I have a confession to make: I love white foods. You hear it all the time….the decline of our diets is all the white food that we eat. Kids eat nothing but bread, crackers, chicken fingers (so, there’s a little bit of brown but everything is on the continuum of white to beige to brown), and many adults are guilty of the same dietary crime. But let’s be honest with ourselves here: we like white food because white food is delicious. Usually white food is the creamiest, the crunchiest, the most buttery. There’s nothing wrong with white food in moderation. I am a firm believer in this mantra, and while I love my vegetables-all kinds of vegetables-when I visit, say, an Italian restaurant, I am much more likely to order something with a creamy white sauce than a tomato sauce. White pizza is no exception.
Philip loves red sauces, and I’ll admit that I too have grown to love them over the years, so long as they don’t have the sharp, overpowering flavor that many red sauces can have. Still, I avoid pizza joints that are heavy on the sauce (or order my pizza with light sauce, though these special requests are ignored a little more often than I’d like and have resulted in my boycott of one pizza chain in particular) and, can you imagine, my favorite red sauces are the kind that have cream in them (penne alla vodka, anyone?).
My newest “blog project” for 2014 is to cook through twelve of my cookbooks and share some of the recipes (or my adaptations of them) here with you. January is The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook month. One of my go-to recipes is Deb’s pizza, usually her “rushed” pizza dough, which is ready to go in an hour or less, but since I was making this on Sunday I decided to go with her “leisurely” pizza dough recipe. These are the pizza dough recipes that I use constantly, now using them in place of the Pioneer Woman recipe that used to be my go-to, because they are so thin and crispy. I was planning to follow one of her recipes exactly and make a margarita pizza then throw some artichokes on it, but guess who forgot tomato sauce? No problem…béchamel it is!
Béchamel sauce is the base of so many of my favorite recipes, including macaroni and cheese (adding cheese to the béchamel to make a sauce mornay) and cream of mushroom soup (or sauce velouté), but here I just went with some garlic sautéed with the butter and left the cheese for the top of the pizza. I considered adding some kalamata olives because I’ve been trying to make peace with olives in my life, but I decided ultimately that then it would be black and white pizza and somehow that just doesn’t have the same ring. So, I present to you white pizza, with béchamel, artichokes, mozzarella (which Philip dug out of the depths of my freezer) and feta.
I thought this white pizza was perfect. But feel free to add olives if you like.
Yield: 2-4 servings
The pizza dough is from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook .
1 hrPrep Time:
10 minCook Time:
1 hr, 10 Total Time:
- 1 batch pizza dough (recipes listed below)
- olive oil (for the crust)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small clove garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 4oz mozzarella cheese (thinly sliced or grated)
- 1/2 can artichoke hearts-not marinated (drained and quartered)
- 1/2oz feta cheese (crumbled)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (I like SAF-instant)
- 1 1/2 cup or 190 grams all-purpose or bread flour (I use half white whole wheat)
- 1 teaspoon table salt (use slightly more if using kosher salt)
- olive oil (for coating bowl)
- Make the pizza dough: Place the warm water in a mixing bowl (I use my stand mixer for this). Sprinkle the yeast over the water and allow it to sit for five minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees for five minutes then turn it off. Add the flour and the salt to the yeast/water mixture. Stir together and knead by hand on a floured counter or with the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer for five minutes. Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of the mixing bowl and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Place it in the oven and allow to rise for 30-45 minutes then proceed with your pizza recipe.
- Make the pizza: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, If you have a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven.
- Melt the butter in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about thirty seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the garlic butter and whisk together. Cook for about one minute, then gradually whisk in the milk. Cook until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
- Roll the pizza dough out to a 10-12 inch circle on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Lightly brush or spray with olive oil.
- Spread the béchamel over the prepared pizza crust. Distribute the mozzarella evenly over the sauce, then top with the quartered artichoke hearts. Sprinkle with the crumbled feta.
- Place the pizza in the oven on the preheated stone or a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the pizza reaches desired doneness. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
Overnight Thin Crust Pizza Dough
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1 1/2 cup or 190 grams all-purpose or bread flour (I used half white whole wheat)
- 1 teaspoon table salt (slightly more if you are using kosher salt)
- olive oil (for coating the bowl)
|Place the warm water in a mixing bowl (I use my stand mixer for this). Sprinkle the yeast over and allow it to sit for five minutes.|
|Mix in the flour and the salt. Knead by hand on a floured counter or using your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment for five minutes. Lightly coat the inside of the mixing bowl with olive oil and turn the dough in the bowl to coat.|
|Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least eight hours. When you are ready to use, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature, then allow it to rise until doubled in size. Proceed with your pizza recipe.|