We make pizza every Friday. Most times it's a classic pizza with a little sauce and fresh mozzarella, but sometimes come 5:00pm on a Friday I realize we are out of sauce, and cheese, and then, it's time to improvise. This pizza with fresh ricotta, peas, bacon, lemon and garden chives came out of having *seemingly* nothing to top our weekly pie with. With a closer look, I realized we had plenty of fresh milk and lemons so I decided to make a easy homemade ricotta. I know it seems extra, but it could not be easier. If you do not have a thermometer, you want to take the milk to right below a boil (remember chemistry class? water boils at 212˚F, and milk boils at 203˚F). Add a little lemon juice and a splash of white vinegar (as an insurance policy) and you will have delicious and easy ricotta everytime! Since I was using it for pizza I strained it a bit further than I would if I were to use it in filled pasta or a dip (no one likes a soggy pizza) , but you can use your discretion based on what you want to enjoy it with!
Recipe and Headnote Molly Adams
- 1 (1 pound) ball pizza dough, store bought or homemade
- Flour, as needed for shaping dough
- 4 slices bacon
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- Olive oil, as needed
- Sea salt, to taste
- Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1/ 2 cup ricotta cheese, strained, or homemade (recipe below)
- 1/ 2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
- 1/ 4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 tablespoon snipped chives
Preheat oven to 500˚F and place a sheet pan upside down on the middle rack while the oven preheats.
Place pizza dough on a lightly floured surface and stretch into a rough rectangle, about 12 inches long, 8 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. Dust lightly with flour on both sides. Set aside.
Place bacon in a cold skillet and set over medium heat. Cook bacon until crisp and fat has rendered, about 10 minutes, flipping the bacon halfway through cooking time. Set bacon aside on a paper towel lined plate to drain, then once cool, crumble into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
To the same skillet, add sliced shallots and cook over medium heat until crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
Once oven has preheated, let pan preheat for an additional 10 minutes. Carefully remove pan from oven and place shaped pizza dough on top. Quickly drizzle with olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes and return to the oven to par-bake for about 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and top par-baked crust with bacon, shallots, ricotta, peas and Parmesan cheese. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with additional olive oil. Season with sea salt and garnish with lemon zest and chives before serving.
- 1/ 2 gallon whole milk, not ultra pasteurized
- 1/ 3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablepsoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- cheesecloth or flour sack, for straining
Add milk to a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook until the milk reaches exactly 200˚F. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, vinegar and salt. Stir quickly to combine, then let sit for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, stir to mix well. If curds have not formed, add a little more vinegar and let sit until the mixture is fully separated.
Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a tall pot, strain the cheese mixture, then let sit for about 10 minutes if you want a more dry ricotta (like for pizza). Use leftover whey in smoothies, to cook pasta, or to make bread.