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Pizza Toppings

  • r

I'm having a party and whipping up a bunch of pizzas later this month and am interested in new ideas for toppings.

I did a tomato sauce, mozzarella & parm, pancetta, roasted red pepper & basil pizza last week that I'm definitely going to repeat, and probably a classic pepperoni and mushroom, along with both a sausage, mushroom & pepper and a spinach & artichoke Chicago-style deep dish, but I'd like some other more interesting options.

I will likely make a few different pizza styles - thin, standard hand-tossed, deep dish, so style suggestions to go with toppings are welcome also.

Let me state in advance that no buffalo chicken pizza is being made in my house. :-)


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  1. Yummm! Caramelized onion and Gorgonzola is wonderful with a drizzle of balsamic. Another favourite of mine is bianca with some good olive oil, sel de gris or fleur de sel and fresh rosemary.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chefathome

      Interesting! I'm not sure about my ability to get a proper pizza bianca curst - any tips? I see the dough has to be really wet.

      And, alas, my oven starts to get kind of unpredictable at temps over 550F.

    2. I like making focaccia "pizza" and using figs, goat cheese, prosciutto (or variations of that w/ sweet and salty), and sometimes caramelized onions. For deep dish, you can't beat KA's torta rustica:


      I vary the layers but love the different colors.

      5 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        I do this too but buy pre-made pizza dough or pastry dough to make a fake tart! Sometimes adding arugula to make a "salad" pizza.

        I also like the white clam garlic pizza-but shucking the clams can be a pain.
        A place near me does a white pie with chicken and broccoli rabe and its really great.

        1. re: AdamD

          Ooh, like a piadina with salad vegetables folded inside--I love that, too.

        2. re: chowser

          I did a test round with the torta. I decided to forgo the heavier stuff so I'm not going to make it for the party, but it's a great recipe and it looks beautiful when it's done. The crust comes out a little bit bready for my taste - I think I'd use less and roll it out thinner next time. But it tastes really great.

          1. re: Raids

            I've had my eye on this recipe--it's 10 thin layers of dough instead of a thick layer. But, I'm a starch person so love the thick bready dough:


            I also like to go w/ lighter filling in the torta. That's one reason I like it. You can make it as hearty or as light as you want(and I have gone w/ very heavy meat for my husband).

            1. re: chowser

              I did spinach, roasted garlic, onion, parmesan, and mozzarella. I'm basically trying to get at a better, thicker homemade version of the sort of spinach stuffed pizza that you can get at by-the-slice pizza places.

              ETA: That link is to one beautiful torta.

        3. Hmmm...also probably need dessert ideas. What dessert to serve with pizza?

          12 Replies
          1. re: Raids

            Nutella and hazel nut pizza!

              1. re: ESNY

                Sounds nice!
                This thread also reminded me of another "gourmet" pizza-wild mushrooms, parm, and truffle oil! YUM.

                1. re: ESNY

                  That sounds just awesome, thank you. One question: sadly, I have friends who are not fans of gorgonzola. Would the whole thing go wrong if I substituted a mild cheese, like brie? Any other suggestion? Manchengo?

                  1. re: Raids

                    I think you would loose the essence of the funk/sweet contrast, but brie just might work!
                    Not sure how well brie melts though as I have never tried it. You dont want a pool of runny cheese with the rinds standing out. Great idea though.

                    1. re: AdamD

                      Brie melts really well but I wouldn't melt it for more than a few minutes. Depending how long the OP cooks the pizza, i'd consider adding the brie towards the end.

                      I have also had a pizza made with grayson cheese, honey and truffle oil which was great. Grayson cheese is a stinky, washed rind cheese.

                      As far as avoiding bleu cheese, if you want to serve a savory dessert pizza, just think of what is served alongside cheese and start there. maybe, parmesan cheese and a drizzle of balsamic or manchego and quince paste. Not that I've made anything like that but thats where i'd start. you can bake the crust naked and then add toppings as the dough is pulled out of the oven so the cheese/toppings aren't cooked.

                2. re: Raids

                  Whenever I throw a pizza party (it's how we entertain for the most part, since I built a wood-fired pizza oven in the backyard), I'm not allowed to make any dessert other than a pizza made with nutella, dollops of mascarpone, and topped with a liberal sprinkling of brown sugar. The nutella is, of course, delicious. The mascarpone adds some sweet, creamy, goodness. And the brown sugar (Oh, the brown sugar)! It caramelizes into these perfect little bits of crunchiness on top of the pizza.

