While living in Baltimore, my husband discovered a small pizza joint which had a fantastic five-cheese pie. Due to my PTSD from living there, Ive blocked the name of said joint from my memory, but I have not forgotten the pizza itself—it was that good. Friday nights in our house we usually have pizza for dinner. This year, my husband’s birthday fell on a Friday, so I opted to use this pie as inspiration for his celebratory meal. While it was not a exactly remake of that pizza, it was equally satisfying—maybe even more so, as we have escaped Balti-Mordor.
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup water
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for oiling
1 cup pearl-sized fresh mozzarella balls (or fresh mozzarella cut into half-inch chunks)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Fontina cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or julienned
1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Place a pizza stone or an inverted baking sheet it in the oven before turning it on so it heats accordingly.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and olive oil and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy, sticky dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth, elastic ball, 2-3 minutes. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into round, flat disks. Wrap each disk loosely in plastic wrap and let them rest in a warm place for at least 15 minutes. (This step can be done in advance.)
3. Brush the tops of 4 sheets of parchment paper with olive oil. Unwrap each disk of dough and place it onto the oiled side of one piece of parchment paper. Top the dough with the remaining pieces of parchment paper, oiled side down. You should have two parchment paper-dough sandwiches. Using your hands, gently press and spread the dough until it’s about 1/8 of an inch thick. You decide the shape (circle, rectangle, oval, giant uneven blob—it’s your creation). Remove the top piece of parchment paper and place the dough (still resting on the bottom piece of parchment paper) in the oven on the pizza stone or inverted baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, then remove the dough from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Repeat this step with the second disk of dough.
4. Spread each crust with Roasted Tomato & Garlic Spread, to taste, leaving a half-inch of un-sauced border.
5. Place tablespoon-sized dollops of ricotta cheese around the sauced-surface of each crust (about 1/2 cup per pie). Next, sprinkle the shredded Fontina, Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano cheeses over each crust (about 1/4-cup of each per pie). Finally, distribute the mozzarella pearls (about 1/2-cup per pie).
6. Place one pizza in the oven and bake for about 7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. After removing it from the oven, sprinkle the pie with about 1/4-cup fresh basil. Repeat this process with the second pizza. Cut and serve immediately.
Makes 2 pizzas, or 12 slices
🍕 The copious amounts of cheese on this pizza make it really rich, so I like to serve a salad composed of mixed greens, giardiniere, and homemade Italian dressing on the side.