White Pizza with Spinach and Ricotta

White Pizza with Spinach

A few years ago curiosity got the better of me and I tried a “white pizza” at one of my favourite pizza restaurants. White pizza is made without tomatoes and I didn’t quite know what to expect. I had my virgin white pizza moment with a spinach and ricotta topping and all my reservations melted away after the first bite. Lighter and with more space for the single ingredients, the absence of tomato sauce didn’t lessen that feel good pizza pleasure.

I wrote about my Sunday pizza tradition a few weeks ago and yesterday was no exception. It has been ages since my last white pizza and, as it’s been on my mind for a while, I bought some crisp winter spinach and ricotta. To finish it off I added some olive oil infused with garlic and some crushed black pepper. The dough was light and crisp, it soaked some oil, but not too much, a bit like a Focaccia. The spinach was crisp and had some bite as in winter it’s a bit thicker while the ricotta brought a touch of velvety smoothness.

White Pizza with Spinach

White Pizza with Winter Spinach, Ricotta and Olive Oil

I start to prepare the dough 2 hours before I bake it to give it enough time to rise.

For 1 big pizza (size of 1 baking sheet) you need

For the topping

fresh spinach, rinsed, 250g / 9 ounces
fresh ricotta 250g / 9 ounces
oilve oil 4-6 tablespoons
garlic, cut in half, 1 clove
salt and crushed black pepper

Warm up the olive oil together with the garlic for 2-3 minutes.

For the dough

plain flour 350g / 12.5 ounces plus more for mixing
dry yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
water, lukewarm,  190ml
olive oil 3 tablespoons
salt 1 teaspoon

Combine the flour with the yeast and salt, add the olive oil and the lukewarm water, slowly, not all at once (you might not need all of it). Mix with your dough hooks for a few minutes. The dough shouldn’t be moist and sticky at all, more on the dry side. Continue kneading and punching with your hands until you have an elastic dough ball, not too hard, not sticky. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in the warm oven (35°C / 95°F) for 40 minutes. This works really well but make sure that your oven is set to top/ bottom heat and not to fan.

When the dough is well risen, roll it out on a very well floured (this is very important!) working surface. It should be a bit smaller than the size of your baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for another 10-15 minutes.

The pizza

Set your oven to 260°C / 500°F. My oven has a special pizza setting but you can use top / bottom heat as well. Put the baking sheet on the bottom of your oven to heat it.

Take the hot baking sheet out of the oven, flip it over and place it carefully on two stable wooden boards or mats as it will be very hot. Place your risen dough carefully but quickly (best done by two people) on the baking sheet, push it gently into place if necessary. Sprinkle the olive oil and the ricotta in lumps on top. Put the baking sheet back into the oven, on the bottom again, and bake for a few minutes until the pizza is golden. Take it out and spread the spinach on top immediately. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle some more olive oil on top if you like and enjoy!

White Pizza with Spinach