Four-Cheese French Bread Pizza
Each cheese plays a special role in this French bread pizza: A combination of Parmesan and pecorino makes it especially nutty and salty; mozzarella melts evenly and a sharper deli-style provolone bridges the gap between them. Once you learn how to make the classic white sauce (technically a Mornay, which is a béchamel with cheese added), you’ll find dozens of ways to use it beyond pizza: Swap in an equal amount of grated Cheddar and toss it with pasta for an easy stovetop mac and cheese, or use Gruyère, slather the sauce over ham on toast, and broil until bubbly and browned. The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of time; store tightly covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1cup whole milk
- ¼cup grated Parmesan
- ¼cup grated Pecorino Romano
- ½teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- A few grinds of black pepper
- ¼cup olive oil
- 2garlic cloves, grated
- 1loaf soft French bread, split lengthwise, insides mostly dug out
- 4ounces mozzarella, low-moisture and part-skim, or fresh (drained and patted dry, if necessary), grated or torn
- 4ounces sliced provolone (from the deli), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
- 2tablespoons grated Parmesan
- Red-pepper flakes or dried oregano, or both, for serving
Step 1Make the sauce: Heat oven to 450 degrees. Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until starting to turn golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, a few splashes at a time to start, until evenly incorporated. Bring to a full boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, whisking occasionally, until slightly thickened and the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. (It will continue to thicken as it cools.). Remove from heat, and whisk in Parmesan, pecorino, salt and pepper. Let cool.
Step 2Prepare the pizza: Combine olive oil and garlic in a small pot over medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the garlic starts to sizzle but doesn’t brown, about 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Step 3Place the French bread cut side up on a baking sheet. Brush cut sides with garlic oil. Bake until edges are golden, 5 to 7 minutes.
Step 4Toss together the cheeses in a medium bowl. Spread sauce over the two bread halves all the way to the edges and top with cheese.
Step 5Return to the oven and bake until melted, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to broil. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and browned in spots (watch carefully!), 1 to 2 minutes more. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve topped with red-pepper flakes and oregano, if you like.