Just a few "secret" ingredients make this white pizza far from basic.
I'll venture a guess that, next to Margherita, three-cheese is one of the most universally loved toppings of all time. And though white pizza (a.k.a. pizza bianco) has no season, it seems most appropriate to post it now, when the first snows have begun to fall and holiday break is just days away. I mean, is there anything cozier than chewy pizza crust topped with an oozy three-cheese blanket? I think not.
There are three additions that make this my favorite version of classic white pizza. First, I brush the dough with parsley oil, which adds a hint of brightness to contrast all the creamy cheese. Then, when the pizza comes out of the oven, I dust it with some ground sumac or smoked paprika for delicious, smoky depth of flavor. And finally, I give it a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley for texture and a pop of color.
If you don't have ground sumac or smoked paprika on hand, feel free to use crushed red pepper flakes, urfa pepper, or regular paprika instead. If you're making this in the summer when basil is plentiful, use that in place of the parsley (or try lemon balm). Also, play around with the cheeses! Instead of mozzarella, try provolone. And instead of Parmesan, try aged Gouda.
Three-Cheese White Pizza
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 handful fresh parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for finishing
- 1 (14 to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese shredded (1 cup)
- ¼ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- ground sumac or smoked paprika, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 550°F or as high as it will go (if using a stone/steel, put it on a rack in the center or bottom third of the oven before you start preheating).
- In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Using a mortar and pestle or cocktail muddler, crush the handful of fresh parsley leaves into the oil until the leaves are mostly broken down and the oil is a yellowish green color.
- Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12-inch circle, then transfer it to an oiled baking sheet or a floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
- Brush the dough all over with the parsley oil and season with a pinch or two of salt and a grind or two of black pepper. Sprinkle on the mozzarella, spoon dollops of the ricotta mixture on top, and finish with the Parmesan cheese.
- Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 6 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel.
- Take the pizza out of the oven. Drizzle it with a little oil, season with a pinch or two of salt and a grind of black pepper, and dust lightly with ground sumac or smoked paprika (if using). Finish with the chopped fresh parsley. Slice and serve.