                  Really, I'm not allowed not to make it. I've had guests rebel and go to the grocery store for the ingredients in the middle of the party rather than have whatever else I had planned.

                  1. re: modthyrth

                    I want to come to a party at your house.

                    1. re: loraxc

                      Any time you're in the Phoenix area! I just bought a fig tree, too, so in about a year I'll be able to do fig/prosciutto/goat cheese pizzas with figs from my own tree.

                      No danger of me getting a goat and making my own cheese, however. I think both my husband and the HOA would freak. ;-)

                      1. re: modthyrth

                        That one sounds amazing, too. You just reminded me to try a pizza with gorgonzola and some of the fig jam I made this year (which is very lightly sweetened)...hmm, maybe caramelized onions, too.

                        Seriously, one of my big dreams is to have a pizza oven in the backyard and have pizza parties just like your describe. I was crazy enough to throw a homemade pizza party for 40 for my daughter's second birthday (???!), and it was so fun but so HOT.

                        1. re: loraxc

                          Head on over to fornobravo,.com and get the free plans for the pizza oven! Do it, do it! I'd never done a lick of masonry before, and I managed to make a completely, awesomely functional pizza oven...if, ahem, the brickwork looks a bit...rustic. ;-) I'll only encourage you, loraxc!

                          A party for 40 without a pizza oven that cooks a pie in 90 seconds? Wow! You're awesome! I want to come to a party at *your* house.

                        2. re: modthyrth

                          Whoa a fellow Arizona pizza lover. Most excellent to know the state is representing good pizza well!

                  2. I love an olive oil pizza with spinach, wild mushrooms, and goat cheese.

                    1. Wild mushrooms, fontina, caramelized onions, and rosemary...delicious. I will admit that I can't take credit for the combination:


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mels

                        I making this one for sure, thanks!

                      2. White potato pizza - Mozz, thinly sliced blanched Red Bliss potatoes, black olives, a little fresh rosemary, and a sprinkling of grated parm.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: grampart

                          Beautiful. Does the potato get crispy or stay soft?

                          1. re: chowser

                            On the one pictured, they stayed fairly soft. On a subsequent attempt, I finished off the pie under the broiler for less than a minute and they got some nice browning, but still not really crispy.

                            1. re: grampart

                              I wonder if brushing lightly w/ olive oil would make it crisper. I really want to try this one (because one cannot have enough starch...). I might add goat cheese to it. Thanks for the idea.

                          2. re: grampart

                            I think I had one similar to this at Buca di Beppo. The potatoes were crispy on the edges but still soft in the center. That combination of parmesan, potato & rosemary is great!

                            1. re: grampart

                              One of my favs is sliced potatoes, roasted garlic and rosemary with good olive oil

                            2. I had a potato and bacon pizza that was pretty tasty. The crust was stretched out, brushed with rosemary infused olive oil, a layer of provolone cheese then par-cooked potato slices and (probably) par-cooked bacon and a (very) small amount of minced rosemary. After baking it was garnished with green onions. Another one I enjoyed recently had a thin layer of tomato sauce, mozzarella, duck confit, fresh goat cheese and some sage.

                              1. Last week I did a ham, caramelized onion and gruyere pizza which was awesome. Besides that, i usually stick to hot italian sausage and jalapeno pizza and a prosciutto pizza (put on after pizza comes out of the oven). my wife likes topping the prosciutto pizza with arugula tossed lightly with olive oil and lemon.

                                1. What? No Buffalo Chicken Pizza? Oh well, to each his own.

                                  I guess my suggestion for a Hawaiian Pizza would probably not go over too well then - a good ham, fresh pineapple, and jalapeno to taste.

                                  We also found that greens like kale, chard, or mustard taste good on just about any kind of pizza, and add nice color. Can I come to your party?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: njkori

                                    Nope, I like hawaiian topped pizzas. The addition of jalepeno to ham and pineapple makes it about a million times better, imo. Last time I had it there were a couple of other great ingredients as well, but I really can't remember what they were.

                                    1. re: Raids

                                      Try it sometime with spicy Italian sausage in place of the ham. The spice plays so well off the sweet pineapple, I can hardly eat pizza without it anymore.
                                      i always add onions, but haven't tried jalepenos. Pizza is definitely moving up on the rotation so I can try it out- sounds great!

