Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-10.jpg

File this under an actual conversation that really happened in real life.

Check-out boy at Stop and Shop, ringing in my new baby basil plant: Hey, I hear some people actually eat this stuff!

Me: Um, yes; it’s basil.

Check-Out Boy: Ew. It’s a plant.

Me: Yes, basil.

Check-Out Boy: If it grows in the ground, you won’t find me eating it!

Me: Like pretty much all vegetables? What about this pepper? (holding up a green bell pepper)

Check-Out Boy: That’s spicy, so it’s OK! But that (pointing at basil) is a plant and it has leaves. Why do I want to eat leaves?

Me: Because they taste good? And they’re healthy? Have you ever tried basil before?

Check-Out Boy: NO! I don’t eat plants!

At this point, I give up, collect my bags, and leave. LE SIGH.

And then I proceeded to go home and make a pizza with plants on it. Because I like plants. And also because I’ve never made a white pizza before and thought with all that cheese, I’d need a plant or two in my life. I was correct. Take that Stop and Shop check-out boy.

Basil and Garlic White Pizza (makes 1 large pizza):
Print this recipe!

  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 batch whole wheat dough
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into slices
  • 1/2 C part-skin ricotta cheese
  • 1 small bunch basil
  • 1 oz. parmesan cheese, shaved

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-Ingredients.jpg

I’m often scared to bake with whole wheat flour because I never know the correct ratio and am always scared the dough will come up a horrible consistency. But I totally trust Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, so when their Artisan Bread and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day came out I knew I would try their whole wheat pizza dough. I’m starting slowly with a mixed whole wheat and all-purpose flour recipe and it was perfect. Next time I’ll add more whole wheat flour to the mix.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (makes enough for 3 thin-crust pizzas):
Recipe adapted from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day
Print this recipe!

  • 1 3/4 C lukewarm water
  • 1/2 T yeast
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T sugar or honey
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
(pre-heat oven to 450 degrees)

Whole-Wheat-Dough-Ingredients.jpg

You’ll want to start by making the dough since it needs a good couple hours to rise. In a large bowl, simply combine the water, yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil. Normally I would have used honey since I LOVE honey in all whole wheat concoctions. But I oddly enough just ran out (I always have so much honey, I don’t know how I managed to let it all run out), so I used sugar instead. Both work!

Whole-Wheat-Dough-Yeast.jpg

Now mix in the flour a cup at a time with a wooden spoon. No need to knead :) I ended up using 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups white. It made for one of the most luscious crusts ever.

Whole-Wheat-Dough-Bowl.jpg

Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside (it’s better if it’s in a warm environment). Two hours later, it should have risen quite a bit! I stuck mine in the fridge for about an hour after this since Jeff and Zoe told me the dough would be easier to work with if it was a bit cold. By the way, the leftover dough should last in your fridge, covered (but not airtight), for about 5 days. Good to know, right?

Whole-Wheat-Dough-Dough-Rising.jpg

Then I got started on the toppings! I mixed together my 5 cloves of garlic (YUM!) and 2 1/2 T olive oil in a small bowl.

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-Garlic-Oil.jpg

I chopped my mozzarella and shaved my parmesan cheese.

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-Cheese.jpg

After sprinkling some flour on my work surface, I rolled out my dough into a round that would fit on my foil covered baking pan.

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-Dough-Rolled-Out.jpg

Then I placed the dough on the  foil-covered pan, which was brushed with the remaining 1 T olive oil (note: You can totally use a pizza stone for this recipe, too. I’m generally obsessed with mine, but sometimes I find just throwing it on the pan easier for quick weeknight dinners).

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-Dough-Pan.jpg

And used a pastry brush to cover the dough in the beautifully fragrant garlic olive oil mixture.

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-Dough-Garlic-Oil.jpg

Layer slices of mozzarella on top. And spoon crumbles of ricotta cheese around.

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-Mozz-Ricotta.jpg

Then cover with basil leaves (making sure to reserve some leaves for after the pizza is cooked) and finally, parmesan cheese shavings.

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-Basil-on-Top-2.jpg

It looks delicious already, right? Even with the leaves scattered on top?

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-Basil.jpg

Now, bake the pizza at 450 degrees for about 18-22 minutes.

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-Baked.jpg

And you’ll be rewarded with a classic-looking white pizza. Call me crazy, but I love the little burn marks on top of the cheese. Burnt cheese=best ever!

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-1.jpg

Don’t forget to chiffonade your leftover basil and sprinkled that around, as well.

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-4.jpg

This ended up being one of my biggest pizza successes! Which is saying a lot because I’ve made a lot of pizzas in my time and have really, really loved many of them.

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-8.jpg

The crust was honestly perfect. Delightfully chewy, but not overly so. Hearty without being heavy. And way more satisfying than the typical all-purpose flour crust. I don’t think I’ll ever go back again. I mean that. Plus that garlic? Oh my God, that garlic. This pizza was absolutely slathered in it. “Slathered in garlic.” Doesn’t that have a nice ring to it?

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-9.jpg

This was a pretty large pizza, too, and made dinner for a couple nights. As you know, these are my very favorite types of meals.

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-11.jpg

And all those leaves on top? They may have been the best part. Oh Stop and Shop Check-Out Boy, how I wish I could have brought you a slice. Maybe then you could have seen how glorious plants are. And not just those “spicy” peppers that are actually bell peppers.

Basil-and-Garlic-White-Pizza-12.jpg

And thus starts my favorite part of year. The part where I always have a thriving basil plant sitting on my windowsill. The part where I never have to buy basil from the grocery store and I can make Beef Basil whenever my little heart pleases, with extra basil. And the part where I can mix cocktails with basil and sprinkle a little bit on absolutely everything I make. The part that lasts at least until I forget to water my poor basil plant and kill him off. Er, not that that will happen this year. I’m determined to give my basil plant a run for its money and keep it going straight into winter. Because I see a lot more pizzas like this in my future!

Do you keep a basil plant (or other herbs) at home?

[Sues]

Tagged with →