This Italian Ricotta Pizza with spinach, basil, mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes is a homage to the Italian flag (and a really tasty way to say “I love you”).
Making food for others is my way of saying “I care about you,” “I’m glad you are in my life,” and, most importantly, “Thanks for putting up with me.”
While many foods can convey those sentiments, pizza is the universal food whose message needs no translation.
With gooey, soul-comforting cheese, an array of flavorful toppings, and a crust that’s soft, crisp, and chewy all at the same time, pan pizza is a food for every occasion, every person, and, importantly, every appetite.
Today’s ricotta pizza with spinach, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and melty mozzarella is toes the line between fresh (hi, spinach!) and decadent (so much ricotta).
You, and anyone you love enough to share it with, will be smitten at first bite!
5 Star Review
“I have already made this twice and it is DIVINE.”— Meg —
If you’ve only ever had ricotta in Vegetable Lasagna, you may be wondering if ricotta is good on pizza and what does ricotta pizza tastes like.
Well, I’m here to tell you that, yes, ricotta is AH-MAZING on pizza and it tastes like pure heaven!
Ricotta is mild, creamy, and holds its shape when heated, making it perfect for dolloping over pizza crust (for a gooey, melty cheese pizza, try Burrata Pizza).
Ricotta is versatile and pairs well with a wide range of Italian ingredients, especially garlic, herbs, tomatoes, and olive oil, all of which we are using here.
How to Make Ricotta Pizza
Simple ingredients that taste great year-round star in this easy ricotta pizza recipe.
Sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, mozzarella, and (of course) creamy ricotta cheese is all this pizza demands to reach its pinnacle.
- Pizza Dough. I like to use my favorite Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough for this ricotta pizza. You can use any recipe you like or even your favorite store-bought dough. I always choose homemade pizza dough over store-bought.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes. These BURST with flavor and give pizza (or any recipe to which you add them) pizzaz and intensity. Try them in this in Sun Dried Tomato Pasta.
- Olive Oil. No tomato sauce or pizza sauce here, as it’s the dollops of ricotta that shines. This white pizza with ricotta cheese uses a drizzle of flavorful olive oil (use the good stuff if you’ve got it).
- Baby Spinach. Gives the pizza beautiful color, tastes fab with ricotta, and packs in the nutrition with iron, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K.
- Garlic Powder. Seasons the spinach as it wilts. Could use 1 cloves garlic, minced.
- Red Pepper Flakes. An optional way to add a little kick to your pizza if you so desire.
- Kosher Salt. Brings out the flavor of the ricotta cheese.
Please, do not use table salt to finish the pizza. It will be WAY too salty. Make sure to use kosher salt or a pinch of flaky sea salt would work too.
Don’t skip the salt entirely. Ricotta tastes bland without it.
- Mozzarella. It wouldn’t be pizza (or Zucchini Pizza Boats) without just a little mozzarella cheese. Could even use a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese too.
- Basil. For a final sprinkle of lovely herbaceous Italian flavor.
- Prepare or unpackage your pizza dough and preheat the oven.
When baking pizza at home, preparing your oven is key for best results. Here are my top oven tips for homemade pizza.
- Position your oven rack in the upper third (4 to 5 inches from the top).
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (or as high as your oven will go; you want it to be HOT).
- If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven while it preheats. A hot pizza stone is essential for a perfect crust.
- Drain or rehydrate the sundried tomatoes as needed. Set aside.
- Sauté the spinach and garlic with a spatula.
- Shape the dough into a 12-inch diameter circle or oval. Place dough on desired pan.
While shaping, if the dough stretches back on you, let it rest for several minutes, then try again (you can’t rush stubborn dough).
- Add the toppings to the top of the pizza. Carefully slide the ricotta pizza onto the stone (or place the baking sheet into the oven) and bake until the crust is golden and slightly blistered.
For even baking, I like to rotate my pizza 180 degrees about halfway through cooking.
- Finish with chopped basil and a pinch of kosher or flakey salt and cut into slices. ENJOY!
- To Store. Leftover pizza slices may be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Warm in the center of a 450 degree F oven for approximately 6 minutes, on a pizza stone if possible, until heated through.
- To Freeze. Store leftover ricotta pizza in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen as directed above until heated through.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Pizza Stone. A pizza stone is a great way to up your pizza game at home.
- Skillet. For sautéing the spinach. this one has been my go-to skillet for everyday cooking for years.
- Pizza Cutter. The one kitchen tool every parent should send their child to college with.
Pizza. It means, “I love you.”
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Unlike other cheeses that melt into string pools of melty cheese, ricotta does not melt when cooked in the oven. Instead, it becomes ultra-soft and creamy while still retaining its overall shape.
While ricotta can technically be put on pizza before or after baking, if you want the ricotta to be warm and creamy, it is best to add it to pizza before baking.
If you have die-hard carnivores in your house who demand meat on their pizza, you could certainly add some if you’d like. I’d suggest some thin slices of cooked Grilled Chicken Breast or pieces of cooked Italian sausage.
- 1 Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (freeze the second dough for another time or make 2 pizzas; or swap your favorite store-bought dough)
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes oil-packed or dry-packed
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 5 ounces baby spinach about 5 cups
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch red pepper flakes optional
- 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus an additional pinch
- 1/2 cup freshly shredded mozzarella
- Chopped fresh basil leaves
- While the dough is rising, position an oven rack in the upper third (4 to 5 inches from the top). Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (or as high as your oven will go). If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven while it preheats.
- If the sun-dried tomatoes are oil-packed: drain them and pat dry. If they are dry-packed, place them in a small bowl and cover with hot water to rehydrate. Let rest for 5 minutes, then pat dry. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the spinach and garlic powder. Sauté until the greens are soft and wilted, a minute or two for spinach. Stir occasionally. It will look like way too many greens at first but will cook down significantly. Set aside.
- Turn the pizza dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 12-inch circle. If the dough stretches back on you, let it rest for several minutes, then try again (you can't rush stubborn dough).
- If cooking on a pizza stone: transfer the dough to a sheet of broiler-safe parchment paper placed on the back of a flat baking sheet (this is what I do) or a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel. If you do not have a pizza stone, lightly dust a regular baking sheet with flour or cornmeal, then place the shaped dough directly in the center.
- Assemble the ricotta pizza: scatter the sautéed spinach over the top, then dollop with ricotta. Sprinkle the kosher salt evenly over the top. Add the mozzarella, then sun-dried tomatoes.
- Carefully slide the pizza onto the stone, either with the peel or by sliding the sheet of parchment and pizza onto the stone together. (If using a baking sheet instead of a stone, simply pop the pizza into the oven) Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the crust is golden and slightly blistered, rotating 180 degrees halfway through. Transfer to a cutting board and finish with chopped basil. Sprinkle with a final pinch of salt (Note: do not use table salt or the pizza will be too salty). Slice and enjoy hot.
- TO STORE: Leftover pizza slices may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Warm in the center of a 450 degree F oven for approximately 6 minutes, on a pizza stone if possible, until heated through.
- TO FREEZE: Store leftover ricotta pizza in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen as directed above until heated through.
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