Ina Garten's White Pizzas with Arugula
In my six and a half months as a mother, I've learned many things.
The one lesson that keeps popping up? The sooner I stop striving for perfection, the happier I will be.
I'm the type of person who pushes myself, sometimes a little too hard, to do things perfectly. Parenthood has only magnified this pressure I put on myself every day.
I'll spare you the psychoanalysis and just say this is why I haven't written in so long.
There have been many things I've wanted to share. A trip here, for one. And the veggie reuben, from here (which was my new favorite sandwich when I started writing this post a few weeks ago, only to be trumped by the one from here this weekend). Or how obsessed I am with the espresso chocolate chip biscotti I seem to eat every Friday from here. And of course I could have gone on and on (and on and on) about how in love I am with my little boy.
I would have loved to write my usual long, detailed posts, complete with photos. But trying to take care of a baby while juggling a full-time job and checking off all of life's seemingly endless to-do's doesn't leave much time for that.
So, I just stopped writing.
That's where this perfection thing gets tricky. It makes me very black or white. I do something full force, with every ounce of energy I have, or I don't do it at all.
It took awhile, but I finally realized that if I kept waiting for the perfect time to write a perfect post, you wouldn't have heard from me for a few more years. At least.
From now on, I'm going to try to write quick posts whenever I can. And for the record, they're going to be far from perfect. Some might just be a few sentences. Or a photo with a blurb. Who knows if I'll ever go back to writing long posts again. Baby steps, ok?
Right now, I want to tell you quickly about Ina Garten's white pizzas with arugula. Daniel and I made them a few weeks ago, and although my memory is hazy these days, I do remember that they're one of the best things I've eaten in awhile. When it comes to describing food, I'm feeling kind of rusty. But these are the words that come to mind when I think of this pizza: golden, crispy, rich, creamy, light, refreshing. You get the idea?
When I told two friends about these pizzas, they were surprised I made the dough from scratch. I promised them, and I promise you too, that this is the best part of the recipe. Do not skip this step! Do not substitute store-bought stuff. This is not the perfectionist in me talking. Really.
Need more incentive? What if I told you that this recipe makes six pizzas? Ina says the dough can be refrigerated for up to four hours, but we had two leftover portions that tasted almost as good when baked the next night. And believe me, you'll want to eat this pizza again the next night (and probably the night after that).
White Pizzas with Arugula
From Ina Garten's Back to Basics
Active: 1 hr 15 min
Total: 1 hr 30 min
Makes: 6 pizzas
FOR THE DOUGH
1 3/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degree) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
4 cloves garlic, sliced
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
FOR THE TOPPING
3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)
11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as montrachet crumbled
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces baby arugula
1 lemon, sliced
1. Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
2. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.
3. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
4. Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.
5. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
6. Dump the dough onto a board and divide into 6 equal pieces. Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
7. Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
8. Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.
9. Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
10. When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza and a slice of lemon and serve immediately.