I’d say the crust came out very well. It was soft and chewy and it seemed just like a regular pizza crust. It did, however, have an additional earthy flavor that only whole wheat flour can offer. Have no idea what I’m talking about? If this is the case, you can read my previous post on my experimentation with preparing a new whole wheat pizza crust recipe.
This recipe was a total win. I loved it. Believe me when I say that I’ve eaten a lot of good pizza in my life and that I’ve even made my fair share of pizza, but, honestly, nothing beats olive oil, garlic, basil and an awesome salty cheese such as Romano. When I pulled this pizza out of the oven, my jaw almost hit the floor. I was surprised, to say the least. And really, I think the way it looks may have been an accident. If I wasn’t off doing other things and minding the pizza, I would never have let it cook until the cheese turned brown like it did. I would have removed it from the over much sooner, which would have been my loss. It ended up to be a great pizza pie.
This recipe is not for the faint of heart. It uses extra-virgin olive oil in the crust and as one of the toppings (garlic infused). It also takes advantage of the wonderful smell and taste of minced garlic. It calls for three different types of cheeses. If you’re looking for a healthy meal, I wouldn’t suggest this one. If you’re looking for something low fat, this probably isn’t your best bet. Not that it’s really all that bad or anything, it’s just not going to be found on any diet list you’ll see out there.
What this pizza does offer is outstanding flavor and incredible texture. As I mentioned above, the dough worked well to make the perfect crust. Also, one of the toppings is fresh basil leaves. They’re hidden in some of the photos, but they’re certainly there. You can taste them in the final product. Regarding the cheeses – believe it or not, the ricotta plays a critical role. I can remember eating garlic pizza back when I lived in New York and the ricotta was my favorite part. There’s a contrast between the crust, mozzarella, Romano and ricotta. Definitely include the last cheese.
I’d like to thank America’s Test Kitchen for this recipe. I found both the pizza dough and the pizza recipes in The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook and I must say, I’m impressed once again. These guys sure know how to put recipes together.
Makes: One 14 Inch Pizza
1 1/2 Pounds Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (Recipe Here)
Additional Flour For Counter
1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/8 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 Cup Romano Cheese, Shredded
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
3/4 Cup Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
The original recipe calls for making two eight inch pizzas and dividing the above ingredients in two halves. Since I wasn’t too fond of that idea, I decided to go ahead with one fourteen inch pizza and I’m glad I did. It’s so much easier not to split ingredients. It’s also a time saver to make only one pizza. But, if you would like to go the two pizza route, by all means do.
Warm the Dough
If you followed the previous pizza dough recipe, you should have a bowl of dough sitting in your refrigerator. If so, remove it, take the dough from the bowl and shape it into a ball. Use extra flour if you need to. Then, take the dough and place it on top of your lightly oiled 14″ pizza pan. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit for about an hour to warm it to room temperature. During this time, the dough will rise slightly.
After the dough has warmed, add some flour to your counter top and roll the dough around on it. The trick is to liberally coat everything with the flour so it won’t stick to anything. After that, use your fingers to flatten out the dough. Once it’s almost as large as the pan, sprinkle some flour on the pan and transfer the dough to it. Keep pushing the edges until it’s as large as the pan itself. Remember to keep the edges slightly thicker than the center.
Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees. Also, arrange the racks to one is in the center position.
Make Garlic Oil
Warm a small skillet over medium heat. Once it’s to temperature, add the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Bring that to temperature as well. After that, add the minced garlic, black pepper, oregano, pepper flakes and salt. Stir and let cook for only 30 seconds. Next, remove from heat.
Spread Oil & Basil
Using the back of a spoon or a spatula, spread the oil around the top of the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch to 1 inch border around the edge.
Next, arrange the basil on top of the oil.
The final step at this point is to add both the Romano and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle it over the basil.
When the oven is to temperature, place the pizza in it and cook for a total of approximately 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn the pan around. Also, keep your eye on things after the 5 minute mark. The goal is for it to look just like the photo below. Perfectly cooked.
When the pizza comes out of the oven and is finished baking, go ahead and add five to six spoonfuls of ricotta cheese. You can put the pan back in the oven at this point to melt the cheese if you want. I turned my oven off and let it sit in there for a few moments. It softens up the ricotta.
The Final Pizza
I miss this pizza already. I ate my portion last night and I’ll tell you, it was delicious. I’ll surely be making this one again.
Would you like to browse some additional garlic pizza recipes? If so, check out these posts:
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