                                  2. Kimchi and bacon
                                    Bacon, apples and mushroom
                                    Chorizo, potatoes and sweet peppers
                                    Chicken, mole and jalapenos
                                    Pancetta, arugula and eggs
                                    Curried minced beef and cilantro

                                    1. I do a take on a local places Greek pizza:

                                      Thin crust
                                      olive oil with crushed garlic as sauce
                                      fresh torn basil leaves
                                      mix of mozarella and provelone cheese
                                      Fresh tomatoes slices ( i use romas)
                                      Crumbled feta

                                      I hide the basil under the cheese so it doesn't burn and put the tomatoes on top of the mozz/prov cheese so they char. Then Feta crumbles over whole pizza.

                                      Addictive and still somewhat healthy.


                                      1. There is a restaurant in Dana Point, CA that made a Thai chicken pizza that was really good. It had chicken with a light peanut sauce, mozzarella, red onion, and then fresh cilantro topped it once it was out of the oven. I can't remember if it had anything else.

                                        1. Garlic mashed potato pizzza with pancetta and parmesan.

                                          Rappini sauteed with garlic topped with goat cheese or feta when it comes out of the oven.

                                          1. Garlic, basil leaves, sausage & roasted eggplant

                                            1. my favorite (or used to be favorite): ricotta cheese, sundried tomato julienned bits, romano, mozzarella, parmesan and basil shards. sometimes a little tomato sauce.

                                              in the running:
                                              -wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, walnut pesto, mozzarella, gruyere and parsley
                                              -sweet potato, onions, gruyere, sage
                                              -yukon gold potato slices, tomato slices, asparagus, mozzarella, white cheddar, white pepper, Eggs!, and parsley

                                              i also occasionally like to make a faux crust out of spaghetti squash and a bit of egg white, garlic, and onion to bind...

                                              1. Taco pizza, with a spicy sauce and a cornmeal crust. Yum.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: sulbin

                                                  I decided to add a Mexican pizza - some cornmeal in the crust, ancho chile/roasted tomato sauce, chorizo, onion, oaxaca & topped with cilantro. Maybe a little cotija, too. I'm thinking I may have to be a little flexible on the cheese depending on what Whole Foods has available this week.

                                                2. Quail eggs. I just crack two or three quail eggs on top of the pizza. They cook to kind of an over-medium consistency. Really nice, and kinda novel.

                                                  1. One of my favorites, white pizza with anchovies. Most people hate em but I love that salt!

                                                      1. Hi,
                                                        I;ve been experimenting with pizza alot lately since we got a new Big Green Egg for Xmas and my husband bought me a pizza stone and plate setter for my Bday, one of our favorites (I mean the girls, the boys only want meat) is Thai pizza, we use some spicy peanut sauce and some red bell pepper, green onions and sprinkle with sesame seeds and a small handful of parmesan its really good and very different.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: tidecreek

                                                          People do keep mentioning this Thai pizza, and it sounds delicious. It has occurred to me that some people might be lactose intolerant, so I'm going to ask around and make something like this also if that's the case, minus the parm.

                                                          Do you do anything different with the crust? I'm guessing a thin crust is ideal here?

                                                          1. re: Raids

                                                            "OOPS" Forgot to mention the chicken on the pizza and fresh cilantro when it comes out

                                                        2. Sauteed broccoli rabe, olive oil & garlic, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella.

                                                          1. I've never gone wrong with a sauteed fennel, onion and sausage pizza.

                                                            And personally, I like kalmata olives, fresh tomatos, fresh mozzarella, capers, basil and maybe some artichoke hearts. Also good with a little feta.

                                                            1. Just wanted to give an update - I did 12 12-inch pizzas, 2 of each: margherita, mushroom and fontina, mexican, pancetta and roasted red pepper, pepperoni, and hawaiian with jalepeno.

                                                              Important lesson - don't forget to thoroughly dry out the fresh mozza and tomato on a margherita pizza.

                                                              I baked them all at 550F individually, and then rotated them back through a 350-400F oven for a few minutes each, two at a time, to reheat. Turns out, if you have two pizza pans and prep one on the pan while one is baking, the timing works out just about perfect. I did 12-inch pizzas so they fit on the dinner plates I have for serving (and waiting).

                                                              All turned out very well - the mushroom was very popular, as was the hawaiian with jalepeno, but the clear winner was the Mexican. And it was probably the best-tasting pizza I've ever made, so I'll share the toppings:

                                                              The weekend before, I made the ancho chile sauce in this recipe: http://localkitchenblog.com/2010/09/1...

                                                              Then, I browned chorizo, removed it from the pan with a slotted spoon, and sauteed sliced onion in the chorizo fat.

