I have a (not so) secret obsession with pizza. Is that wrong? I don’t really think so, but it is my personal gateway to flat out food nerd. I’m ok with that though. I wanted a really good pizza. The only problem with that is that I live here.
Which is beautiful, but not very conducive to eating the great pizza I grew up with (which was about an hour closer to the city than I am currently).
So, here’s my latest creation. It’s a sauceless pizza but not exactly a white pizza since it doesn’t have ricotta and I’m pretty sure if you call anything without ricotta a white pizza, you might get tackled by white pizza fanatics. I’m not a fan of being tackled.
Besides, the tomatoes and chard clearly make it unwhite in color. So, even though the chard was “white chard”, it’s clearly the greens in the pizza, so calling it a white pizza would just be nonsensical. Right? I think so. Maybe. It’s a pizza conundrum perhaps? Moving on…
You could add ricotta if you’d like, but I wanted to keep this one a little lighter for the summer. I used a blend of six cheeses so I could use it sparingly without sacrificing flavor. I pureed some garlic and shallots with some warmed olive oil, seasoned it with a little salt, pepper and red pepper. I brushed that over the crust before I did anything else to give it some flavor. I also blanched the chard in salted water and drained the excess liquid (squeezing: super technical, I know) before placing it on the pizza so it didn’t get all bitter and watery. Bitter and watery pizza sounds really torturous, and this is most certainly not despite the ample helping of greens.
After the olive oil I scattered the chard with some basil and topped that with a single layer of some very ripe and thinly sliced beefsteak tomatoes (side note: I would have used heirloom if I could have found them, but didn’t have any luck with that). I sprinkled a pinch of dried oregano and thyme over the tomatoes and topped that with a blend of Italian cheeses: mozzarella, parmesan, asiago, provolone, fontina and romano cheeses. I found it preblended and it sounded good. It was! I then baked it according to the recipe and finished it with additional freshly torn basil and dash of olive oil.
I recommend purchasing pizza dough from your local pizza place if you have a decent one around, which will shave about two hours off this recipe. You should have a pizza stone though, if you’re using pizzeria bought dough. If you do not have any good pizza dough around, there’s no need to worry because I always make my own pizza dough, it just takes a bit of planning since it needs to sit. Some doughs I make require an overnight fridge rise, but this one only takes a couple of hours. I found it here on Serious Eats and it’s great if I didn’t plan on making pizza the day before, which can happen rarely and occasionally.
Six Cheese Tomato and Chard Pizza
(with shallot and garlic, white chard and basil)
- Pizza dough (recipe below)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 small or 1 large shallot
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper
- pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 large handfuls of white chard (about 4 cups packed) washed and stemmed
- 1 large handful of basil leaves (about 1 cup packed) plus more for garnish
- salted water and ice water, for blanching and shocking the chard
- ripe beefsteak tomato slices
- pinch of dried oregano
- pinch of dried thyme
- 2 brimming handfuls, finely grated, Blended Italian cheeses (about 8 ounces or 2 cups) : mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, asiago, fontina and romano
- Drizzle of high quality olive oil to finish, one to two tablespoons
Prepare dough as directed below. Warm olive oil and blend with shallots and garlic in food processor or blender until evenly puréed. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste, blend once more and set aside. Bring salted water to a boil and drop the chard into the boiling water until wilted, or about 2 minutes. Drain and submerge into ice water. Drain chard. Using your hands, squeeze excess liquid. Place onto clean, dry towel.
Thirty minutes before baking the pizza, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 550°F. Remove plastic wrap from pizza dough and drizzle hands with olive oil. Gently push and stretch the dough into the corners of the pan by pressing out from the center and lifting each corner and stretching it beyond the edge of the pan. It should pull back until the pan is just filled with dough.
Brush pizza with shallot/garlic oil. Chop chard and fresh basil together, season to taste and scatter over the dough. Top with tomato slices, season to taste and sprinkle with thyme and oregano. Top with cheese. Bake in prepared oven until bottom is crisp and top surface is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes total. Allow to cool at room temperature for 5 minutes. Top with more basil and a drizzle of high quality olive oil. Slice and enjoy.
- 17.5 ounces (500 grams, about 3 1/2 cups) all-purpose or bread flour
- .35 ounces (10 grams, about 2 teaspoons) kosher salt
- .18 ounces (5 grams, about 1 teaspoon) instant or Rapid Rise yeast
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 12.25 ounces (347 grams) water (see note)
Combine flour, salt, yeast, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk to combine.
Add water to mixer and mix on medium speed until it comes together and no dry flour remains. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until the dough is stretchy and smooth, about 6 minutes. The dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl but pull away from the sides.
prepare for baking: pour remaining olive oil into a 13 by 18 inch rimmed baking sheet and spread over entire inner surface with hands. Transfer dough into prepared baking sheet and rub top surface of dough with oil until thoroughly coated.
Cover with baking sheet with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until dough has spread out to touch nearly each rim of baking sheet, about 2 hours. Bake as directed (above).
Inspired by: NY Times article and This Food and Wine Recipe
Pizza dough by : J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats