Wednesday, March 13, 2013

two hundred and three

I know that pizza is technically an Italian food, but over the years it has become ubiquitously American.  Whenever there is a gathering of people, complete with their varying food preferences, you can almost bet on the presence of a pizza.  It's simple enough for the pickiest of eaters, but can be jazzed up for those who prefer something with a little more texture or variety.  But the best part about pizza is that the "same old" cheese pie can become crave worthy by simply using quality ingredients.

No matter how much people may crave the "gourmet" pizzas, most of us routinely choose the sub-par delivery pizza over the fancypants wood-fired crust with artisanal* ingredients.  Why?  Because it's cheap and easy, and do you have any idea how long it takes to make a pizza???

45 minutes (even less if you buy your dough at the store.)  Seriously.

But what about the variety?  What if everyone wants something different?  Two words: white pizza.  Those who like "plain" invariably enjoy it, while it serves as the perfect base for those of us who prefer our pizzas a little less naked.  A base for what?  Why, a tasty arugula salad, of course--which just so happens to be the exact thing you need to make a plain white pizza into a memorable and almost-healthy meal.

Oh, and to you pickypantseses who aren't satisfied by either of those two options: just throw some pepperoni (or whatever you prefer) on top of half of the white pizza before baking--but don't ask the rest of us to share once you realize pepperoni is no match for arugula.

*Homer Simpson taught me how to spell this word.  No joke.  "artis-anal"

White Pizza with Arugula

 Crust :
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
Toppings :
1 cup Alfredo sauce
  2 cups Italian or mozzarella cheese
4 cups arugula or spring mix
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper

Make crust : Mix yeast, sugar and water in a medium bowl; allow to stand until yeast is foamy.  

Stir in flour and salt, then knead on a floured counter until dough forms a smooth ball, about 5 minutes.  Cover the dough with a moist lint-free towel or plastic wrap and allow to rest about 20 minutes (or while the oven is prehreating.)

Roll the dough out into a large circle or rectangle and position on a pizza stone or on an upside down cookie sheet (seriously, it works).  Make sure the crust is thin or it won't be crunchy.
Preheat the oven to 500 F.

Top crust : Spread the Alfredo sauce on top of the prepared and stretched pizza dough.  Top evenly with the cheese.

Bake at 500 F for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbly.  Allow to cool on pan about five minutes, then remove to a wooden cutting board or pizza peel before slicing.

While the pizza is baking, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until well combined (you're making a vinaigrette.)  Toss the arugula with the vinaigrette.

Serve the pizza topped with the salad (and a sprinkling of Parmesan, if desired.)

No comments:

Post a Comment