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


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

Kosher salt

4 cloves garlic, sliced

5 sprigs fresh thyme

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


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


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.

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Anonymous said...

Yay!!!! So glad the Piglet came back to play! We love and support you. More baby steps, please. You made my mouth water.

Anonymous said...

so glad to see you post again! I am a longtime fan of your blog and have wondered how you and baby have been. Do not worry that your fans demand a long post from you- a short post is just fine- we're easy like that!
Take good care,
stacy in austin TX

Dria said...

Welcome back, Little Piglet! I'm so glad you posted, you were missed by your adoring fans. ;-) And the fact that this Ina recipe is the one you're sharing after six months (!) means it's THAT good. I'm making it, for sure...

greenlady said...

yay you're baaaack! so exciting. :)

Unknown said...

Your posts were perfect?...since when...this was a nice surprise in my inbox.

Anonymous said...

YAY! you are back! arugula might be my favorite food of the moment (meaning i eat it every night, no joke) and this looks yummy. thanks for posting Lia and i'm relieved to have another website to help me procrastinate at work :)

Anonymous said...

Hooray! Piglet's back! So so happy. I can't wait to read more. I think you're on the right track: this is your space, your posts can be as small or as big as you like. :)

Lia said...

Thanks everyone. It feels good to be back!

Anne Stesney said...

So happy you're writing again. And your post was perfectly you, which is more than good enough. You've even convinced me to try a go at making my own pizza dough! Not a small feat for a yeast-phobic like me.

Anonymous said...

Lia, Oi !Never had a chance to spell out my thoughts in print regarding food with you. Though Dan and I share a similiar passion for "food talk" when Obama, the economy and world tragedies keep his head outta of the oven.... i write this post because you and the white pizza came up at lunch today discussing a new blood orange "le creuset" oval cassarole dish that Alba and I aquired as gift, .... mucho plata. Anyway, we, Dan and I were dishing (sp?) on the time spent cooking from scratch. I delivered a 500 yr old julia child recipe of boeuf bourguignonne with Cantal-garlic whipped mashed, ... total endevour - 5 hrs. Insanely delicious. Included were 2 great bottles of Cote-du-Rhone, can't remember the label....but somewhere in France. Enfim, ... just thought I'd throw in my herbs into the post.... Bjs to Nic !

Lia said...

Anne: Don't be afraid! It's really so easy. Daniel made this pizza again on Monday night for me and two of our friends and it was a huge hit once again.

D: It was a nice surprise to see a message from you on here. I didn't realize you and Alba were such serious cooks. And that Julia Child recipe sounds delicious. We'll have to try it out.


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