Ah, pizza. Everyone’s favorite meal. We have pizza night almost every Friday in our house, and I sometimes find myself in a rut. Cheese, pepperoni, peppers, and maybe some olives. Chopped-up deli ham if I’m feeling adventurous. While these toppings make for some delicious pizza, it’s nice to spice things up every once in a while. Here are a few of my favorite outside-the-box topping combinations.
Parma and Ricotta Pizza
Skip the mozzarella on this one, folks. Simply spread a light layer of tomato sauce over your crust, then add dollops of ricotta cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted slightly and the crust is crunchy. As soon as it comes out of the oven, cover the pizza with a good helping of chopped proscuitto and then sprinkle shaved parmesan cheese on top of that. The proscuitto and parmesan will melt into the top of your hot pizza deliciously. For a finishing touch, drizzle some olive oil over the whole thing and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper before serving.
I’ve always thought that potatoes on pizza sounded wrong. Starch on top of carbs? That’d be like mixing potatoes into your macaroni and cheese. But then I actually tried it… and completely changed my tune. Leftover roasted potatoes, sliced thinly and layered on top of your pizza is a great, easy way to go. If you don’t have any leftovers, peel and slice some fresh potatoes very thinly, then microwave them until soft before adding them to your pizza. Add some fresh herbs, goat cheese, chopped ham, or whatever sounds good to you and bake as usual.
When I was visiting my brother in Brooklyn, he took me to Gristmill, a restaurant that served wood fired pizza. Everything was phenomenal, especially their pepperoni pizza. Why? Because it was topped with pepperoni… and burnt honey. That’s right, honey. It’s a weird combination for sure, but the spicy and sweet worked well. Try it at home with some of your favorite honey — just a drizzle — and see what you think.
Similar to potatoes, squash isn’t something you see every day on a pizza. But it too can be delightful. Make sure to precook the squash, and cut it up into bite-sized chunks. Pieces bigger than that tend to make the crust soggy underneath. Pair with a strong cheese, like Gorgonzola, and some baby spinach, and you’ll have a creamy, dreamy, earthy pizza experience.
Ok, so this isn’t a topping per se, but for years now my family has eaten pizza with applesauce on the side for dipping. We all agree that the flavor of the cheese and sauce meld beautifully with the applesauce. Note that this is best with unsweetened applesauce, not the sweetened or cinnamon-spiced sauce. Many people eat cheddar cheese with apple pie, so why not applesauce with cheese pizza?