White Sauce Works Wonders

If you think that tomato sauce is a requirement for pizza, think again.  Personally, we love tomato sauce, but we wanted to present the option of using a white sauce.

The secret to white sauces lies in their simplicity.  They are easy to make, hold well under refrigeration and are a great flavor carrier.  White sauces have a history in authentic Italian cooking in pasta sauces and lasagna.  They are best at complimenting seafood, which is why they make good summer menu fare.

Because of their lower acidity and creamy flavor, white sauces bring out the flavor of other foods.  Delicate tastes will shine through where tomato sauces can sometimes hide flavors.  White sauces are great with garlic, spinach, eggplant, and seafood pizzas.  Your menu ought to be a living document meant to delight your customers.  Items with white sauces make ideal “Specials’.  Customers that buy specials want new experiences.  They are generally willing to pay a little more than average so “Tonight’s Special” ought to be, well, special.

Summer and seafood simply go together so it may be the ideal time to introduce a white sauce.  Pizza sales fall off in the summer because kids are out of school and pizza seems too heavy for hot weather.  A well-advertised light seafood pizza might be just the ticket to pump up a seasonal slump.

The Now & Then of White Pizza…

The “then” of white pizzas, in most pizzerias, was any pizza without a tomato sauce.  Many chefs would replace the tomato sauce with just olive oil brushed on the fresh dough, add fresh rosemary and garlic to create a “sauce”.  Today, or “now”, we find chefs using any number of different white sauces to complement the numerous and popular pizza toppings that are found in our pizzerias.

From a single white sauce used as a base, we are able to create many distinctive sauces inspired by the tastes and smells of fresh and local ingredients.  Vegetables, herbs, cheeses, nuts, fruits, seeds, and spices added to our base sauce will make a delicate and simple sauce, or a bold – almost stand alone – sauce.  One popular white sauce base is made from one pound of softened cream cheese and one quart of sour cream mixed together well.  Another sauce is made by slowly heating six cups of good extra-virgin olive oil with one to two cups of fresh herbs (like sage, rosemary and thyme) and one cup whole garlic cloves, the oil just needs to reach a temperature around 225 to 250 degrees F.

A few pizza ideas:

  • Grilled Chicken Pizza with Gorgonzola and Walnuts using a Fresh Herb & Garlic Oil Sauce
  • Popeye’s Pesto Pizza – this pizza is made with Sauteed Spinach & Garlic in a White Creamy Sauce with a dash of Nutmeg, Asiago and Mozzarella Cheese
  • Steak & Roasted Bell Pepper Pizza – thin slices of Sirloin with Roasted Red, Green & Yellow Bell Peppers, Sauteed Onions, a House Wine Sauce and Cheddar Cheese

See our Recipes Section for a basic White Sauce Recipe.

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