I’m having a pizza oven built in my backyard. It’s going to be beautiful. I’m having it built right next to the veranda. With the view of the vineyard and the foothills in the background, this spot has been begging for a wood fire pizza oven. Once the oven is built, my backyard pizza, antipasto, chianti, and gelato dinners will be complete …
… and as my dream of a wanna be Italian continues to evolve, here’s an amazingly delicious and creative pizza I made in the small kitchen of my city apartment.
Who needs tomato sauce when you have roasted garlic and a whoooole bunch of cheese? I sure don’t, and you don’t either. What you do need is roasted garlic, fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, ricotta, burrata, and Parmesan cheese. Layer upon layer of flavor is the name of the game with this thin crust pie.
I’m a big fan of the burrata on this pizza. Burrata is a handcrafted ball of fresh mozzarella filled with shredded mozzarella and cream. The word Burrata means “buttered” in Italian. In keeping with it’s namesake, it has an extremely creamy and buttery texture. The combination of rich cheeses and savory roasted garlic are off set with the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. The result is a memorable, dreamy Italian style white pizza.
- 1 head garlic, roasted
- Pizza dough, 1/2 recipe (about 11 ounces), homemade or store-bought (My Whole Foods sells their in house made pizza dough. This is my dough of choice when I use store-bought.)
- 1 tbsp, plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, (Note: Try to find the house-made ricotta from the specialty cheese section in your grocery store)
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- A pinch of salt, and freshly cracked black pepper
- 5 large basil leaves, about 1 tbsp, chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried Italian herb seasoning blend (or dried oregano)
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved and seeds removed (hint: use your thumb to remove the seeds)
- 1 8oz ball buratta cheese, sliced
- Additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil for topping
Remove prepared pizza dough from refrigerator and place in a bowl that has been coated with 1 tsp olive oil. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel to keep dough from forming a crust, and allow dough to sit in a warm spot for 1 hour. This will bring your dough to room temperature making it easier to handle. Do not skip this step.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Meanwhile, prepare your ricotta mixture. In a small bowl combine ricotta, Parmesan, salt, black pepper, fresh basil, and Italian herb seasoning blend.
When your roasted garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins. Mash roasted garlic in a small bowl to form a paste.
Brush a baking sheet liberally with 1 tbsp olive oil. Stretch the dough to desired shape and thickness (I prefer an 1/8 inch rectangle shape for this recipe). I like to do this step directly on the oiled baking sheet. Be patient. The dough will naturally want to shrink up. Using the tips of your fingers, continually work the dough outwards.
Time to assemble your pizza. Top your prepared pizza dough with the roasted garlic paste, dollops of the ricotta cheese mixture, burrata cheese slices, and cherry tomatoes. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until pizza is crispy and cheese is bubbly and melted. Top with freshly grated parmesan and basil. Note: When you cut into your ball of burrata, make sure it is cold, and then work quickly. Slice the cheese trying to retain as much as the filling as you can and immediately transfer it to the pizza. You will want to wait to cut into the burrata until it is time to add it to the pizza.
Note: Either use a pizza stone, or cook the pizza on the bottom rack of your oven. This will help to create a crispy crust. If you cook the pizza on the bottom rack in your oven, be sure to check it at the 10 minute mark to ensure it is not burning. If the dough is nice and crisp at this point, move the pizza to the middle rack for the remainder of the cooking time.
Servings: 2 (Serving size: 3 slices)