White pizza is a delectable alternative to traditional pizza made with red sauce—and, too often—we know it by what it lacks (tomato sauce) instead of what it has to offer with its simple ingredients. Known in Italy as pizza bianca, white pizza is frequently heavier than traditional pizza when it’s made with ricotta, but there are lighter versions that rely on garlic and extra virgin olive oil for flavor without the heaviness. If you’re ready to satisfy your pizza craving with something different, consider our ideas for white pizza here.
Where Is White Pizza From?
Like pizza in general, white pizza has its roots in Italy. In Rome, for example, pizza bianca is a standard dish that is renowned for its simplicity. The perfect lunch, Roman pizza bianca features an airy dough that’s brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with rosemary and sea salt. What many people may not realize is that pizza bianca goes back much, much further back in time than the red-sauced pizza that is famous today. Food historians have traced versions of pizza to the 10th century in Italy. These versions had more in common with our understanding of white pizza than pizza with red sauce as tomatoes were not introduced to Europe until the 16th century.
White Pizza in Detail
The perfect white pizza depends on your palette. As mentioned, heavier versions feature ricotta or cream sauces as their base. If you’re looking for something light, brush your dough with extra virgin olive oil and add garlic for a light but flavorful base. Some white pizzas may feature a base of alfredo sauce, but the key feature of these bases: no tomatoes.
As far as toppings go, you experiment with various combinations. You can even top your white pizza with thin slices of Roma tomatoes if you miss that acid goodness that comes with red sauce pizza. Some options to keep in mind include: sliced cremini mushrooms, fresh basil, spinach, artichokes, grilled chicken, prosciutto, pancetta, fresh rosemary, and cheeses like mozzarella, provolone, fontina, asiago, and even mascarpone.
Consider this easy-to-make version of white pizza that makes a delightfully simple meal. It can also be sliced in thin pieces to serve as appetizers to guests.
- Pizza dough—enough for a large pizza (homemade or your favorite store brand)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped spinach
Lay your pizza dough on your pizza pan and preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Brush the dough with your olive oil and top with the minced garlic, taking care to spread it around evenly. Then, add a layer of ricotta and top that with your mushrooms and chopped spinach. Finally, sprinkle your mozzarella and bake the pie until it’s done. Enjoy.