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what are your fav pizza topping combinations?

I just can't seem to get over sausage and onion. If the place has it, fried eggplant and meatballs are a wonderful thing. But then there is pepperoni. In a pinch I pair it with mushrooms, tonight, caramelized onion. What do you pair pepperoni with?

And since I have your attention - what are your fav pizza topping combos?

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  1. Pepperoni is probably my *least* favorite pizza topping.

    My all-time favorite, go-to order for good, thin-crust pizza is mushrooms, green peppers, and red onions.

    That said, there's a foccacia place I love that makes a killer pizza/foccacia with tuna, scallions, and artichokes.

    Corn, tuna & onion is pretty awesome as well. Or mushrooms, ham & spinach.

    Or the classic: fresh bufflo mozza, crushed cherry tomatoes, fresh basil.

    Or grilled vegetables: eggplant, zucchini, oyster mushrooms, peppers.

    1. Pepperoni with banana peppers. My favorite toppings are green olives and Genoa salami.

      1. Is "none" an acceptable answer? We prefer ours plain.

        43 Replies
        1. re: coll

          What is plain? No cheese? No sauce?

          1. re: c oliver

            "Plain" generally indicates a traditional Margherita.

            1. re: linguafood

              Thanks. I had no idea. Interesting. I LOVE basil but am surprised that's considered traditional.

              1. re: c oliver

                In NYC it was (and to me still is) considered traditional when I was growing up. Not fresh basil of course, more dried oregano, a cooked sauce and cheese but please, not too much.

                1. re: coll

                  Dried oregano? That's a new one for me too. I think I've been on the Left Coast too long :)

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I remember driving cross country in the early 1970s and looking for any kind of pizza or parmigiana dish, in vain.

                    1. re: coll

                      I'm guessing you'll still find that in parts of the country. San Francisco, with its strong Italian heritage, would hopefully measure up :)

                      1. re: c oliver

                        I'm sure I wouldn't have that problem now. Although my sister in San Diego claims there is still no edible pizza to be had in her town. But there IS pizza! The one place back then that I found some great pizza was a bar outside Yellowstone, no surprise turns out the owners were from NY.

                        1. re: coll

                          Ah, well, you're talking SoCal and I'm talking NorCal. More than the 500 miles separating them :)

                          1. re: c oliver

                            My friend in San Fran is always sending me pictures of what he eats, what I see is top notch; maybe someday we'll be able to actually get out there and share a meal or two. I do remember his telling me about his friend and him being on the search for the perfect pie.

                            When I'm in SD it's Mexican all the way! How could you not?

                            1. re: coll

                              Highly recommend. I'm heading down there (from Lake Tahoe) tomorrow. It always revolves around the food :)

                    2. re: c oliver

                      Back in the 80s I worked at a pizza chain called Mr. Gatti's where a generous shake of dried oregano was obligatory on all pizzas. It's not a bad touch.

                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                        Back in the 50s and 60s, oregano was the defining flavor of practically ANYTHING Italian, most especially if it had any tomatoes in the dish at all. Today it's basil. <sigh> I miss oregano in Italian restaurant food!

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          Interesting point, Caroline. I wasn't around to sample 50s and 60s Italian food in the US, but I do agree that basil is ubiquitous today, and I also generally prefer oregano to basil. Coincidentally, I just cooked a turkey breast in which fresh oregano was the prominent spice. Delicioso.

                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                            That sounds good! Can I have a taste? For the record, there is both Mexican oregano and "Mediterranean" (primarily grown and exported from Turkey). The flavors are similar but not exactly alike. I prefer the "Mediterranean" variety. Thyme is also a very "Mediterannean" spice that is not quite as "present" in a lot of modern versions of classic dishes.

                            When it comes to fresh vs dried spices, there is now a third choice! Litehouse brand freeze dried herbs can be rehydrated, then used 1 tsp = 1 tsp. It's the ONLY way I can keep anything close to fresh cilantro long enough to use it all up. I love their oregano, but they don't yet offer freeze dried thyme. You can check the choices out here:
                            and there are two more herbs shown on the second page. The freeze dried herbs are from Germany.

