Friday, May 16, 2008

White Cheese Pizza with Spring Onions

My two confessions for today: I miss the sun and I cannot stop thinking about this pizza. I couldn't decide which was more pressing, so I gave you both. The weather man says we should get a little sun tomorrow morning before we return to cloudy wetness, so I'll try to make the most of it. Reattaining this pizza is easier - and something I have far more control over.

I spent some time last weekend ripping recipes out of magazines and this one stayed top of the pile. I love home made pizza - and I've been itching to use my new pizza stone. It may also have had something to do with my love of white pizza... but who's counting.

I've never had a ramp. The original recipe calls for them. Considering their brief window of availability, the substitution of spring onions is offered. I happened across some of the most beautiful spring onions at the market Sunday morning. They were enormous and had beautiful purple outer skins. I really wish I had taken a picture of them before I prepared them for the pizza. (Considering my plan is to make this again this weekend, I will snap a photo then!)

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was with the dough. I have a really shoddy track record with yeast anything, but despite my misgivings (and my husband's groans), I tried it anyway. It came together with minimal fuss, rose as directed, and tasted divine. Perfect marriage of crisp and chewy, it held up really well to the weight of the onions and all the cheese I piled on top.

My only complaint? I wish there were more of it. The recipe specifically says that it is a 12-inch pizza, and it was, but it was also decently thin. I hadn't planned anything to go with it (a salad would have been nice) but even with an approved pizza side, I would have preferred more pizza. This next go-round, I believe I will be making two.

White Cheese Pizza with Ramps
c/o Food and Wine Magazine, April 2008

The name Chicago comes from the Algonquin word chicagoua, which some historians say means “ramp”—a wild onion with a delicious garlicky flavor. That’s one reason Chicago chefs like Tony Mantuano feel a sentimental attachment to the pungent spring plant. (Scallions are also great substitutes.) To drink with his ramp-topped pizza, Mantuano suggests a Dolcetto d’Alba from Italy’s Piedmont region. It’s light-bodied enough not to overwhelm the pizza’s flavors, yet it has a peppery zip that can match the ramps’ intensity. Marcarini’s floral 2005 Fontanazza is a great choice, as is the plummy 2005 Cogno Vigna del Mandorlo.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water

10 ramps or medium scallions
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
1 cup coarsely grated fresh mozzarella cheese (4 ounces); see Note
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano–Reggiano cheese

MAKE THE DOUGH: In a large bowl, whisk the flour together with the yeast, salt and sugar. Pour in the water and stir well with a wooden spoon to form a dough. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Transfer the pizza dough to a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let stand in a warm place until the pizza dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Set a pizza stone on the bottom or on the bottom shelf of the oven and preheat to 500° for at least 30 minutes.

MAKE THE TOPPING: Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Blanch the ramps until they are bright green but still al dente, about 1 minute. Drain, pat dry and cut into 1-inch lengths.

Punch down the pizza dough and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough to a 12-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured pizza peel or an inverted baking sheet. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle on the grated mozzarella in an even layer. Scatter the blanched ramps over the mozzarella and season lightly with salt and pepper. Top the pizza with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Slide the pizza from the peel onto the hot stone. Bake for about 8 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the pizza crust is browned and crisp on the bottom. Transfer the pizza to a work surface, cut into wedges and serve right away.

Make ahead: The pizza dough can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Notes: For the cheese, Mantuano recommends the Crescenza by Paula Lambert’s Mozzarella Company in Dallas ( You can also use water-packed fresh mozzarella or fiore di latte; drain the cheese well before grating it.


Vicarious Foodie said...

That pizza looks awesome, and I'm totally jealous of your pizza stone. I've been wanting one of those for a while.

Bellini Valli said...

I have never come across a ramp either, but this cheesy pizza sounds incredible:D

Christie @ fig & cherry said...

Wow, Pizza without tomato - I'm sold! The more cheese the better! :)