The White Pizza Challenge

It’s midsummer in Minneapolis and I was craving pizza. The food challenge is “White Pizza” or Pizza Blanca. I did a search of recipes online. There were recipes for California White Pizza (this relied on cheeses) and what I wanted was a white sauce.  I did scout out some basic recipes for a sauce. I took a quarter of a large onion, a couple of cloves of chopped garlic and dried mushrooms and threw them in the small cast iron pan with olive oil and a margarine (*Gasp*) made from canola, soy, olive, and palm oil. Keep in mind this was an experiment, okay?

After crisping the mushrooms and making the onions translucent, I scooped most of this onto pizza dough that I had prepared. Next steps: Put a couple of tablespoons of flour in the pan with remaining ingredients.  Cooked until it bubbled a little and threw in some milk to thicken, added salt and pepper to taste. It looked pretty – golden pale. Then I spooned it over the mushroom and onions and added black olives and added fresh basil and some finely grated Asiago cheese on top of everything. Baked at 425 degrees and ate it.  It tasted too floury, because there was too much sauce.  The mushrooms were, well rank tasting. Naturally I had to eat all of it to make sure it wasn’t any good. My reputation for making good pizza was at stake, at least in my mind.

During the time of this pizza experiment, I was researching red beans and rice recipes. (Cravings are weird, aren’t they?) That called for Andouille sausage.  That almost stopped the red beans right there. (They were already cooking.) My sausage experience is limited.  Recent forays into the sausage world have left me feeling ambiguous.  A run to one of the local Co-op grocery stores for some basil for the pizza and some of that unmentionable margarine brought me to the case with some sausage – turkey with apple made by Beaver Creek Ranch in Wisconsin. Well, I bought it. (Back to the pizza story.)

Frustrated with the sad result, I consulted with Sabina who recommended an Alsace recipe called Flammenkuken that she had tried and is on her blog. It too had lots of cheese. But I wanted to conquer white sauce pizza. Going to another grocery store I purchased fresh baby belle mushrooms and some Parmesan cheese. (Fresh is best.)

I had reserved and refrigerated a half of the dough I had prepared for a second experiment on Tuesday. Repeated the first operation: lightly sautéed fresh mushrooms, garlic, and onion and cooked one sausage link together, browning the sausage.  Removed the mushrooms and onions before they became soft, spooning them over the 10 inch prepared round pizza dough.  Continued to brown the sausage then removed it and set aside.  Adding a tablespoon of the (Shh!) margarine to the same pan, I measured 3 level tablespoons of flour, stirring as it turned a little golden. To this added 1 cup of milk also stirring until it came to the right consistency and taste – added salt and pepper here and the Parmesan cheese.  Watched the consistency to prevent gooey-floury flavor. Bravely and reservedly I drizzled this over the veggies like drizzling icing over cookies, but a little more. Sliced up the sausage, placed them on top with some added salt and pepper that the final flourish of Parmesan flakes and fresh basil over the top, a little finely grated Asiago cheese, a little salt and pepper.  Baked at 425 degrees for 20 minutes – used a timer and added 12 minutes to that. (I have a gas oven). Taste tested it! I could hardly wait!  It was good. This worked. It could have had a bit more spice.  The trick was less sauce and more toppings. “Perseverance furthers.” – I Ching

Now on to the Red Beans and Rice experiment. After all, I have the sausage.

Notes: Cossettas’s on west 7th in St. Paul sells fresh pizza dough. I used the Betty Crocker recipe. It never fails. It makes enough for two ten inch round pizzas. July 21, 2010.

White Pizza Sauce Recipe: July 21, 2010.

Make a pizza and you’ll make someone happy.

Your comments and recipes are welcome!

About kunstkitchen

Visual artist and writer hunting words, languages, visions, and insight in my kitchen - connecting Art (Kunst) and culture and slow food cooking. Credits: Do not own a microwave oven and never have. Do not own a food processor. Chopped veggies in a Zen monastery for a weekend. (Seriously) Classically trained artist. Paint and draw with traditional materials. Live in the Northland where it's six months of winter. Appreciate the little things in life. Sharing food and art experiences and the lessons that my talented and generous friends have given me.
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