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              To be perfectly honest, I really don't care much for Mexican oregano, but I do occasionally use it in genuine Mexican dishes.

                              Thyme, on the other hand, I can't get enough of. It's my favorite spice.

                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                Sicilian oregano is nice, I grow tons every summer to keep around for the dark days of winter. Thyme is probably my most used, if I add it to anything my husband will ask for seconds. I also grow lemon thyme as a backup herb in my marinades.

                                1. re: coll

                                  That's funny! Here in central PA, oregano grows everywhere. It's taken over our front yard, pretty much.

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    I grow a few flavors of mint too, and have learned to contain them all in pots up on the porch!

                                2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                  When I lived in San Diego County, I used to make annual trips out into the Borrego Springs part of the dessert to gather wild sage for the coming year. That ara is p[robably paved and covered with houses by now, but back then (60s & 70s) it was open dessert paved with wild flowers! Anyway wild sage freezes beautifully and is very easy to dry: just tie in bunches and hang upside down from a high (preferably dark, dry and cool) place. There is NO store bought sage or domesticated plants/seeds that tastes as good as wild!

                                  And when I lived in Greece, freinds would give me huge bouquets of wild thyme they gathered in the mountains of the Peloponnesus. That's two wild herbs I'd pay a fortune for today!

                            2. re: Caroline1

                              Caroline1, I thought of you as I made this recipe for lasagne bolognese..... It made about 15 cups of meat sauce, and 5 cups of bechamel....made two full size pans and gave one away to a fellow school mom who broke her foot before the holidays....Anyway, not a speck of basil in it. And I normally have Mexican oregano, but one of my gifts this year was a box of Penzey's spices with Turkish oregano, which I used. I also have some Greek oregano left, but it's still on stalks, and a chore to strip and pick out the tiny stems. We're eating our pan tonight. I really liked the flavor of the meat sauce, very tasty.


                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                Are there actual recipes that call for basil in bolognese? I don't see how that would work well.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  Oh I have no idea. Just the copious amounts of oregano & thyme reminded me of Caroline's post.

                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                    D...olives, I'm pretty sure you already know this, but it might help some who don't, the trick to getting oregano off the stalk with as little stem as possilbe is to hold it by the end of the stalk, then hold your thumb and two fingers around the stalk and "pull" your fingers from tip of stalk to cut end. The oregano leaves separate easily. Curiously, it's sometimes a little easier with dried than with fresh, which tends to fight being plucked a little more.

                                    It feels soooooooo good to know there are still real live people living on this planet who do NOT think that a cup or two of basil chiffonade can turn even tennis shoes into an Italian delicacy! There is hope!!! '-)_

                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                      LOL! So true!

                                      Yes these are dried stalks from Greece..... They were sold in a long plastic bag, and just getting them separated is a challenge, they are all sort of jumbled together at the blossom ends, if you know what I mean. So a lot of times, I just rub some stems together, in the bag to release the leaves & blossoms. And then shake them down to the bottom of the bag, then pour them out along the crease, it works okay, but I still get a stray stem in there from time to time. But it's very nice oregano, and quite different from the Mexican variety.

                                      But the combo of the thyme & rosemary in this sauce is wonderful.

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        I grow oregano and have no problem picking the leaves off the stems. I (and probably everyone else!) use that technique for thyme.

                                    2. re: linguafood

                                      I make Hazan's Bolognese and it doesn't have anything except nutmeg.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        This bolognese only puts nutmeg in the bechamel..... The red meat sauce has thyme, oregano & rosemary. It's delicious.

                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives


                                          "The many variations tend to be based on a common theme.
                                          For instance, garlic is absent from all of the recipes referenced above, as are herbs other than a parsimonious use of bay leaves by some. Seasoning is limited to salt, pepper and the occasional pinch of nutmeg. In all of the recipes meats dominate as the principal ingredient, while tomatoes, in one form or another, are only an auxiliary ingredient."

                                          I've no doubt that it tastes good but leave it to FN to not even pay lip service to a "true" Bolognese. Granted, there are many variations but the quote above kinda gives the basics. What FN did was a really good "meat and tomato sauce" but not Bolognese.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            I find thyme to be a given in Bolognese. At least for me! There is no sacred recipe out there, as is true in most Italian dishes.

