Friday, August 28, 2009

White Pizzas with Arugula

McHubby and I love homemade pizzas, and we especially enjoy white pies. We have made pizza many times, but this is one of the best pizza dough recipes we’ve used. It’s easy—just a matter of throwing the ingredients into a mixer until a ball of dough forms, kneading the dough, and allowing 30 minutes for the dough to rise. The dough can even be made in advance and refrigerated.

We usually cook our pizzas on our grill, but since it was gloomy and raining this evening, we used our pizza stone in the oven. When using a stone, be sure to sprinkle the pizza peel and stone with cornmeal for ease of moving the pizza. The cornmeal acts as tiny ball bearings that allow the pizza to simply slide off the peel onto the stone and vice versa. Also, the stone should be placed in a cold oven before preheating to avoid possible cracking.

Once this pizza is cooked, the crust is a perfect golden brown color with a firm, crunchy bite. The garlic oil enhances the flavors of the three white cheeses. Finally, the pie is topped with a crown of arugula salad tossed with a simple lemon vinaigrette. The salad complements the pizza, both in its fresh, crunchy texture and in its lemony, peppery flavor.

This was a fun and tasty Barefoot Bloggers selection by Andrea of Nummy Kitchen.

Source: White Pizzas with Arugula, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

For the Pizza
1 ¼ cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
Kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, sliced
5 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups grated Italian Fontina cheese (8 ounces)
1 ½ cups grated fresh mozzarella (7 ounces)
11 ounces creamy goat cheese such as Montrachet, crumbled

For the Salad
½ cup good olive oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 ounces baby arugula

For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and 3 tablespoons olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of the 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.

Meanwhile, make the garlic oil. Place ½ cup 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 F. (Be sure your oven is clean!)

Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place them on a sheet pan 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 parchment-lined sheet pan. (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, for the vinaigrette, whisk together ½ cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ 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 serve immediately.

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