Homemade White Pizza Experiment

Ok, so over the years I have never been one to purposely order a white pizza. Although I have at least tried white pizzas in the past but only if someone else happens to be eating one and says “Oh come on, just try some.” So just what IS a white pizza you may ask? Well, here is the definition according to the “Google machine.” White Pizza – (pizza bianca) uses no tomato sauce, often substituting pesto or dairy products such as sour cream. Most commonly, the toppings consist only of mozzarella and ricotta cheese. In Rome, the term pizza bianca refers to a type of bread topped only with olive oil.

So I decided to try making my very own version of a white pizza with lots of ingredients that I love and see how I liked it. I started out just making a very simple pizza dough. The ingredients I included were as follows:

3 cups of flour to start
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. of sugar
3/4 cups water
1 Tbs. of yeast
2 tsp. garlic powder

In to the bread maker the ingredients went and about 40 minutes later it was ready to become a pizza.  First I rolled out the dough and laid down a layer of pesto sauce as my base. I usually just buy a jar of pesto that you can find right in the tomato sauce isle. Next I added the toppings which included sauteed mushrooms and spinach, chopped up kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts out of a jar, roasted red peppers and roasted garlic. Now this was the second time I have tried to roast garlic. It came out better than the first time I roasted garlic which was a complete disaster. But if anyone has a quick and easy way to do it, please let me know. It just seems really tricky to get the garlic from their cloves after it’s roasted. But maybe that’s just me.

White Pizza Pesto Base

After all the toppings were added I piled on the cheese. I started with grated parmesan cheese. Then I remembered I actually had shredded parmesan cheese in the fridge too so I added that as well. I also picked up some crumbled goat cheese and feta cheese at the grocery store so on to the pizza they went. Finally I covered the rest of the pizza with shredded mozzarella. I put the pizza in to the oven which had been preheated to 385 degrees and I set the timer for 17 minutes.

White Pizza toppings

The results…. I thought it came out pretty darn tasty. Like I have always said, I haven’t always been a huge fan of white pizzas, because I usually tend to like my pizzas with a lot of tomato sauce. But when I started to think about the different types of ingredients I could add to get some really great flavors, it started to sound pretty good. I guess my problem with white pizzas is that whenever I have tried them in restaurants they tend to seem too plain and bland to me. So my solution to that was to make my own that had lots of flavors going on and a lot of fresh ingredients. And this one certainly didn’t disappoint. Oh! The one thing I meant to add to this pizza but I forgot, which I think would have only made this even tastier, was……bacon! Oh well, next time!

White Pizza

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Homemade Pizza Sauce With a Zing!

Being National Pizza week this past week, well, what else was I going to make for dinner but homemade pizza of course! This time, I decided to try making a homemade pizza sauce for the first time. I had actually just gone to the grocery store and bought a ton of tomato products for making chili later this weekend. So since I had the ingredients on hand, I went ahead and used some of them for a nice homemade sauce because I had never tried making my own pizza sauce before.

But before we get to the sauce, here’s what I put in my dough:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup Coors Light beer
3 Tbs softened butter (Spreadable I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs yeast

So I went to work on my sauce next. The ingredients I used for this were as follows:

6 oz. can of tomato paste
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 Tbs. olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbs. italian seasoning
1 Tbs. oregano
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

I started out by sautéing the garlic in olive oil. Next, I added all the tomato products and then added the seasonings. I stirred everything together and let it come to a boil. Then I just reduced the heat and let it sit and simmer for about 20-30 minutes. It was pretty simple, I must say. Who’d a thought? This recipe made probably enough sauce for 2 pizzas. So I have plenty of leftover sauce for my next pizza.

While the sauce cooked on the stovetop, I began prepping the toppings for the pizza. The toppings that went on this one were:

Mushrooms
Spinach
Pepperoni
Bacon
Fire Roasted Red Peppers
Mozzarella & Feta Cheese

I sauteed the mushrooms and spinach in garlic and olive oil in a frying pan. Once the dough was done in the bread machine and the sauce was finished cooking, I spread the sauce on the dough which was smelling nice and garlicy at this point. I put the rest of the toppings on and finally the cheese and in to the oven it went for 18:25 minutes at 385 degrees.

I have to say I was really impressed with the taste of this one. The sauce had a sweetness to it that I didn’t expect. But the red pepper flakes complimented it nicely and gave it just enough kick. I also liked the buttery taste that the crust had. The bacon and pepperoni went really well with the hint of sweetness I was getting from the homemade sauce because of their salty flavor. I think the garlic really added some great flavor to the sauce as well. I of course love garlic so I went a little on the heavier side when adding it to my sauce. All in all, I was really happy with this one. I was excited my first attempt to make my own homemade pizza sauce was a success!

homemade pizza sauce

Miguel’s Pizza at The Red River Gorge in KY

A couple of weekends ago my friends and I did a girl’s weekend trip to the Red River Gorge in Slade, KY for some rock climbing, hiking, swimming, and all around childish fun! We rented a cabin this time as opposed to setting up a tent and camping as we usually do. If there’s one thing my climber friends know about the Red River Gorge (besides how great the climbing is of course) it’s Miguel’s Pizza. So there wasn’t even a question on where we’d grab dinner on Saturday night after a great day of climbing and swimming at the watering hole.