                                            1. re: coll

                                              Perhaps in many Italian and certainly in Italian-American dishes but it appears from all I've read that the Italians take their Bolognese sauce quite seriously.


                                              One can call something whatever one wishes but it doesn't make it so. I don't make this stuff up :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                And you've spent extensive time in Bologna too, I imagine. Please share!

                                                Do you notice they call for skirt steak and pancetta, not "chop meat"? Oops I mean ground beef ;-)

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  My only point is that there kinda/sorta is a basic recipe. And it doesn't include a lot of tomatoes or herbs. That was my only point.

                                            2. re: c oliver

                                              If you look at the recipe though, it is not for "Bolognese Sauce". It's for a Lasagne Bolognese, which to me means, we are riffing on a classic bolognese sauce, to make a bolognese style lasagne......

                            3. re: c oliver

                              Red, white and green, in honor of the queen Margherita.

                              1. re: rasputina

                                But rather... what? A disc of dough with nothing on it?

                              2. re: linguafood

                                when saying plain, i assume red sauce and melted shredded mozz.
                                a traditional margherita i always thought of as red sauce, fresh sliced mozz and fresh basil leaves.

                                1. re: pie22

                                  Plain: I think of old fashioned style, pizza sauce and grated cheese; no fresh basil. AKA "regular" as opposed to "Sicilian". Guess I'm showing my age!

                                  1. re: coll

                                    and that you're a New Yorker...
                                    No basil on a regular NY style slice. A Margherita is a different pie.

                                    I like plain pies too, and sometimes with mushrooms on a few slices, but only if the mushrooms are fresh, not canned.

                                  2. re: pie22

                                    What my Pennsylvania wife calls a "plain" pizza, we Texans call a "cheese" pizza. It's just crust, sauce and cheese.

                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                      And we just call it a plain pie. Which can be confusing if you didn't grow up with it, I'm sure.

                            4. Sausage (preferably LOOSE sausage) and mushrooms.

                              When I was in Scotland 15 years ago, I saw pizza topped with corn and tuna. I'm from the Trenton area of Jersey. Pizza is like a religion there, and I was looking at pure heresy. I still shudder at the thought.

                              I will admit that an ex introduced me to pepperoni and pineapple, and it was strangely compelling. But the pizza it was topping was rather "meh" - if it had been GOOD pizza, I wouldn't have liked it so much, if that makes any sense?

                              23 Replies
                              1. re: Heatherb

                                Yes, the corn and tuna thing (either individually or together) is very popular in Germany as well (I spend a lot of time there). I can't think of anything worse on a pizza, but to each his own, I guess.

                                1. re: biondanonima

                                  "I can't think of anything worse on a pizza, but to each his own, I guess."

                                  Really? Hm. I definitely can... how about bananas, pineapple or other fruit (fruit have no place on pizza -- at least with tuna and corn we're sticking to 'protein' and vegetable categories); that revolting, flavorless pasty stuff called "Italian sausage" in most delivery pizza places (ditto for the "pepperoni" -- at least use decent quality salami), a lb. of cheese w/extra cheese, mayonnaise (as popular in Japan) etc. etc.

                                  But yeah. Different strokes, different slices.

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    Interesting. The most popular pizzas in Mexico are pepperoni, and ham with pineapple. But tastes are evolving.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      Pray-tell -- is the ham & pineapple combo called pizza Hawai'i?

                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        Hawaii is relatively unheard of in Mexico. I should add that the ham/pineapple often includes jalapenos. I'll fess up I eat it when I'm there as a passable option when I'm on the fly. Nearly every pizza place there is by-the-slice walk up.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          I can groove to the jalapeños, but not the pineapple.

                                          1. re: linguafood

                                            I can tolerate pineapple, but don't swing that direction on purpose. And the corn on pizza was never a good thing to me. I encountered it endlessly in the Czech Republic. But, as with many things, I just go with "if you don't like it, don't eat it". Keeps life easy.

