Ricotta. Or ree-COAT-a as a recent rerun of Iron Chef taught me it was actually pronounced. Silly me, I’ve been saying ri-cot-a this whole time. From now on, all remotely Italian-sounding pizza ingredients will be pronounced with the appropriate accent.
So. Ree-COAT-a! Before this pizza I had never had an experience with ricotta. I’d heard of it of course, but I had never been brave enough to order a dish with ricotta in it. I think it was always slightly synonymous with mascarpone, its sweeter, dessert-centric cousin, in my head for whatever reason. But after experimenting with ricotta in my own kitchen, I am now a believer!
I bought my ricotta at Target (fancy, I know) and was surprised when I opened the container and found it looked a bit like cream cheese.
The texture isn’t as creamy or smooth, it’s more granular than anything else. That’s really the only way I can think of to describe it. It’s not like someone mixed sand and cream cheese, that’s not really what I’m getting at here, but there is a definite textural difference there besides obvious uniqueness of flavor.
But enough about ricotta. I’ve tantalized you with the pizza, and ricotta is but one piece of this glorious pie! This is a recipe modified from Cooking Light magazine. If any of you have ever heard me speak about Cooking Light, you’ll know that I can not say enough good things about it. I don’t know how they do it, but I swear, every recipe I pull out of that magazine is culinary gold. And it’s usually pretty simple to make (as this pizza is). Trust me, anyone you make this for won’t have a clue it’s healthy pizza. Just ask my ever trusting guinea pig boyfriend. His usual pie is sausage and mushroom, but he had two, if not three, helpings after we made this one weekend.
1 package refrigerated pizza dough (I like Pillsbury’s original crust)
2 cups muchrooms, sliced
1 cup zucchini, sliced
1 red onion, cut into small wedges
1 medium yellow pepper, sliced
Balsalmic vinegar (to taste)
5 tablespoons olive oil
Your favorite pizza sauce
1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into strips
1. Move oven rack to highest slot and preheat oven to 500 degrees (Ferinheight).
2. While the oven heats, slice your veggies, put them in a large bowl and toss them with olive oil. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and toss again. Place the veggies in a roasting pan, or any large-ish flat pan with a lip (no drips!) and pop the veggies in the oven for 15 minutes.
3. Now assemble the base of your pizza! Roll out the dough on a pizza pan, or any large, flat pan and top with sauce, leaving a half-inch border. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella (to glue in the vegetables) and, when they’re ready, top with the freshly roasted veggies. Add the rest of the mozzarella and artfully dollop with ricotta.
4. Put it back in the oven for 11 minutes (or however long the dough cooking instructions ask for) and sprinkle your cooked pizza with fresh basil.