Miguel’s Pizza was founded in the mid-80s by Miguel Ventura. He created this small pizza joint now widely known amongst the climbing community that go to the Red. They not only serve pizza, but they also accommodate camping for all the climbers at a rate of only $2 a night.

Some might say that an exhausted climber would eat just about anything after a days worth of climbing and call it great. But the pizza at Miguel’s truly is exceptional. You place your order by simply filling out a piece of paper and checking off the toppings you’d like to have on it. They have everything from potatoes to chick peas to eggplant as far as toppings go. You name it, they probably have it!

So after our day of climbing we decided to grab some pizza. The order I got in on was fairly simple. Just a sausage and mushroom pizza. I have to say, when I usually order from Miguel’s for myself, I get maybe 3x’s as many toppings. But since I was sharing this pizza, I decided to go with the flow and get something that we all knew everyone would enjoy. I only make it to the Red about 2 times a year if I’m lucky and I always look forward to getting Miguel’s pizza. But when I took a bite of the pizza I just ordered.. it just wasn’t bringing back the memories I have had in the past. It was just kinda “eh” for me. I’ve had this pizza sooo many times before and already KNOW that it’s in my top 5 favorite pizzas of all time. So I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t that impressed with the pizza this time. I thought to myself, “I can’t give this pizza the proper rating it deserves. Not like this!”

Sausage and mushroom pizza at Miguel's

Well, the next day, two of our friends had to head back home a little earlier than my friend Erinn and I. So we decided, “What the heck! Why not grab lunch at Miguel’s before we go!” :) My eyes lit up with excitement once we came to this decision. Now, I could get another pizza and give this review a second chance since I wasn’t so thrilled with the pizza I had gotten the night before. This time, I loaded up on the toppings. I got feta cheese, mushroom, pepperoni, roasted garlic, bacon and kalamata olives. Let me tell you…it was out of this world! There was the smile I was waiting for.  :) It was everything I remembered and more. The roasted garlic really made the pizza. There were entire cloves roasted and thrown right on there. It was sooo delicious. Much more sweet than just raw garlic too. My friend Erinn and I have always said that they must put some sort of secret ingredient in their dough. Because it has such a unique taste. We each had ordered our own separate halves of the pizza so we’d have leftovers to take home. Yes, we drove the extra 2 slices each a good 7 hours home in our car. It’s just that good.

Miguel's Pizza 2

I felt much better leaving KY knowing I could give this pizza the good rating that it deserved. After all, it is one of my favorite pizzas to order. I give this pizza a 4 rating. Oh, and one last thing before I forget. Don’t forget to order the ginger ale if you’re ever out that way. It is called Ale 8 and is made local right there in KY for only $1.00 a bottle!

Parmesan and Garlic Crust

I couldn’t go the whole Memorial day weekend without having pizza at least once. So, I decided to make another homemade pizza last night. I had a BBQ yesterday and we had lots of left over sausages and beer. What better way to use up leftovers than to use them on a pizza right? Let’s start with what was in the crust.

Dough Ingredients:

12 oz. can of Bud Light
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
3 cups flour
2 tbsp. yeast
1 tbsp. minced garlic
4 tbsp. parmesan cheese

Next, let’s move on to the toppings.

Pizza Toppings:

Sausage
Pepperoni
Olives
Feta Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese
Ragu Pizza Sauce

Here is a before and after shot:

Before shot

After shot

The pizza cooked at 380 degrees for 18:23 minutes. The cheese was extra gooey and the crust had a perfect crispiness to it. I will say, I should have used more feta cheese on it, because it was a little hard to even notice the taste on there. The sausage though, was really really good. Since we had already cooked them yesterday, we just sliced them up and put them right on the pizza. And as always, I dipped my crust in ranch dressing. I’m a big fan of that. I just started doing that a couple of years ago. The one pizza I don’t ever feel the need to even do this with is Lou Malnati’s of course. I didn’t really notice the parmesan cheese taste in the crust. I think a lot more would need to be added to get more of the taste coming through in the crust. But overall, I really enjoyed this one. It was a great way to use up some of the BBQ leftovers. And not just the food leftovers, the beer too! Because let’s face it, I’m not a huge Bud Light fan so it served it’s purpose well. One tip I do have for you if you do try adding a beer to your dough, is if it is already refrigerated, I suggest warming it up in the microwave for a bit since it is replacing using luke warm water. Now I wonder if I can make a pizza with my leftover chopped salad…

Slice of pizza