                                            1. re: linguafood

                                              I don't mind the pineapple. Heck, one of our favorite pizzas is pear with blue cheese and nuts (among other things). Although I was the teenager putting M & Ms on her Pizza Hut take-out at high school parties. Started as a dare but tastes pretty good.

                                              1. re: melpy

                                                Oh, wow. Pear, blue cheese & nuts.

                                                So there *is* worse than pineapple and/or bananas :-D

                                                1. re: melpy

                                                  Pear, blue cheese and nuts are instead of the tomato sauce and mozzie, right?

                                                  1. re: EM23

                                                    Yes, here is a pic of an individual one we did a while back.

                                              2. re: Veggo

                                                Are the Mexicans wont to put habs on pizza? As I think about it, I don't think I've ever seen habaneros on a pizza. An opportunity heretofore missed, I dare say.

                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                  Mexicans in the Yucatan where habaneros are most popular, use them principally to make habanero sauce which is served in small dishes either automatically or immediately on request. As I'm served any breakfast egg dish when the sun is rising and it's getting hot, I still can't resist that sauce. Shortly later I sweat like a gringo lawn sprinkler. I love it. Later in the day, I add it to ceviche.

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    Sounds delish alright.

                                                    You've never seen any exotic chiles on pizza, though, when down Mexico way?

                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                      Unfortunately not. The BEST surprise chile item I ever had in MX was the third of 3 to-go tacos I bought on 307, just north of the Vallodolid turnoff, the first 2 being chicken and pork. But the third was 2 cheese-filled, battered and fried jalapenos, in a fresh tortilla, with pico de gallo and avocado. It was so good I was temped to go back for more, but I was already 20 KM down the road.

                                          2. re: linguafood

                                            I'm not a banana fan, but I'd take that over corn on a pizza any day. I really dislike corn in general, though, so I admit there is some bias on my part. :) Tuna isn't actually so bad, although I don't love it with tomato sauce - I prefer a white sauce on a tuna pizza, on the rare occasion that I choose to eat one.

                                            1. re: biondanonima

                                              I'm not a banana fan, either (ok, maybe in sundaes), but love corn. That might just be the salient point here...

                                            2. re: linguafood

                                              When I was growing up, one of my brothers claimed to hate pizza except for the ham and pineapple kind, so that's pretty much all we had. I don't mind it, but was very glad when I left home for college and could order whatever I wanted on my pizza.

                                              1. re: Isolda

                                                Too bad they could have ordered half plain. Just because my sister refused to eat sauce on a pizza didn't mean the rest of us had to suffer.

                                            3. re: biondanonima

                                              "I can't think of anything worse on a pizza"

                                              Takoyaki pizza. Kimchi beef pizza. Red bean dessert pizza. Surf and Turf. French style seafood.

                                              [Actual examples from Pizza Hut in Taipei]

                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                That red bean dessert pizza actually sounds pretty good. I might have to make that sometime.

                                              2. re: biondanonima

                                                Corn and tuna on pizza sounds very Japanese to me, along with mayonnaise and potatoes. Even Tater Tots on some Japanese pizzas! Here's a fun commentary:

                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                  Yes, you haven't lived until you hear someone say
                                                  "I'll have a corn and squid pizza, and a bottle of Sweat!"

                                            4. First and foremost, a warm slice of plain, unadulterated pizza is the finest thing. The first one from the pie is never the perfect one. It's the second one that has cooled and congealed just right that is where Nirvana can be found.

                                              As to toppings, I'd say that there are places that make their own sausage here in NJ that I would recommend, but otherwise, salami or pepperoni are my go to's. I have, however, had some well made anchovy pies with a bit of garlic that were fantastic. Oh, and clams, when done properly, are also good eats.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                I've never had salami on pizza, but would gladly take it if it were good salami like the kind you mention.

                                              2. I grew up on pizza topped with black olives and mushrooms and its still my favorite, but I rarely eat it since no one else seems to like it! Also like mushrooms or artichoke and prosciutto. And if the mushrooms are canned that's fine with me!

