low fat white pizza sauce
February 21, 2005 11:54 AM   Subscribe

I would like a recipe for a low fat white sauce to use as sauce for pizza crusts. I suppose I could buy some pre-made lowfat Alfredo, but I would prefer to make it from scratch. It needs to be fairly thick to not run off of the pie whilst baking/eating. I'm planning on using Mozarella, mushrooms, and chopped/cooked spinach as a topping. Any suggestions?
posted by sharksandwich to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
White sauce is typically made by cooking flour with butter (the roux) and then adding hot milk or cream. You can use a small amount of butter to a large amount of flour and use nonfat milk. It will require some additional stirring to avoid lumpiness, and you'll have to add the milk slowly, especially at first, but it should work. Beat in some roasted garlic for extra flavor, along with salt and pepper. It'll still taste lowfat, though.

I don't think that cornstarch (the easiest way to thicken, and with no fat at all) would stand up to baking, but someone else would know for sure.
posted by anapestic at 12:43 PM on February 21, 2005

I wouldn't use cornstarch to make a white sauce for a pizza. i tend to reach for cornstarch when I want a more translucent or sticky sauce (think pie filling, or a shiny "Americanized" sauce for Chinese-style dishes).

But I second your recommendation, anapestic: one tablespoon of butter, one tablespoon of flour and one cup of nonfat milk will make a perfectly nice, smooth sauce with about as little fat as one could ask. Make sure to cook the flour/butter mixture for a few minutes to kill the "raw" flour taste, and use a whisk when adding the milk and you won't have any problems with lumpiness. You can cook it longer to make it thicker although it will thicken a surprising amount once it's off the burner, anyway.

Personally, I find a white sauce made with skim milk to be basically as satisfying as one made with whole milk or cream, especially in cases like this when there are things like garlic, mushrooms & spinach added to the final product.
posted by bcwinters at 12:53 PM on February 21, 2005

One warning, just looking at the toppings listed above. Low fat cheese often melts really odd, and mozzarella seems to be the worst. On a pizza it may not be a dealbreaker since the flavor isn't too different. However, it doesn't get that nice gooey stretchy joy normal cheese gets. More like dull in color and solid in texture. (specifically talking diet cheese here, not the part-skim stuff which is basically identical to the whole milk stuff).
posted by Kellydamnit at 1:48 PM on February 21, 2005

Although it isn't low fat, I'd suggest throwing in some decent blue cheese into the mix. It can substitute for some of the butter (add it before the milk) and gives the sauce a lot of flavor which means you won't need to use as much. And hey, blue cheese is perfect with spinach and mushrooms.

On preview,
Diet cheeses just aren't worth it. Use less cheese and use the real stuff.
posted by aspo at 1:49 PM on February 21, 2005

Part skim Mozzerella isn't that bad as far as fat goes- just don't use an inch-thick layer. Anyway, your recipe sounds good- email it too me when you work out the details! (with a whole grain crust, I think it might just work out for my South Beach diet).
posted by Doohickie at 2:07 PM on February 21, 2005

We make a pizza w/ similar ingredients to what you're posting, but there basically isn't any sauce. You make a huge base out of the spinach (we use fresh and chop it up), low-fat (or part-skim, however it comes where you are) ricotta, (pressed/minced) garlic, a little olive oil, and some tiny, tiny diced onions. Spread that out and then add artichoke hearts, mushrooms, whatever on top. It's not exactly white sauce, but I thought it might give you some ideas.
posted by Medieval Maven at 3:19 PM on February 21, 2005

A simple roux works very well, particularly if you add nutmeg and white pepper. Personally I would cook the crust and then put on a white sauce, a little cheese and broil, but I like my pizza very crisp.

Another authentic topping would be drained ricotta.

Gotta go make dinner
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:50 PM on February 21, 2005

I wouldn't use cornstarch to make a white sauce for a pizza.

Agreed. Try a few shakes of instant-mashed-potato flakes for thickening (or, if you have time, the real thing is always nice). Up the rosemary; it goes great with the potato flavor.
posted by scarabic at 5:30 PM on February 21, 2005

Another thing about bechamel (anapestic's white sauce)--it thickens a lot once removed from the heat. It won't appear thick enough when you are making it. Resist the temptation to use cornstarch, which I have found alters the flavor too much. Just wait a couple of minutes. If you have to wait awhile before applying the sauce, cover with some wax paper to prevent a skin from forming.

Also, part-skim mozzarella is not terrible, but I would find it difficult to give up the full-fat very fresh stuff I use. Any of the actual fake cheese stuff is worthless.
posted by lackutrol at 5:48 PM on February 21, 2005

Skim ricotta blended with a bit of skim milk to thicken it, along with some garlic and nutmeg (always use nutmeg with spinach or mushrooms! And especially in a white cream sauce!) works fantastic in this sort of recipe. I have used it to make a "white" lasagna and its delicious and holds up well with baking.
posted by macadamiaranch at 6:08 PM on February 21, 2005

I can go with low-fat rocotta, but skim ricotta is horrible. Just sayin'.
posted by Doohickie at 4:42 PM on February 22, 2005

ricotta, even.
posted by Doohickie at 4:42 PM on February 22, 2005

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