This simple white pizza recipe is absolutely delicious. If you’ve never seen a sunchoke before, or what is otherwise known as a Jerusalem Artichoke or sunroot, they are the root (or tubers if you’re a gardener) of a type of sunflower that looks an awful lot like a mixture of potatoes and ginger roots. Like most root vegetables, the sunchoke is a little bit sweet and nutty, is high in potassium and iron, and becomes tender when cooked.
In this recipe, I share how to make ricotta from scratch, which is much easier than you may think. I also offer a not one, but two pizza dough styles for you to pick from depending on how much time you have to whip up dinner.
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The first dough that I include is a yeast-free flatbread that can be made in about 30 minutes. The second dough that I offer is a yeast, multi-hour rise that produces a standard pizza crust. Although they have a slightly different flavor and texture, both crusts pair nicely with the toppings.
I love the flavor of the sunchokes with the ricotta, garlic oil, freshly cracked pepper, and dried thyme. I wanted to keep this recipe vegetarian, however, if you feel so inclined I think bacon would be an amazing flavor addition, too!
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Ricotta. Heavy cream and whole milk is the combination that will yield curds and create that creamy ricotta you know from the store, but 10x better. Lemon juice is the best way to curdle it, and a heavier pinch of salt brings the flavor to a whole new level.
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If you don’t have time or the proper mesh strainer to make it yourself, store-bought it absolutely fine to use. I’ve noticed store-bought ricotta is slightly thicker than homemade, and maybe tastes best used in this pizza recipe if thinned with a tiny bit of milk.
Sunchokes. If you can’t find sunchokes, a fingerling or young potato will stand nicely in its place.
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Garlic Oil. To make garlic oil, simply heat 6 sliced cloves of garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until aromatic. Gently pour in 1 cup of olive oil and let the flavors infuse on low heat for about 2-3 minutes. It will be done when the oil is aromatic, but not boiling. Be careful not to let the oil get too hot (fire hazard). Let the oil mixture cool completely and store in an airtight container.
No-Rise Flatbread Crust. This no-rise pizza dough is made using whole milk plain Greek yogurt. I have not tried it with a dairy free option, but would suspect it would work just fine! If you have self-rising flour, use it in place of the AP flour (cup for cup) and omit the baking powder and salt.
- 1 cups Greek yogurt
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- .75 tsp salt
- cornmeal to sprinkle
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients. Empty onto a floured surface and knead by folding the edges into the center, pushing down with the palm of your hand, and rotating one-quarter turn. Repeat for about 5 minutes until soft. Place it back into the bowl and let it rest, covered, for about 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a baking stone on the bottom rack. On a freshly floured surface, roll the rough out into a large thin circle.
- Lightly sprinkle cornmeal on the preheated pizza stone and place your dough over top. Assemble the pizza and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust golden brown and the toppings are bubbly.
Traditional crust. The traditional yeast crust develops the most flavor with a slow rise. This can be anywhere from 6-8 hours and is best done overnight in the refrigerator. If you are able to make the dough first thing in the morning for dinner that night, leave the dough out on the counter in a warm dry spot. If you do not have a stand mixer, the dough can be made by hand mixing with a wooden spoon. Just spend a few more minutes mixing the dough to make sure it gets fully mixed.
- 1.3 cups warm water
- 2.25 tsp instant yeast (or 1 packet)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for coating
- .75 tsp salt
- 3.5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling
- cornmeal for cooking
- Using the dough attachment of your standing mixer, mix warm water, yeast and sugar together. Cover and rest for 5 minutes.
- Add olive oil, salt, and flour and mix on a low speed for about 5 minutes. Empty onto a floured surface and knead by folding the edges into the center, pushing down with the palm of your hand, and rotating one quarter turn. Repeat for about 5 minutes until soft. Test it by gently poking your finger into the dough. If it springs back it is ready to rise, if a whole remains, knead longer.
- Pour olive oil into the bowl of the standing mixer and place the dough ball back into the bowl. Flip the dough around to coat thoroughly. Cover the bowl and let it rise at least 2-3 hours or for best flavor overnight (see the note above). The dough should have doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone on the bottom rack. On a freshly floured surface, place the proofed pizza dough down and using a bench scraper cut the dough in half. For personal-sized pizza, cut the dough into quarters. Save half by freezing the dough individually in airtight plastic bags, or double the topping recipe below. Roll the dough into a large circle or square that fits your pizza stone.
- Sprinkle a light dusting of cornmeal onto your preheated pizza stone, and place the pizza dough over top. Precook for about 5 minutes until slightly bubbly, then layer on the sunchoke and ricotta toppings. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until the crust is bubbly and golden brown and the toppings are bubbly.
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- 1 pizza dough, rolled out
- .5 cups heavy cream
- 1 cups whole milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- .5 tsp salt
- 1 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 medium sunchokes, washed and shaved
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- freshly cracked pepper
- .25 cups shaved parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp garlic-infused oil
- .25 cups Castelvetrano olives, crushed or broken apart into pieces
- pinch of flaked salt
- optional: arugula to finish
- In a small sauce pot, bring heavy cream and whole milk just to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and whisk in the lemon juice and salt. Let it sit for 10 minutes, or until curds start to form.
- Strain curdling mixture into a super-fine mesh strainer or a cheesecloth for about 20 minutes, or as long as you have. Using a spatula, force as much extra liquid out before transferring into a small bowl.
- To top your pizza (after a par-bake for the yeast dough) make sure your dough is already on the pizza stone, then begin to layer ½ to ¾ of a cup of ricotta, or enough so that the bottom of the pizza is lightly covered.
- Next, evenly sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese to cover the ricotta. Start with about ¾ of a cup and add more if necessary. The key here is to use a little less mozzarella than you would think.
- Next, layer on the sunchokes and shaved parmesan by evenly placing them around the pizza. Follow with the herbs and freshly cracked pepper.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, and then sprinkle the garlic-infused olive oil over top. Let the pizza finish up about 5 more minutes.
- Once the pizza is golden and bubbly, garnish with crushed Castelvetrano olives and optional arugula. Sprinkle flaked salt and a little more garlic-infused olive oil. Cool a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!