Guess what? White pizza doesn't have to mean globs of ricotta or gluey, alfredo-like sauces. It can (nay, should) be vibrant and elegant, bursting with flavor from tender vegetables, nutty-sweet aged cheeses, salty meats — and just a drizzle of heavy cream. I am obsessed with this simple white pizza recipe, and once you master it, you will be, too. All you need are your favorite toppings, shredded cheese, and some heavy whipping cream.
The Simple White Sauce Method
Ready to make a homemade white pizza that tastes and feels fresh, not heavy? Just follow these basic steps (and trust the process):
- Preheat the oven and prep your pizza dough.
If you're using a baking sheet, preheat the oven to 500°F. If you're using a baking stone or steel, place the stone/steel in the bottom third of your oven, preheat the oven to the highest temperature possible, let it heat up for 30 minutes to an hour, and then switch the setting to Broil on high. Make sure your pizza dough is at room temperature.
- Stretch out the dough and brush it with oil or bacon grease.
Stretch or roll out a ball of room-temperature pizza dough to a 12- to 14-inch round (or whatever shape you want). Place the dough on a baking sheet or floured peel (if using a baking stone/steel), and brush it with a light coating of olive oil or bacon grease. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add other toppings.
Scatter on whatever toppings you want, like sliced tender veggies, chopped or torn cured meats, and cheese. (For this one, I used thinly sliced scallion "ribbons," torn prosciutto, quartered cherry tomatoes, and finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.)
- Drizzle with heavy cream.
Using a measuring cup or other spouted container, slowly drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream over the topped dough, making sure to distribute it evenly.
- Bake the pizza.
Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden around the edges and evenly browned on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 6 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel.
Nope! If you think about it, this is basically a deconstructed béchamel, with the starchy pizza dough, olive oil or bacon grease, and heavy cream. In the oven, the cream congeals into a sauce-like consistency as the pizza bakes. Then, when you drizzle the hot, finished pizza with a little more cream, that adds a fresh layer of flavor and a "sauce" that thickens up quickly so you can slice the pizza with minimal oozing.
You can use any toppings you like, but my favorites are thinly sliced leeks, scallions, or spring onions; quartered cherry tomatoes; cured or smoked meats like prosciutto, pancetta, and cooked chopped bacon; asparagus and other tender green veggies; mushrooms; and eggs.
Sure, it's your pizza after all. However, though lighter creams will work, heavy cream will give you the best flavor and texture. And it's only a few tablespoons, so you don't have to feel bad about it!
Simple White Pizza Recipe
- Cutting board and knife
- Rolling pin (optional)
- Large rimmed baking sheet or baking stone/steel
- Pizza peel (optional)
- pastry brush
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
- Extra-virgin olive oil or melted bacon grease, for coating the dough
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups (or more) sliced or chopped fresh vegetables and/or herbs (For this pizza, I used 4 scallions, thinly sliced lengthwise into ribbons and ¾ cup quartered cherry tomatoes)
- ⅓ cup (or more) torn cured meat or cooked chopped bacon (optional, I used 4 thin slices of prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces)
- ½ to ⅔ cup shredded cheese (I used aged gouda, but any cheese you love is perfect)
- 5 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
- Preheat the oven to 500°F (if using a baking sheet) or as high as it will go (if using a baking stone/steel; place the stone/steel in the bottom third of the oven before you start preheating). Let the oven preheat for at least 30 minutes. Then, if you’re using a baking stone or steel, switch the oven to Broil on high.
- Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12- to 14-inch circle, then transfer it to a baking sheet / pizza pan or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
- Drizzle the dough very lightly with olive oil or bacon grease, and use a pastry brush to spread the oil all the way to the edges of the dough. Season with a hefty pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Scatter on your veggie and/or meat toppings, then the cheese (if using). Drizzle half of the cream evenly over top and season with another big pinch of salt.
- Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden around the edges and evenly browned on the bottom—8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 6 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel.
- Remove the pizza from the oven. Immediately drizzle the remaining cream evenly over top and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Let the pizza sit for 5 minutes or until the cream has congealed, then slice and serve.