Television I adore: Frasier, Monk, I Love Lucy, Arrested Development—anyone sensing an off-air theme here? I mention this little trivia because Pear readers love to discuss reality cooking shows, and I’m saying it again: I simply don’t watch them. Remember when I judged Iron Chef? I’m not competitive in nature, whether we’re talking about my flute playing or putt-putt game. I don’t watch much food tv anyhow, with our new condo kitchen far from living room viewing potential, and I prefer to spend my time in there. Listening to LPs.
Back in the day, when we lived in our apartment (you know, two months ago), I would come home from work, throw on my apron, and saute simultaneously with Ina. My routine has changed, but one particular television recipe stuck in my mental taste buds all this time. So I finally attempted Claire Robinson’s White Pizza.
“Attempted” is a joke, because a first grader could create this 5-ingredient wonder with equal success.
And Andrew had a cow it was so good—not one complaint over the lack of pepperoni.
This would be a smashing appetizer. Add it to the repertoire, folks. Fab.u.lous.
Easiest White Pizza
God Bless You, Claire Robinson, serves 4
garlic-flavored olive oil
1 lb. ball pizza dough, thawed
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves, more for garnish
Never a fan of fresh oregano, I insist you try it in this context. This is how oregano was meant to be enjoyed. If your mother-in-law’s wild oregano bush is not so close by, you’ll just have to grab one of those fresh herb packs in the salad section. Trust me. Do not skip the oregano.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven.
Brush the pizza pan/pizza stone with oil. (Homemade garlic oil: heat several crushed cloves of garlic in oil over low heat until fragrant).
On a work surface, using your hands (or, who are we kidding, a rolling pin), press the pizza dough into a large flat disk and transfer it to the greased pan. Using your fingers, press the dough out until it has stretched to the perimeter of the pan. Create a dough “lip” around the outer edges of the pan. Brush the entire surface of the dough lightly with garlic oil and pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, to prevent bubbling.
Evenly spread the mozzarella over the crust. Using 2 spoons, dollop teaspoon-sized mounds of ricotta evenly over the mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and evenly sprinkle the chopped oregano over the top.
Bake in the lower third of the oven until the crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly and browning on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before garnishing with additional oregano—serious about this—and slicing into 8 pieces.
I served this with a very simple salad of romaine and dried figs. Drizzle lightly with equal parts balsamic vinegar and agave nectar whisked together. One of those unexpected Linventions that complemented this light meal. It might sound dainty (and risky for a pepperoni-loving spouse), but Andrew returned for thirds.