Fancy Three Cheese Pizza

>> Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I love just about all kinds of pizza - mostly because I absolutely adore cheese. But sometimes I get bored of the red sauce, so I set out to create a different kind of pizza - no sauce, lots of cheese, arugula for a peppery bite and a little prosciutto so I could tell my husband the pizza had meat on it.

I didn't want to skip the sauce altogether since the sauce adds a nice moisture to pizza, but I definitely wanted to forego a traditional tomato sauce. Instead I made an herbed olive oil early in the day so that flavors had time to marry, and combined that with a ricotta cheese to create a ooey-gooey, creamy cheesy sauce layer. It was reminiscent of an alfredo sauce pizza but a lot healthier - no cream or butter, and I actually used low-fat ricotta too.

A slice (or two of this pizza) and a glass of wine = heaven!

{the pizza}

{Finley approves! Please pardon her post-nap hair and I'm not sure why she's making a kissy face - but it's pretty darn cute!}

Fancy Three Cheese Pizza
a Baking and Eggs original

for the herb oil
4 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic
a pinch of red pepper flakes (or more if you want it spicier)
2 T assorted fresh herbs, chopped (I used rosemary, basil, parsley and lemon thyme)

for the pizza
fresh pizza dough
2/3 c ricotta cheese (I used low-fat)
7-8 oz good quality mozzarella cheese
1/2 c grated or shredded parmesan cheese
4 thin slices prosciutto, chopped
2 c arugula
1/2 lemon
sea salt

Early in the day or even the night before, make the herb oil. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and assorted fresh herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the herbs are fragrant, about 3-4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Let cool and keep covered in the refrigerator. Let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to using it.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a greased pizza sheet, stretch dough out. Brush dough with about 1 T of the herb oil. Bake until crust just starts to turn a light golden color, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl reserve 1 t of the herb oil. Combine the remaining herb oil and ricotta cheese in another bowl and stir well. Spread ricotta mixture over crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the edges. Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheeses over ricotta and bake another 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted and starts to brown in spots.

Remove pizza from oven and sprinkle with prosciutto. Cut into slices. In a bowl, toss arugula with remaining 1 t herb oil, juice from 1/2 a lemon and a sprinkle of sea salt. Scatter dressed arugula over pizza and serve.


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