White Pizza with Arugula…Except mine was with fresh spinach.  We don’t do arugula in my house (or goat cheese for that matter) so I modified the recipe slightly.  Thankfully it was one that could be easily modified while remaining true to the original recipe and one that was easy to make on top of that!  My hearty thanks goes out to Andrea of Nummy Kitchen for choosing pizza for this month’s second recipe – any kind of pizza gets me excited!!

As mentioned, I subbed spinach for the arugula and ricotta cheese for the goat cheese.  I considered using Boursin instead of ricotta but thought it might be too different for the sometimes unadventurous palate of my husband.  It was enough to ask him to eat uncooked spinach on top of his pizza in the first place.  I also played around with the dough recipe after having the desire to make whole wheat pizza dough for probably close to a year.  You’ll see my modifications below (which is half of the original recipe) as well as the link to the original recipe.

Overall, this pizza was good.  I’ve had spinach pizza with lemon slices before and loved it so I assumed I would love the vinaigrette on top of the spinach here but it was just ok.  I did have some leftover garlic oil which I drizzled over a piece or two and much preferred that over the vinaigrette.  So, the pizza didn’t blow us away and we’ll probably stick to our usual toppings of chicken, sautéed onion, and garlic but the dough however, was AWESOME!!  I couldn’t believe how much the dough puffed up while cooking – way more than any 100% all-purpose flour dough has done for me – and it made the pizza so much less filling even with 4 types of cheese on top.  I will definitely use this dough recipe again in the future but will probably pass on the toppings.  Sorry Ina!

It’s time for my usual plug for the Barefoot Bloggers…head on over and check out the ever-growing group – we’re up to 130+ members now!


Some goodies from two years ago: Chicken Stuffed Shells and Brownies with a Caramel Touch



White Pizza with Arugula

source: adapted from Ina Garten, Back to Basics, page 82

For the dough:


  • 3/4 cup plus  warm (100 to 110) water
  • 1 package dry yeast (I did not use instant)
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 1 1/4 cups 100% whole wheat flour
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the topping:


  • 1 1/2 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (4 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup grated fresh mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 6 ounces whole milk ricotta (part-skim will be too watery)
  • Parmesan cheese

For the vinaigrette:


  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • juice of one lemon (about 2-3 tbsp)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces fresh baby spinach
  1. Make the dough: Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes until it is foamy. Mix in the honey and 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil.  When the yeast is dissolved, add 1 cup of flour, then 1 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the additional 1/4 of flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
  2. Knead by hand: When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.
  3. Let it rise: Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes (or up to 60 if you plan to refrigerate later).
  4. Make garlic oil: Place 1/4 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and preheat a pizza stone, if you have one. (Be sure your oven is clean!)
  6. Portion the dough: Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 3 equal pieces or keep it as one large ball for a larger single pizza.  Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Alternatively, refrigerate the dough after the initial rise (of 30 – 60 minutes) for 4 to 8 hours and bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before you start the next step.
  7. Stretch the dough: Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a pizza stone. (If you’ve chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)
  8. Top the dough: Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and dollop on the ricotta cheese (about the size of a tablespoon for each dollop). Drizzle pizza(s) with a little more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.
  9. Make the vinaigrette: Meanwhile, whisk together 1/4 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  10. Add the greens: When the pizza(s) are done, place the spinach on top of the pizza(s), cut the pizza(s) into slices, drizzle on the vinaigrette or the remaining garlic oil, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

TIP Make sure the bowl is warm before you put the water and yeast in; the water must be warm for the yeast to develop.

TIP Salt inhibits the growth of yeast; add half the flour, then the salt, and then the rest of the flour.

TIP To make sure yeast is still “alive,” or active, put it in water and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If it becomes creamy or foamy, it’s active.


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Leave a Comment

  • August 27, 2009 at 6:07 PM

    Tara, your pizza looks wonderful! Sorry you weren’t a big fan of the toppings but glad you found a new crust recipe you like. I agree this dough puffed up very nicely, we loved it, and I’m going to have to try half whole wheat flour next time, sounds delicious! Thank you for hosting such a fun group 🙂

  • August 27, 2009 at 6:37 PM

    I love home made dough – your recipe is great love the touch of honey!! Looking forward to trying this!

  • August 28, 2009 at 7:16 AM

    Your pizza looks great. I agree, the dough is a keeper.

  • September 27, 2009 at 4:31 AM

    That looks great, but you are missing out, hon! Arugula has a unique, nice peppery flavor that cannot be replaced by spinach. And ricotta instead of goat cheese?! That’s almost a crime!

    I know the big downside to arugula is that it’s very expensive to buy in the store, but you can grow it in your patio or windowsill in a small trench pot. They sell seeds online for real cheap.

    Just to let you know, I also grow my own saffron, peppermint and basil. Worth the wait and tastes much better than the store-bought stuff.

    I love your site, and I will definitely keep coming back.