We’ve recently discovered a sort of hole-in-the-wall type of restaurant near us that serves really, really darn good pizzas. In particular, they make a white pizza that’s kind of to die for. It’s apparently New York style (I have never been to New York, sadly, so I cannot confirm or deny this). It’s simply made, with a chewy thick crust, dollops of herby (and mysteriously slightly sweet) ricotta cheese, and a melty smattering of mozzarella. I’ve started having them add spinach to help ease my guilt at least a teensy bit. Hey, there’s veggies on here! It’s good for me!
I’m into making white pizza at home (and I’m a little obsessed with white-pizza-inspired foods, too) – so naturally, I needed to go there. I decided some (or okay, a lot of) roasted garlic should to make an appearance along with all that other cheesy goodness (and, of course, the spinach too!) For my carnivorous guy, I grilled up some chicken and added it to the mix.
I decided to try to replicate the slight bit of sweetness I’ve been detecting in the ricotta in my inspiration pizza by adding a touch of honey. It’s pretty perfect, although the roasted garlic adds sweetness, too, so it’s not the end of the world if you decide to leave the honey out. Me, though, I’m never going back. Honey all the way man!
When we do pizzas one-dish-two-ways style, I like to take a one-pound ball of dough and divide it in half to create two smaller pizzas instead of one large one. But if you’re going all meat (or all meatless), you may want to just make one big pizza. Your call! Either way, it’s all good.
Roasted Garlic & Spinach White Pizza (with Optional Chicken)
- 1 1 pound refrigerated pizza crust dough (I like Trader Joe's garlic & herb dough for this one) or use your own favorite pizza dough
- 24 medium cloves garlic (about 2 heads, separated, peel left on)
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil + more for working the crust
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (whole milk ricotta works too)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + more for sprinkling the garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 10-ounce bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove any excess moisture
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided) (about 8 ounces)
For the chicken, if using:
- 1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Drizzle a baking sheet with a little olive oil and place the pizza dough on top to rest before working. (Trader Joe's pizza dough requires 30 minutes sitting at room temperature, so I usually do that first).
- Lay out a large square of foil and place the garlic cloves on top (be sure you leave the peel on!). Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with a couple of pinches of kosher salt. Fold the foil into a sealed packet and place in the oven (put it on a baking sheet if you're worried about leaking). Roast the garlic until soft, golden, and fragrant, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel the cloves and discard the skins. Increase oven heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit to prepare it for baking the pizza.
- Add 8 of the peeled garlic cloves to a small bowl. Smash with a fork. Add the ricotta, 2 teaspoons olive oil, basil, honey, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper. Mix well.
- If using chicken, heat the outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan on medium-high. Rub the chicken with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, flipping occasionally, until cooked through (we always check the internal temperature, which should register 165 degrees Fahrenheit). Set aside to cool. Once cool, cut into chunks.
- Stretch the pizza crust into a large (approx. 14-inch) round and place on greased cookie sheet or a pizza stone. If creating one meatless version and one chicken version, split the dough in half and stretch each into smaller rounds, approximately 8 inches or so, and place each on an olive-oil-greased cookie sheet.
- Top the crust(s) with tablespoon-sized mounts of ricotta, as evenly spaced as possible (but it doesn't have to be perfect!) Scatter with spinach and remaining garlic cloves. Top with cooked chicken chunks if using (you may only want to use half of the chicken if you're making two smaller pizzas). Scatter mozzarella cheese over the top(s).
- Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit until the crust is crisp and golden and the cheese is melted and bubbling, 9-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before slicing into wedges with a pizza cutter and serving.