                                                              Then I topped the dough with the sauce, a half/half mix of queso blanco and cotija, onion, and chorizo and baked it for about 8 minutes, and then added cilantro for the last two minutes. It was fantastic. The sauce was worth the extra effort.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: Raids

                                                                Sounds fabulous! One tip my husband used to do when we were cooking in a home oven: he used to pull the pizza out briefly about halfway through the bake and run a stick of butter on the crust. Just a quick pass, but a bit of the butter melts on the hot crust, and wow, it makes it really delicious! Now that our pizzas bake in 90 seconds, we don't have time for that step. ;-)

                                                                For your next party, I wanted to share one of our favorites: Pesto shrimp. Spread the pesto on the dough as your sauce. Add raw marinated shrimp. Sprinkle *lightly* with a quattro formaggio blend or Parmesan. Have a very light hand with the cheese, though--it's best when the little bit of cheese is mostly invisible and you just see the pesto and shrimp.

                                                                I think I'm going to try your Mexican pizza on Friday! It sounds amazing.

                                                                1. re: modthyrth

                                                                  Thanks I will give those a shot - both the crust tip and the shrimp & pesto.

                                                                  You must have opened a professional pizza oven? Do you own a shop or did you actually install one in your home? And can I ask what hot pads you use?

                                                                  1. re: Raids

                                                                    I built the wood-fired pizza oven in my backyard, just for personal use, using the free plans I found at fornobravo.com . I didn't have any masonry experience before I started the project, and it still turned out fabulously. Fun DIY project+love of ancient technologies (anthro and English major)+fabulous food=I was destined to make a pizza oven. ;-) There are a couple pictures in my chowhound profile, if you're interested.

                                                                    I use long metal peels for placing and turning the pizzas. I use short wooden peels to prep the pizzas. And I put the blazing hot pizzas on a large cutting board. Our service is very casual at our parties. We set the pizzas down, cut them, people dive in to grab a slice or two. Because we're never serving more than two pizzas at a time, I haven't had to get hot pads to protect the counter.

                                                                    1. re: modthyrth

                                                                      *Dies of jealousy* Wow! Just stunning.

                                                                      If I can ever afford to buy property in DC, I will get right on that! What an awesome idea.

                                                                      1. re: Raids

                                                                        After visiting Italy years ago I really was tempted to build one as well! Gonna have to look at your pictures, modthyrth.

                                                                        I'm living in an apartment here in Fort Worth but there is a bbq grill downstairs and plenty of room since I look out across lots of grass, a creek, and then a golf course. Do you think anyone would notice if I built a pizza oven next to the bbq? :))

                                                                        1. re: Barbara76137

                                                                          Go for it!!! It'll inspire other apartment dwellers like me to try to sneak a big old pizza oven into the surroundings!

                                                              2. Broccoli and garlic with olive oil and no tomato sauce on a thin or standard crust. With enough salt to make it delicious.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: guilty

                                                                  I think this is my favorite post!

                                                                2. Need some advice - I'm thinking of topping a pizza with shiitake mushrooms and arugula from this week's produce box. What else would be good here? Would you use tomato sauce? Cheese recommendations? Thanks!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Raids

                                                                    few thoughts...
                                                                    a miso glaze for the sauce, then layer with the mushrooms and maybe some onions and garlic and the arugula
                                                                    a tomato sauce base, garlic, mushrooms, arugula mozzarella, fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, etc., a little lemon zest and some shaved romano to finish
                                                                    a truffled creamy sauce for the base, mushrooms, garlic, onions, arugula, and top with a few eggs to poach on top in the last few minutes of cooking, topped with frest herbs or chives.

                                                                  2. Pesto, bufala mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, shrimp, chopped scallions, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Gotta have at least one seafood option in the mix!

                                                                    1. This is my breakfast pizza - cut a large onion in half, then slice crossways about 1/8" thick. This goes on first, then add cooked bacon, each strip cut in thirds. Then fresh mushrooms, next parmesan, and top with pepper jack cheese. I like a crust of about 65%-75% hydration, patted out to about 3/8" thick.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: oldmandan

                                                                        What kind of flour are you using with 75% hydration?

                                                                      2. you can try using a pesto as your sauce and place your fav veggies on top. I find that tomatoes and spinach w/mushrooms work really well with this.
                                                                        make an alfredo sauce, use grilled chicken, mushrooms...
                                                                        believe it or not, but BBQ pulled pork is good...
                                                                        make some twice baked potatoes, use alfredo as sauce, and put little dallups of the potatoes all over. cover with chives/cheese...