Monday, October 14, 2013

Pizza Bianca e Verde

I recently got an email asking if I'd like to review The Complete Leafy Greens Cookbook.  You guys can probably guess from my posts on this blog that I'm a big fan of greens -- they show up a lot in my cooking.  So, I was excited to see what this new cookbook was all about!  I think it must cover every leafy green known to man.  There are your typical greens like spinach and chard, as well as unusual greens like taro leaves and purslane that you're only likely to find at special groceries or farmer's markets -- in these cases, the author also provides substitution information so you can still try out the recipes even if you don't have access to a particular ingredient.

What I liked about the book: there were photos of each type of green, as well as lots of information about each one.  It was a lot of fun to browse through and learn about some ingredients I've never tried.  I think this book will make me more adventurous about trying out a new type of green if I come across it!  The info on storage, measuring equivalents, etc. was also useful -- although one can look up this type of thing online, it's nice to have it all in one place for easy access.  I also loved the recipe I tried - see below!  In general, I was happy to see that the recipes included both side dishes and entrees, so you get a good amount of variety.  Everything is vegetarian or vegan, which may or may not float your boat.

What I wasn't so crazy about: there aren't photos of the finished dishes, which I like to see.  I also thought the vegetarian/vegan warnings were overdone -- this information could have been contained in a section at the beginning rather than having to list that Parmesan isn't technically vegetarian due to the rennet in every single recipe where the ingredient appears (and really - I have never met a vegetarian who cares about this, although I am sure they are out there!).  I would have rather seen info unique to each recipe rather than the same information being repeated over and over again.  But, that's a pretty minor quibble.

I decided to test out the Pizza Bianca and Verde, a four-cheese pizza topped with wilted baby greens.  I am in love with this pizza, and I've already made it twice!  It starts off with a divine garlic-herb olive oil that's brushed all over the crust.  (Seriously - I would eat this crust with just the olive oil!)  Then, pile on a ricotta-mozzarella-Asiago mixture and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Finally, add a bunch of baby arugula and spinach and a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano, and pop everything back in the oven just until the greens are wilted.  Don't be afraid to use lots of greens - they will wilt down dramatically, so you can use way more than it looks like you need.

Don't stress about the proportions of cheese and greens - I measured everything out very carefully the first time I made this pizza, and the second time I just used what I had left over.  Both pizzas were terrific!  You can also add other veggies as you like - I made it with red pepper added under the greens for my second attempt, and that was delicious as well.

Pizza Bianca e Verde (adapted from The Complete Leafy Greens Cookbook: 67 Leafy Greens and 250 Recipes)
Makes 1 pizza, serving 2-3

1 T olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano or Italian spice blend
3/4 tsp kosher salt
Several grinds of black pepper
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
2 ounces grated Asiago cheese (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 pound pizza dough, at room temperature
2 ounces baby arugula or baby arugula-baby spinach mix (a few big handfuls)
Freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, to finish

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees (or as hot as it will go).  Get your preferred pizza pan/pizza baking set-up ready.  I just use aluminium foil on a big sheet pan, but many people get fancier - this pizza will be delicious either way!
2. In a small bowl, stir together the oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the mozzarella, Asiago, and ricotta.  Stir to combine.
4. Stretch out your pizza dough to the desired thickness/shape and place on your pizza pan.  With my pan, I like to pre-bake the crust for about 3-5 minutes before putting on toppings, but your mileage may vary depending on your baking method.  If you're using a regular pan with foil or parchment, I'd go for the pre-bake as it will ensure a crispy crust.
5. Brush the garlic olive oil all over the crust, going right up to the edges.  Then add the cheese mixture in an even layer, using your fingers to break up any large clumps.  Leave a bit of a border, as the cheese will get melty and run off the edges otherwise!
6. Bake the pizza until the bottom is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly - time will very depending on your oven, so keep an eye on the pizza (probably 10-15 minutes).
7. Remove the pizza from the oven, but leave the heat on.  Scatter the arugula all over the pizza, using more than it looks like you need because it will wilt down dramatically.  Grate the Parmesan all over the top of the greens.
8. Return the pizza to the oven for 30-60 seconds, just until the greens are wilted.
9. Let the pizza sit at room temperature for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Full disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary review copy of this cookbook.  All opinions and recipe-testing are my own.


  1. Holy cow that looks amazing! No wonder its already made a repeat - yum! I need to branch out with my greens - I ALMOST bought kale this weekend, but then chickened out!

  2. I got this cookbook to review also but haven't made anything from it yet! Shame on me. This white and green pizza looks seriously amazing.

  3. Now I want a slice!