Tuesday, June 10, 2014

White Pizza with Candied Walnuts and Fresh Basil

We love doing pizza night at our house...sometimes I make up a big batch of this no-knead pizza dough, sometimes I spend a little longer and make one of the many pizza dough recipes on this site, and sometimes I cheat and get the pre-made dough at the grocery.  Either way, the fun part is figuring out toppings!  Easy classics like pepperoni or sausage and bell pepper show up a lot, and I also love getting inspired by creative combinations from other blogs, magazines, or cookbooks...some favorites have been buffalo mozzarella-artichoke-lemon, corn-bacon-goat cheese, and butternut squash-gorgonzola.

This white pizza from Food Network Magazine was a great find.  It's super rich and feels like total comfort food.  I added candied walnuts on top for some extra crunch, but you could use any nut here (candied or not).  I love the combination of cheeses -- the ricotta makes the topping extra creamy, the mozzarella adds that perfect ooey-gooey element, and the Parmesan lends great flavor.  Don't skip the fresh basil -- you need it to add a little green and balance out the other rich toppings.  Because there is quite a lot of cheese here, I recommend rolling/stretching your crust a bit on the thicker side...you don't want an extra thin crust or it won't hold up to the toppings.

White Pizza with Candied Walnuts and Fresh Basil (adapted from Food Network Magazine)

1 to 1-1/2 pounds pizza dough (depending on if you want a thicker or thinner pizza)
2/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for the crust
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/3 cup candied walnuts, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh basil

1. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with oil.  Pull the dough out of the fridge and place on the cookie sheet; let rest at least half an hour, or until it comes to room temperature.
2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees (or as hot as it will go).
3. Mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, olive oil, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.  Season with a little salt.
4. Stretch the dough out to the size/thickness you prefer.  If it doesn't want to cooperate, let it rest for another few minutes and try again.
5. Bake the dough just until the top looks dry -- you don't want it to brown, but just get cooked enough that the crust won't end up soggy.
6. Brush the edges of the dough with olive oil.  Spread the cheese mixture as evenly as possible over the dough.  Cover with the fresh mozzarella in an even layer.
7. Bake until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown.  Sprinkle with the candied walnuts, and return the pizza to the oven until the crust and cheese are both well browned.
8. Let the pizza rest for 8-10 minutes so the cheese can set up.  Sprinkle with the fresh basil, slice, and serve.


  1. Yum. This pizza sounds fantastic! I love pizza. I want to try that no knead pizza dough that you linked to.

  2. Never tried pizza with walnuts! Looks delicious!

  3. Hi Sara - glad to see this pizza recipe works out so well...I remember seeing it in the mag and now I'm reading about another white pizza in Cooking Light that uses mayo as the sauce. Love the idea of the walnuts!