This October, we had a little pizza party at my neighbor’s house. The kids made their own personal pizzas, my friend James ran the Ooni pizza oven, and Kayla made Negroni Sbagliatos (because TikTok told us to!).
I’ve recently been cooking through a couple of recipes in Foodheim, a cookbook written by the hilarious and talented Eric Wareheim, aka Arnold from Master of None. You can’t read this book without salivating and craving a couple of freshly-baked pizzas with a simple, briny green salad on the side. While I love cooking recipes I’ve never tried before, there will always be something so satisfying about a simple pizza—especially one with a couple of creative toppings.
I hope you’ll give one of these pizza topping ideas a try on your next at-home pizza night. Now if Santa could please bring me an Ooni pizza oven, I would be one happy pizza pie maker!
A few additional tools you’ll need:
While the toppings are the exciting part of any pizza, the dough is what really takes a pie from okay to amazing. If you are buying store-bought pizza dough, it is KEY that you let it come to room temperature before shaping it. We’re talking about letting it sit on your countertop for ~four hours if it’s been in the refrigerator. Trader Joe’s has a great premade dough you can keep in the fridge for weeks.
If you have more time, I think Eric Wareheim’s fermented dough recipe is worth the extra time. It is slightly sweet, fluffy, and gives you nice big puffy sections as the pie bakes. You can find directions to that recipe here, but do yourself a favor and just buy his book. 5/5 stars.
For this month’s pizza party, I brought ingredients to make a Margherita pizza, with a bit of a twist. I used a fresh red sauce, which involved blitzing San Maranzo tomatoes, garlic, and salt in a blender. I also used two cheeses—low-moisture mozzarella AND low-moisture fresh mozzarella. If you can find mozzarella pearls that are not floating in water, you’re golden.
I baked the pie with the two cheeses on top, then sprinkled on fresh basil (no exceptions) and a drizzle of the highest-quality olive oil I had on hand. I used to joke that Ina Garten always called out the importance of using high-quality EVOO, but she’s right. Without it, this pizza does not taste as good. Oh, and don’t forget to sprinkle the pizza with Maldon salt before serving right away.
Foodheim has a similar recipe but I credit my friend, Pizza Mama Marlo Munch, for first introducing me to lemon slices on a pizza. (She used fresh snap peas on her lemon pizza, but I think that’s best to do when they are in season.) The key is to use an organic lemon (which will have a thinner pith) and slice it very thinly. This pizza is so creamy and zingy! It has so much umami flavor. If you don’t love tinned fish, consider putting the anchovies on before it goes in the oven or pizza oven. They’ll break down a bit and add a delicious depth of flavor to your pie. Here is one Reddit user’s rave review of the recipe.
In Minnesota, we have this amazing pizza place called Punch and they have a recipe similar to this one. Essentially, you bake your pizza dough with lots of olive oil on top and then place a delicious bib lettuce or arugula salad on top. I like the salad dressed in a balsamic dressing with prosciutto but this recipe from Bon Appétit would hit the spot too.
I love the mash-up of flavors here, with the oily soppressata clashing with thinly-sliced fennel and smoky hot honey. Use your cheese and sauce of choice and top with olive oil, parsley, and Maldon salt! A similar recipe can be found here. My favorite hot honey is by Zab’s.
I think you could put pickled peppers on ANY pizza and it would taste amazing. If you already have classic ingredients like mushrooms and sausage on hand, top that pie with some pickled peppers and it becomes something totally different! They are very simple to make yourself and take just a few minutes to yield a month’s worth of flavor-packed toppings waiting at the ready in your fridge.
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BY Kate Arends - October 26, 2022
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.