The Big Cheese
Recipe courtesy of Pizza X, Bloomington, IN
1 lb., 2.5 oz. dough ball
3 oz. ricotta
3 oz. sharp cheddar
5 oz. mozzarella
3 oz. Fontina
1.25 oz. chopped pecans (optional)
Garlic salt (to taste)
Oregano (to taste)
Preheat oven to 475°. Stretch the dough ball on a 14” screen. Top with cheeses in the above-listed order; add pecans and sprinkle garlic salt and oregano to taste. Bake for between 4 minutes and 40 seconds to 5 minutes, until the cheese melts evenly. (Cooking times will vary depending on the oven type.)
The Cheesy Gourmet
Some folks think of a cheese pizza as a “plain” pizza, but cheese lovers see it differently. With so many cheeses to choose from, pizzaioli can get as adventurous as they’d like in their quest for the perfect balance of tastes and textures. Mozzarella may be the go-to option, but many chefs add pecorino, Romano, cheddar, provolone, Muenster and/or Asiago cheeses to the mix. Goat cheeses appeal to some chefs because the rind turns irresistibly crispy while the interior becomes warm and creamy. Meanwhile, richer cheeses—Parmigiano-Reggiano or fior di latte, for example—may be used to complement more pungent meat toppings, such as sausage. Here are some examples of cheese-laden pies from around the country:
Rebel Pie, a Neapolitan-style restaurant in Timmonsville, South Carolina, serves the Pee Dee region with a variety of wood-fired pies, including the Quattro Formaggi. Prepared with Rebel Pie’s signature white sauce, it’s topped with fresh mozzarella, pecorino, Romano and Parmesan cheeses.
Luigi’s Original Restaurant (luigisoriginal.com), located in Harrison Township, Michigan, serves up the 5 Star, a cheese lover’s dream loaded with mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, Parmesan and Romano cheeses.
If five cheeses aren’t enough for you, how about six? Slice (slicebirmingham.com) in Birmingham, Alabama, gets rave reviews for its Super Cheese pizza, a high-powered blend of mozzarella, provolone, Fontina, Parmesan, feta and Asiago. Want a beer to go with it? Slice recommends Brother Joseph’s Belgian Dubbel from nearby Huntsville’s Straight to Ale Brewery.
Two Meatballs Pizzeria (twomeatballspizza.com) in North Salem, New York, notches the cheese factor all the way up to eight with the Pizza Bianco. In addition to mushrooms, artichokes, spinach and Roma tomatoes, it comes with mozzarella, ricotta, white cheddar, provolone, Fontina, Muenster, Parmesan and Romano. Surely eight is enough for even the most dedicated cheese aficionado!