce, proscuitto and roasted red peppers.

I rolled out the dough, brushed it with the spicy olive oil, topped it with a ton of cheese, a little extra dizzle of oil, looked at it was just too white. I couldn't do it--I had to put some color on that sucker. I had a few of the caramelized tomatoes left over from this post, so slapped them on and shoved that pie in the oven. While it cooked, I made the lemon viniagrette, tossed it with the arugula and waited for the timer to buzz.

The pizza came out gooey and bubbly and smelled delicious. I sliced it, topped it with the salad and we dug in.

We took an experimental bite: Whoa. Seriously good. The peppery arugula and the tang of the lemon cut the incredible richness of the cheese.

As we worked our way through a slice, however, our enthusiasm dulled a little. It was really terrific, don't get me wrong, but...none of us really wanted a second slice. For us, it was simply TOO rich. Maybe there are a few benefits to having a Health Nazi wife; even my husband thought it was a one-slice experience.

I definitely recommend this recipe, but I think it's better suited as an appetizer. Make it, cut it into small slivers, and I think your guests will swoon.


  1. I love white pizza, but the ones I have had usually have a ton of oil, so I can't eat a lot at one time, either. And I think Ina uses a ton of cheese in all of her recipes. (I know, I know, how does Gibby know this, you ask? Well, you would be proud of me because last winter I was on an Ina kick and made a recipe a week. And they worked. Don't worry, your chicken recipe will be attempted soon. Just waiting for a night when people are HOME, dammit.)

  2. I enjoy veggie pizzas, but white pizzas seem to mean lots of cheese most of the time. The arugula is a great idea to help cut the grease from the cheese. The slice looks delicious!

  3. arugula? I think we call it rocket in the UK - gosh I never realised is like zucchini and our courgette and eggplant and our aubergine! Pizza sounds good but maybe the tomato sauce is what helps ease the richness? xxx

  4. I think it looks good! I love white pizza, and veggie pizza. Maybe different cheeses, or pesto instead of one cheese, or actually serving as an appetizer sounds perfect!

  5. I've actually tried this recipe before and my husband and I love it. The kids? Not so much. And for the reason you's a little too cheesy for them. I have cut back on the cheese before and it still tastes great.

  6. I'd be skeptical too. Salad on my pizza?
    But you sold me. I'll have to try it sometime soon.

  7. Sounds like heaven to me because I love cheese. By that, I mean I REALLY LOVE cheese! In my opinion cheese is so good it deserves to be it's own food group.
    Too cheesy?? What are you people talking about? I don't think that's possible.

  8. Oh man, I love love love white pizza. Especially topped with ricotta, yum. This version with all that cheese and arugula looks especially fantastic! Ahhh, now I'm starving again.