I just got back from New York, and yes, we ate some really good pizza. But this pizza reminds me of a trip to New York in 2001, a trip I made with a very good friend of mine, before kids, before even moving to Canada.
It was a hot, whirlwind weekend, filed with sight-seeing and shopping. We met up with my sister and decided on having pizza one night. This pizza joint offered something called ‘Pizza Bianca’ – a mascarpone base, no tomato sauce pizza. We had to try it. We hadn’t seen anything like it in Switzerland. Since then, I’ve been making my version of ‘Pizza Bianca’ and in honour of being back in New York and meeting up with that same friend (who now lives in the US), I decided to share it with you today. I love this combination of creamy mascarpone, the spring green asparagus and and that touch of basil drizzle – it’s amazingly good, you’ll have to make it! What do you like on your pizza?
Photos of our trip will follow next week!
- 2 packets (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into a large kitchenaid bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk sugar, oil, and salt into yeast mixture with dough hook. Add flour and stir until a sticky dough forms. Add oil and mix one more time for oil to cover dough (it will be nice and glossy). Remove bowl from mixer and cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead 1 or 2 times before using
This will recipe yields plenty of dough. I split mine in half and freeze half of it for another pizza meal. If you're in a rush, you can get away with letting it rise 20-30 minutes, but if you have time, try letting it rise up to 3 hours - you'll notice the difference!
- 2 tablespoons of cornmeal
- 1/2 recipe of pizza dough
- 1/2 cup mascarpone, stirred until smooth
- A couple of of Asparagus spears, blanched or roasted, woody ends removed
- 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms
- 1 small tomato, sliced thinly
- 1 cup of fresh shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and sprinkle with a thin layer of corn meal.
- Take your dough and gently stretch and pull it until it has the size you want and fits on your greased baking sheet. Use your fingers to spread out the dough further so you have a nice thin crust. (You can do this with a rolling pin, but I prefer to do this by hand).
- Very carefully spread the mascarpone on the dough, leaving an inch of so of crust free of cheese (the mascarpone is very sticky, so watch out that you don't tear the dough). Season with salt and pepper.
- Distribute asparagus spears, mushrooms and tomato slices evenly on pizza. Sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese.
- In a small food processor whiz basil and olive oil until smooth and liquid. Add a tad of water if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over pizza.
- Bake pizza for 12-14 minutes until golden.