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Cheese!

Cheese Pizza

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that their favorite thing about pizza is its oozy, stringy, cheesy deliciousness!

 

Since the advent of this humble street food, pizza and cheese have been synonymous. You don’t have to look far to find an ad showing the famous “cheese pull” that makes our mouths water and has us reaching for the delivery menu.

The purists will tell you fior di latte is the only way to go if you’re making true Neapolitan pizza. In parts of the US pizza isn’t pizza without cheddar. And everyone knows the popular quattro formaggi (four cheese) pie that combines Mozzarella with Gorgonzola, Parmesan and Provolone.

From Brie to Ricotta, we take a look at the different types of cheese and how combining them with mozzarella and some unexpected toppings can take your next pizza to gourmet level.

 

Brie

Brie is a French cheese that’s soft and creamy with a mild flavor. The flavor combines well with cured hams like prosciutto, chicken, bacon and peach and fig.

 

Feta

Originally from Greece, Feta can be a creamy or crumbly white cheese. Feta is made from sheep’s milk which is sometimes combined with goat’s milk. This cheese is stored in brine and the saltiness works well with most Mediterranean flavors as well as squash and spinach. If you’re feeling adventurous it works equally well with fresh strawberries.

 

Gorgonzola

Gorgonzolla is a strong, flavorful Italian cheese known for it’s blue-veined appearance. The Dolce Gorgonzola variety is soft and creamy and pairs well with pumpkin, walnut, sage and fruits like figs, pears and apples.

See the end of this article for our Gorgonzola and Caramelized Onion Pizza or download it free in the Wood-fired Pizza Cookbook.

 

Mozzarella

An Italian cheese originally made from Buffalo’s Milk, this is one of the best known cheeses in the world. Mozzarella is a white soft and chewy cheese that gives pizza it’s traditional stringiness. Sometimes a bit bland on it’s own this also means that it works well when combined with most other cheeses and a wide range of toppings. Fior di latte is a type of mozarella made from cow’s milk and it the cheese of choice for the True Pizza Association, the keepers of the authentic Neapolitan pizza.

Try smoked mozarella for an interesting twist.

 

Parmigiano-Reggiano

Parmigiano-Reggiano refers to the certified product from Parma in Italy. It is pale yellow in colour, has an intense, nutty flavor and hard, crumbly texture and is aged for between 12 and 36 months. (Don’t confuse this with the less expensive Parmesan which is usually only aged for 9 months.)

This cheese should not be mixed with you mozarella or cooked as it doesn’t melt. Add grated or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano to your pizza when  it comes out of the oven. The flavor works well with Italian-style cured meats, figs, pears and walnuts.

 

Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano refers to the certified product from Tuscany in Italy. It is pale yellow in colour, has a hard, crumbly texture similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano but is made using sheep’s milk and is salter and sharper in flavor.

 

Provolone

A semi-hard Italian cheese also known as Aged Provolone, this cheese works excellently when added to your mozzarella to add flavor or as a garnish after cooking. The depth of flavor depends on the length of aging.

 

Ricotta

This is a soft, creamy cheese that works well mixed with shredded mozzarella or spread on the base of a pizza bianca. Combine with beetroot and a balsamic vinegar glaze for a tasty alternative.

Try it with this Crispy Beet Flatbread Pizza recipe.

 

 

Gorgonzola & Caremalized Onion Pizza

The sweetness of the caramalized onions pairs beautifully with the saltiness of the Gorgonzola
cheese in this less traditional but much loved pizza recipe. Enjoy it with a robust glass of red wine.

200g Perfect Pizza Dough
100g fior-di-latte or bufala mozzarella
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
into rings
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g gorgonzola, crumbled
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons parmesean, grated
2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped
extra virgin olive oil

  1. Fry the onions in olive oil with the salt until golden and sweet.
  2. Press the dough into a disc a 1/4 inch thick and spread the onions over the base.
  3. Sprinkle with the walnuts and Gorgonzola and top with the mozzarella.
  4. Cook in a very hot oven (700 to 850F) for 11/2 to 2 minutes turning every 30 seconds.
  5. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the Parmesan and sage and serve.