Monday, August 31, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers - White Pizza with Arugula

My first taste of arugula was unforgettable. I pulled a sprig out of a bag and popped it in my mouth thinking it was baby spinach(s) (albeit expensive and high-end) cousin.
My nasal glands and throat never forgave me, it was like I set my mouth on fire, but in an odd wasabi-like way - I never knew how deceptively peppery and strong arugula was. And I never bothered with it again. EVER.
So when the August Barefoot Bloggers recipes were announced, and arugula showed up, I was strongly put off. I even went to the extent of preparing a second topping of braised spinach and caramelized onions using the chilli garlic oil called for in the recipe - get this - in ANTICIPATION of a let-down.
Well, never judge a book by its cover. The pizza crust in this recipe reminded me of one the best margherita pizzas I've had, hands down - in a tiny restaurant in Knightsbridge, London - run by two Spanish brothers.....LOL.They were playing Volare in the background and I almost danced on the table..

1. I now have a brand new to-die-for pizza crust recipe - Thank you INA! Chewy, soft, easy, quick.
2. INA is never wrong.
3. I discovered the Holy Grail of cheese pizzas - goat cheese, fontina and mozzarella. Mamma Mia!
4. INA is never wrong.
5. The lemon vinaigrette tamed ol' shrew Arugula, and it was pure magic - having a cool and crisp, green salad on your cheesy hot pizza.
Thank you Andrea of Nummy Kitchen for selecting this recipe. It is such a keeper.
The Barefoot Bloggers are an [extra]ordinary group of cookers and bakers with a love of all things Ina. We'll be testing (and retesting) Ina Garten's (The Barefoot Contessa) recipes as a group and blogging about them on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month.
Recipe - (Ina Garten - Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)

For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, sliced
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the topping:
3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)
11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as montrachet, crumbled

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces baby arugula
1 lemon, sliced

Mix 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.

Knead by hand.
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.

Let it rise.
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.

Make garlic oil.
Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)

Portion the dough.
Dump the dough onto a board and divide it 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.

Stretch the dough.
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.)

Top the dough.
Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle 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 and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.

Make the vinaigrette.
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 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.

TIP Make sure the bowl is warm before you put the water and yeast in; the water must be warm for the yeast to develop.
TIP Salt inhibits the growth of yeast; add half the flour, then the salt, and then the rest of the flour.
To make sure yeast is still "alive," or active, put it in water and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If it becomes creamy or foamy, it's active.


Jaya Wagle said...

Whoa! That looks so yummy I am tempted to try it. May be I will, counting calories be *amned.:)

D. Milton Stokes, MPH, RD, CDN said...

Love the food photography!

Anonymous said...

Looks terribly interesting but we dont get aragula in my one-horse town!

Andrea said...

I am so glad you liked this pizza even though you were not an arugula fan. I agree that Ina's dough recipe is great, and since making this recipe for BB I have to admit I've used this dough recipe over my own 'favorite standy-by' dough recipe :)

Thanks for cooking along with me! This is my first visit to your blog and I think it's wonderful, lots of delicoius looking foods.

camelia said...


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