I’m not sure if spring has been late here in Maine or if the mild winter changed our perception of time, but I am so ready for spring and summer food! I have been dying for something green, wild and fresh. Luckily the warmer weather has arrived and so have spring ramps. Like the warmer weather in Maine, ramps won’t be around for long. As I write this, Rosemont received their last delivery of spring ramps for the season. So, hurry up! Get yours now!
What the heck is a ramp? Ramps are a kind of garlicky leek that grow wild in the forests of the northeast US, Canada and parts of Appalachia. Many people have been known to freak out upon ramps arrival in markets. They are harbingers of spring and a perfect remedy to heal the culinary wounds of too many winter root vegetables. If you can’t find ramps, this pizza is still delicious without.I have blanched my ramps for this Garlicky Three Cheese White Pizza with Homemade Ricotta. This softens both their sharp flavor and texture.
The actual production of traditional ricotta is a more complicated process than this one that I have adapted from Food52. But, I swear, you won’t miss classic ricotta after you try this. And, it is super-easy to put together. My husband likes it so much that he will sneak into the kitchen to eat it with a spoon.
The recipe for this pizza dough I have adapted from Serious Eats. This recipe makes the thin crust pizza of my dreams. The only drawback is after mixing the dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. So it takes a little forethought and planning. But really, if you ask “will I want pizza tomorrow?” is the answer ever no? Go now and make some pizza dough! You will thank me later.
You will need a few pieces of kitchen equipment to follow this recipe. To mix the dough, a food processor is necessary. To get the perfect crispy crust, you will need a preheated cast iron pizza pan or pizza stone. A pizza peel is handy to slide your pie onto the heated pan or stone. I don’t have a peel, so I used a cookie sheet. Check out mine in the photos below. An overturned half-sheet pan would also work just fine. And to strain the ricotta, a three-foot section of cheesecloth folded to line a strainer suspended over a bowl is a must.
This pizza * and most importantly * the garlicky cheese topping is best eaten warm from the oven. Especially while the cheese is still creamy and oozy.
- FOR THE PIZZA DOUGH
- 4 ½ C bread flour
- 1 ½ T sugar
- 1 T Kosher salt
- 2 t instant yeast
- 3 T olive oil
- 15 oz lukewarm water
- More flour for dusting
- FOR THE RICOTTA
- 4 C milk
- 1 C heavy cream
- ¾ C cultured buttermilk
- ½ t sea salt
- FOR THE PIZZA
- 4 large garlic cloves - minced
- ¼ C olive oil
- 21 trimmed ramps - blanched, cooled and drained
- 2 C shredded provolone cheese
- 6 ovolini mozzarella balls - sliced
- Fresh grated pecorino romano cheese
- Coarse cornmeal
- FOR THE PIZZA DOUGH
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar salt and yeast together until fully combined
- Pour in the water and olive oil
- Process until a ball of dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl
- Process at least another 30 seconds. Pull a small piece of dough from the bowl. It should be
stretchand resist breaking. If the dough breaks easily process another 10 seconds and check again.
- Pour dough onto lightly floured surface and gently knead for a minute.
- Divide dough into three equal portions.
- Store dough ball separately in covered plastic containers in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to 48.
- Before baking remove dough balls from the refrigerator and let rest on a lightly floured surface for 2 hours.
- FOR THE RICOTTA
- In a medium pot bring all ingredients to a low gentle boil over medium heat.
- Line a strainer or fine sieve with cheesecloth and place strainer over a large bowl.
- Once the curds begin to form in the milk mixture, stir gently and reduce heat to low. Cook another 2 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let stand for an hour for maximum curd formation.
- Pour the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer and let the curds strain for at least 40 minutes.
- The longer you let the curds strain the firmer the cheese. This part is up to you, but keep in mind we do not want a soupy mess on our pizza.
- FOR THE PIZZA
- One hour before baking pizza (while dough balls are resting at room temperature) place pizza stone or cast iron pizza pan in the oven. Set the oven to preheat to 500 degrees.
- In a small frying pan gently warm the garlic and oil together over medium-low heat. If the oil becomes too hot and the garlic begins to sizzle turn down the heat.
- Cook garlic and oil until the garlic becomes somewhat translucent and soft. Set aside.
- When the pan or stone has preheated for one hour sprinkle the pizza peel or cookie sheet with a generous layer of cornmeal. Set aside
- On a lightly floured surface, gently press one dough ball into a rough 8” circle.
- Drape the dough over balled fists and gently begin to stretch the dough into a 14-15” circle. Use gravity to your advantage here. The dough will want to stretch. Do not force it or your pizza will become tough.
- Gently lay the dough on top of the cornmeal-dusted peel.
- Work quickly now to top your pizza before it begins to stick to your peel.
- Start by spreading ⅓ of the garlic oil followed by ⅓ of the shredded provolone, ⅓ of the ramps, ⅓ of the sliced mozzarella, ⅓ of the ricotta and a generous sprinkle of grated pecorino romano cheese.
- Open the door to the oven and very carefully place the peel all the way to the back of your preheated pan or stone. With one quick jerking motion pull the peel out from under the pizza leaving the pizza to fall evenly on the pizza stone. Be careful here as the oven is very hot.
- Close the door to the oven and bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.
- Carefully remove the pizza from the oven using a metal spatula and tongs. Let it cool slightly before serving on a cooling rack, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
- Repeat steps 18 - 29 for the remaining two doughs.