A pizza bianca (white pizza) is made without tomato sauce, and uses one or more varieties of cheese as the base. With most of my white-based pizzas, I like to use ricotta and mozzarella, as I find that the contrast in textures works perfectly together. To give this creamy base a bit of a lift, I add some fresh lemon juice to the ricotta, which gives a subtle background flavor to the whole pizza. Not having the tomato sauce means the pizza will be quite rich and creamy, so I think it's very important to choose wisely when it comes to the toppings. To cut through the richness, I have used small dollops of chili jam post-bake. Prosciutto is a topping I use frequently on pizza, most of the time added post-bake, but with this recipe, I like using it pre-bake. It crisps up brilliantly and gives the pizza a different texture.
Yields1 pizza (serves 1-2)
- 74 grams (2/3 cup) fresh mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) ricotta
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 1 (275-g) ball dough
- 25 grams prosciutto
- Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- Fine semolina flour
- 1 tablespoon (16 g) chili jam
- Lemon zest, for garnishing
To keep the pizza from getting soggy, remove as much moisture from the fresh mozzarella as possible by breaking it into small pieces and laying them down onto a few layers of paper towels at least 1 hour before cooking. To help draw out even more moisture, lay another paper towel on top as well.
Add the ricotta, lemon juice and salt to a bowl. Mix well and set aside.
Fire up your Ooni pizza oven, and aim for a stone temperature of 800 to 840°F (430 to 450°C). Depending on the outside temperature, this should take approximately 20 minutes. In the colder months, an extra 10 to 15 minutes might be needed. You can check the stone temperature with an infrared thermometer.
When the stone has reached approximately 750°F (400°C), stretch out the dough ball.
Add the pieces of fresh mozzarella to the base before adding small dollops of the lemon-infused ricotta. Try to add the ricotta in the small gaps between the pieces of mozzarella to give a nice uniform coverage. Add the prosciutto before a drizzle of oil. To ensure the prosciutto crisps up in the oven, crinkle the pieces slightly when adding to the base.
Give your chosen pizza peel a light dusting of semolina flour before transferring the dough onto it. You can do this by lying the peel flat along-side the dough, and then, using both hands, gently lift the edge of the dough and slide it onto the peel. This stage can be daunting, but be confident and do it in one smooth, quick movement. After sliding the dough onto the peel, give it a final reshape. If you don’t feel confident enough to use this technique, you can place the stretched-out dough straight onto the floured peel after stretching it over your knuckles and top while it is on the peel.
When the stone temperature has reached 800 to 840°F (430 to 450°C), give the peel a little shuffle/shake to ensure the dough isn’t sticking, and then launch confidently into the middle of your Ooni pizza oven. Do not take your eyes off the pizza, as a few seconds can make a big difference to the overall bake!
After approximately 20 seconds, you will begin to see the crust at the back of the oven start to brown/blister. Warm the metal peel/turning peel in the back of the oven by holding it in the flames for a few seconds. (This will help stop the peel from sticking to the bottom of the pizza.) Then, carefully slide it under the pizza and turn it 180 degrees. When the crust that is now at the back of the oven starts to brown/blister, turn the pizza again, but this time, 90 degrees. Finally, do one last 180-degree turn so that all of the pizza has an even bake. The total cooking time should be 60 to 90 seconds.
Remove the pizza from the oven and slide it onto a cooling rack for 1 to 2 minutes before transferring to a display board. Add small dollops of chili jam evenly around the pizza. The key here is to make sure there is enough jam so that each bite has a bit of that chili kick! Grate some fresh lemon zest all over the pizza to finish. Cut into 6 slices and serve hot.
Reprinted with permission from The Ooni Pizza Project by Scott Deley. Page Street Publishing Co. 2023. Photo credit: Nikki Deley.
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