Tuesday, May 1, 2012

This Asparagus, Ham, and Ricotta Pizza Has a Really Nice Personality

That’s what I’d say about this delicious asparagus, ham, and ricotta pizza if I were trying to fix it up on a blind date. Every once in a while I get a craving for a non-tomato sauce, or “white” pizza, and when I do, I’m forced to choose between béchamel and an olive oil base.

I love both styles, but was in the mood for something different, so I decided to use some ricotta and olive oil to make a spread, which I topped with smoked ham, asparagus, white cheddar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It tasted great, but I found its appearance to be somewhat unsightly.

I knew the ricotta and olive oil would separate somewhat in the extra hot oven, but I thought with the other cheeses on top, it wouldn’t be noticeable, but as you can see, it was. The good news is, no one seems to mind, and it did taste great. By the way, you can certainly do a less rich, lower cal version by just using seasoned ricotta without the oil.

Anyway, “new pizza ideas” is always a popular food wish, and I hope this ricotta spread inspires lots of pizza experimentation in your kitchen. If you need a pizza dough recipe, I used this great no-knead version, but if you prefer something faster, this Wolfgang Puck-inspired recipe is also a winner. Enjoy!

For the spread:
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp cream or milk
2 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes
fresh herbs if so desired
pizza dough for one medium pizza
1 cup asparagus pieces
1/2 cup diced smoked ham
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar
1 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano as needed

View the complete recipe


Steven K. said...

When I make a white pizza, I just use a base of olive oil, minced garlic, salt & pepper. Then top it with shredded mozzarella & fontina. A drizzle of pesto sauce all around. And one nice-sized round ball of ricotta cheese per slice of pizza. I stole this idea from a pizza place in Seattle that serves a pie called the Pesto Primo.

The ball of ricotta kind of collapses while the pizza is cooking and you end up with a nice variety of textures. It's pretty easy to evenly space out the balls of ricottas when the pizza is actually.... ummmm... round.

Matt said...

This should be against the law... white sauce, like chicken, does just not belong a pizza. Call it something else as it is a poor facsimile of a wonderful food. At least that is my opinion... much like Shepards pie cannot be made with beef.

Josh said...

Hey Chef John,

This sounds delicious. The heavy cream isn't on the ingredients list, so if you want to edit and add it in, that would be great. Or we can just eyeball it based on the video. I'm in a pizza mood, so I'll try this soon!


Anonymous said...

looks like a tarte flambe...

Why not forgetting about that mixing in creme and oil, just using creme freche?

Then you can add some drops of olive oil (for the flavour) over the cheese and put it into the oven. helps the crust and tastes good, no seperation.

Itamar said...

Chef john, can you recommend any other meat to go on this pizza that's not ham? (or bacon..)


Villy said...

White pizza is the best Chef! This is a winner combination :)

Anonymous said...

That's a great looking pizza. We had a grilled pizza party for my birthday last weekend. I always thought it would be fun to have some dough, and have everyone make a pizza and we all enjoy some of everyone's. So, with no homemade pizza experience, I made your no-knead dough and your pizza sauce. We used an older stained up cookie sheet on the grill turned up as high as it would go, just cooked them till they looked done, and WOW! great pizza, and so much fun.

I made 8 dough balls and wrapped them in oiled saran wrap. 8 people got to make pizzas, which was everyone that wanted to. I also made pickled red onions, and some carolina style pulled chicken, nice and vinegary. Those two things went so well on some of the pizzas. The dough and the sauce though, spot on! Wish I had this white sauce version, but I will add it into the mental rolodex for next time!

Dirk said...

It reminds me of a tarte flambée! :) Very cool stuff. Looking awesome!

Jerome said...

Thanks ! Looks delicious !
I am not sure to find white cheddar here. Any other cheese could substitute ? Yellow cheddar, mozzarella, provolone ?


Jerome said...

Thanks ! Looks delicious !
I am not sure to find white cheddar here. Any other cheese could substitute ? Yellow cheddar, mozzarella, provolone ?


inchrisin said...

Argh, there's cream in the video but not on the recipe list. Dunno how picky you are about that kind of thing :)

inchrisin said...

John, you didn't sound all that happy with the results. Personally, I thought it looked pretty sexy. If you had to do it again, would you change anything?

Rita said...

welcome back! based from the quick spiel from the previous post, looks like you and michele had a blast! waiting for the pics and details about the trip :)

i was just wondering what to do with my left-over ricotta... now, i know. thanks! that looks divine!

Unknown said...

Very good! I like the white pizza too :)

Steve said...

@Matt: I agree with you about Shepherd's Pie but I have a dickens of a time finding real Shepherds to make it with.

But on to my question. . .


Just for the record, why do you not like pizza stones?

Oh, and for the lazy or in a hurry pizza cook (i.e., me), I like Trader Joe's pizza dough. Am I bad person?

Chef John said...

I have nothing against pizza stones, but why bother, when our method gives you an even better, crispier crust? The metal transfers the heat much faster and more violently than the thick stone.

Francisco from Mexico said...

Chef John,
Judging only by final result (time, work, etc. doesn't matter), which is your favorite dough ¿no-knead or W. Puck?

Thank you,

Best regards from Mexico City

Daniel said...

dear john,
hope you have time to answer this before tomorrow. my wife wants to know if you could do this with greek yogurt (mixed with olive oil like you did instead of bechemel). She's on a BIG greek yogurt binge and asked me to ask... i think it could work, but still seems wierd to me.

cheers from Austria,
Daniel (and Lisi)

Chef John said...

Sorry, but yogurt and ricotta are quite different, and I don't think would work well.

Chibby said...

This looks fantastic! I love a white pie:)

.z said...

I made this as a calzone, HUGE hit!

mszatanik said...

for me it was too oily, next time i'll use 1/8 cup of olive oil

Aside from that it was delicious.

Saskatoon Pizza said...

Looks delicious. I'll have to try this pizza tonight. Thanks

Unknown said...

One Pizza dough at Wolf Gang Pucks http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2009/07/wolfgang-pucks-famous-california-pizza.html has the temp @ 450 ad this one @ 550. Any reason?

Unknown said...

This one actually looks really good! There is a place that sells pizza in Plano and they do a very similar pizza but with green beans. I really like the idea of asparagus though.

J6U said...

:D Now I can be I will never regret not making homemade pizza, because I have!

And damn right it's tasty!

J6U said...

:D Now I can be I will never regret not making homemade pizza, because I have!

And damn right it's tasty!

Unknown said...

John, how much dough is enough for a thin crust Napoleonic pizza?


Unknown said...

I mixed in a little Alfredo sauce instead of cream or milk and it was so great.