There’s nothing quite like making pizza dough, leaving it to rest for an hour and coming back to be mocked by a gnarly, stubborn knot.
Oh. The. Profanity.
That’s why I swear by Ina Garten’s pizza dough recipe. You use your stand mixer for the kneading. The rising time is 30 to 40 minutes instead of an hour or longer. And the dough is soft and elastic, easy to shape and stretch without ripping. Very important if you’re prone to crappy pizza dough-induced bouts of profanity. Which I am.
And, as long as we’re making pizza dough, we might as well knock out two of my favorite end-of-the-summer pizzas: Ina Garten’s White Pizza with Arugula and a classic Pizza Margherita.
The White Pizza with Arugula is a new favorite. Ina’s homemade pizza crust brushed with a spicy garlic oil, covered with a mixture of cheeses (chevre, fontina and mozzarella), baked and later topped with arugula that’s been tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. It’s an unexpected combination …
Jeffrey: “Hey, Ina! You put your salad on my pizza!”
Ina: “No, you put your pizza under my salad! How good is that?”
The fresh, bitter, peppery arugula pairs so nicely with the intense bite of the melted cheeses. Plus, it’s got that whole hot-and-cold thing going on. And the garlic oil doesn’t hurt.
Perfect for me.
But my Jeff is all about the classic Pizza Margherita. It casts a spell over him that makes him forget he hates tomatoes.
The Pizza Margherita, named for Queen Margherita in 1889 and created to represent the colors of the Italian flag, has three toppings: sliced tomatoes or tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. Simple and summery. You might be tempted to add more to such a simple pizza, but try it this way first. There’s a reason why that trio of ingredients is used again and again.
The following recipe with give you enough no-fail pizza dough to make six 8-inch pizzas, as well as toppings for three White Pizzas with Arugula and three Pizzas Margherita, but you can easily adjust the quantities to suit your needs.
Profanity not required.
Pizza Two Ways: White Pizzas with Arugula and Pizzas Margherita
Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics”
Makes 6 8-inch pizzas
- 1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
- 2 packages dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
- Kosher salt
Garlic Oil for White Pizzas with Arugula:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Topping for White Pizzas with Arugula:
- 1 1/2 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (4 ounces)
- 3/4 cup grated fresh mozzarella cheese (3 1/2 ounces)
- 5 1/2 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
Vinaigrette for White Pizzas with Arugula:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces baby arugula
- 1/2 lemon, sliced
Topping for Pizzas Margherita:
- 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick (or 1 cup crushed tomatoes)
- 3 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or grated
- Fresh basil leaves
- Kosher salt and pepper
- To Make The Dough: Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of 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.
- To Make The Garlic Oil: In a small saucepan, bring 1/4 cup of olive oil, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 5 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Place the doughs on sheet pans 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 sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (If you’ve chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)
- For the White Pizzas with Arugula: Brush 3 pizza dough circles with the garlic oil, and season 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.
- For the Pizzas Margherita: Layer the tomato slices or spread the crushed tomatoes evenly on 3 pizza dough circles, leaving a 1/4-inch border around each pizza. Top with mozzarella and basil leaves, and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake the pizzas for 10 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.
- To Assemble the White Pizzas with Arugula: Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the greens. When the 3 White 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 a slice of lemon, and serve immediately.