Homemade white pies can be hard to pull off. Without the refreshing acid of crushed tomato sauce, creamy mozzarella and ricotta can become too heavy to handle. Sprinkle on more cheese for flavor, and you’re looking at a white pie coma.
Arizona pizza king Chris Bianco describes exactly how to balance white pies’ richness in his first cookbook, Bianco. When making his signature white pie, the Pizza Biancoverde, Bianco combines pliant mozzarella, sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano, and creamy ricotta with peppery arugula to create a light, fresh pie. “This pie is all about the subtle textural differences among the cheeses, which underscores the differences in their flavors,” he says.
The cut of each cheese is extremely important because heat transforms its texture. Tearing mozzarella into cubes causes it to melt into chewy shreds, and using the large holes of a box grater for Parmesan (as opposed to finely grating it) keeps it from toughening up. You can’t cut ricotta, but plopping too much onto the dough can not only overwhelm it but also make it sag. Bianco uses a teaspoon to create substantial but not overly creamy bites.
Bianco combines a pretty traditional cheese trio, but his attention to shape and placement can transfer to any number of white pies. We've gathered 12 of our very best for you to try:
What are your favorite toppings for white pies? Do you think they're too rich?