I’ll freely admit: I’m a tomato guy. I love the acidic, sweet, fresh flavor of an heirloom tomato right out of the garden. I equally adore the deliciousness and vibrancy a great tomato sauce gives pizza. I’m pretty heavy handed with the sauce when I make pizzas for myself, so when I fall in love with a White Pie that means the pizza maker really did something right and found a way to infuse some positive flavor.
The first truly great white pizza I ever encountered was about 15 years ago at Totonno’s Pizzeria on Coney Island. It was creamy, fragrant and downright flavorful. In its simplicity there was mastery. It set the bar for every white pie I’d ever have going forward.
And for many years I didn’t encounter a single white pizza that came remotely close. Not at the International Pizza Challenge and not even at some of the nation’s landmark pizza establishments. Then I visited Mark Dym at his pizzeria in Denver. There, at Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizzeria, I had another “holy cow” moment with a white pie. I was blown away. I remember telling him at the time, “You might possibly have the best white pie in America.” I suspect he enjoyed hearing that.
Since that time I’ve had some pretty darn good white pies. I’ve even made some decent ones myself in the PT test kitchen. White pies travel really well, too. And since we’re in the middle of a new normal at the moment that is heavily focused on carryout and delivery as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, why not add some to your menu?
Here’s one I really like, and we sneak some tomatoes on it for color and to capture that tomato flavor. Is that cheating?
14-inch pizza dough
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
6 ounces mozzarella
3 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn
3 ounces speck, thinly sliced
12 basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in halve and coated with olive oil
Open dough up to a 12- or 14-inch diameter circle. Brush with olive oil and top with garlic, cheeses, speck, basil and tomatoes. Bake.
After removing from oven, drizzle with a little olive oil and add a pinch of sea salt.