The Cheesy Ingredient That Stars In Classic White Pizza Sauce

Pizza is undeniably a fan-favorite food; from classic pepperoni to a veggie-filled one to a barbeque chicken, there's a type of pizza for everyone. While the traditional red tomato-based sauce is most commonly associated with pizza, there's also the less-common — but just as delicious — white sauce. And at the heart of the white pizza sauce? Parmesan cheese.

A recipe for a creamy white pizza sauce includes Parmesan cheese, butter, flour, milk, garlic, and salt and pepper. And making it is pretty simple: The mixing of ingredients happens in a pot over medium heat to generate a thick texture before Parmesan is added, then you're good to go and ready to finish making your white pizza.

The white sauce really allows you to get creative about which toppings you think your palette would enjoy with the creamy and cheesy flavors of the sauce. Try a French bread white pizza topped with prosciutto, red onion, and arugula (which will work just as well on a traditional pizza crust). There's also the classic Italian white pizza topped with potatoes, of which there are countless recipes to guide you through pairing potatoes with pizza. Additional toppings that would pair well include salami or ham, roasted chicken, onions, mushrooms, and roasted red peppers, amongst others. Or you could go with a spinach and artichoke pairing, or maybe you'd like to make it super-cheesy and top it with one or two other cheeses (perhaps burrata or mozzarella) as well as fresh herbs.

Substitutes for Parmesan when making white pizza

If you find yourself lacking Parmesan, try Pecorino Romano, Piave, Manchego, or asiago. Pecorino Romano is likely the most well-known of the three and will work just as well — as long as you keep a few things in mind. Pecorino Romano is both sharper and saltier, so you will want to leave out any other salt the recipe calls for. Meanwhile, Piave is slightly sweeter and creamier than Parmesan, so keep in mind that if you reach for Piave when it comes to making your white sauce, it will be extra creamy unless you adjust other elements of the recipe, such as the butter. Next, Manchego is a Spanish cheese that has similar qualities to Parmesan but is overall milder, so the cheesy taste will be less pronounced if you go with this one. Finally, asiago melts easily and will blend right into your sauce — just keep in mind it has a sweeter taste than Parmesan and will change up the taste profile of the sauce. 

Finally, if you're looking to avoid dairy altogether and make it vegan, there are plenty of vegan Parmesan cheese options out there (just keep in mind that you will also need to find vegan butter to make the whole recipe vegan). Some of these options include Follow Your Heart shredded Parmesan and Go Veggie, a plant-based Parmesan.