                                                13 Replies
                                                1. re: WhatsEatingYou

                                                  I think it's the black olives that put people off. A lot of people don't seem to like them. I love them, and I just don't understand it. However, I rarely cook with them or keep them on hand, because of other folks' antipathy.

                                                  1. re: Heatherb

                                                    I'm not crazy about black olives. I would, however, be interested in trying kalamatas on a pizza.

                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                      Honestly? I'd cheerfully eat ANY olives on pizza. They're not my first "go-to" as a choice for pizza topping, but they're always a good pairing for it. IMHO :)

                                                  2. re: WhatsEatingYou

                                                    Where did you grow up? Canned mushrooms and black olives has always been my favorite "traditional" pizza topping combination. When the W brothers go to Caserta Pizzeria in Providence, we always get mushrooms and olives, no cheese (cheese is an optional topping at Caserta).

                                                    Now I also like banana peppers, green olives, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes....love anchovies too!

                                                    And when in NY, the brussel sprouts pizza at Motorino is awesome.

                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                      Grew up in Maryland, but I think the black olive/mushroom combo became a favorite as its what my parents also like. I also love banana peppers!
                                                      I'm close to nyc will have to try Motorino's brussel sprout pizza, thanks for the suggestion!

                                                      1. re: WhatsEatingYou

                                                        Motorino's crust is awesome! A really nice chew, like the best NYC bagels. Maybe it IS the water! LOL

                                                      2. re: Bob W

                                                        PS, I forgot capers! My dad taught me to put capers on pizza in the mid-60s.

                                                      3. re: WhatsEatingYou

                                                        It is my favorite as well! It's tasty, every place has those toppings, and they don't make pizza soggy.

                                                        1. re: WhatsEatingYou

                                                          i love canned mushrooms, in fact ::gasp:: i prefer them canned on pizza! or sauteed till they achieve a similar texture.

                                                          love black olives and red onion too.

                                                          1. re: pie22

                                                            I've found the cans a bit difficult to digest. But I don't disagree with you. There's nothing wrong with canned shrooms on a pie, particularly if they've been sauteed to the point where they're a bit crispy around the edges.

                                                            1. re: pie22

                                                              Having pizza tonight. Bought one from the fridge case because it was on sale, never had one before. Using bacon I made for clubs sandwiches, canned mushrooms, onion, maybe some olives. Whatever I can find that goes well on a plain sauce and cheese pizza.

                                                              1. re: pie22

                                                                Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone! Fresh mushrooms are great but on pizza they just don't work for me. I grew up on Italian sausage/canned mushroom pizza and those are my favorite toppings. This is the only use I have for canned mushrooms.

                                                                Note: this applies to traditional thin crust red sauce pizza. "Artisanal" pizza needs fresh mushrooms.

                                                              2. re: WhatsEatingYou

                                                                I love black olives and mushrooms too. My go-to is sausage, black olives, mushrooms, and extra cheese.

                                                              3. Decent tomatoes or decent tomato sauce. Fresh mozzarella. Fresh basil. Maybe grated parmesan or pecorino. That's real pizza. That's the greatest pizza in the world, and the original. With a couple exceptions, anything else is some kind of an Italian-American moon-pie fat bomb. People in Naples mostly are skinny. People in America mostly are porkers. Why is that?

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. I like white pizza with spinach, ricotta, and fresh tomato (as eaten for lunch yesterday)

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: BeeZee

                                                                    Yum. I've never had that. Sounds really good.

                                                                  2. Thin crust (not artisanal), lots of sauce, a modest amount of mozzarella and provelone, lots of salami and garlic, cooked to a slight char.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                      Thin crust AND lots of sauce? Seems like that combo would end up with a mushy pizza.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        Somehow, it does not. Now, when I say lots of sauce, I don't mean a half inch of the stuff standing on the surface of the crust. I just mean something substantially more than a scarlet patina.

                                                                    2. Pepperoni and anchovy is my default guilty pleasure when I'm craving a salt bomb. I'll take prosciutto and arugula when I see them on a menu.

                                                                      I've also been started to warm up to pickles on pizza. It started with the classic combination of sausage and giardiniera on a Chicago pie, but the novel Polish pizza at Manhattan's L'asso with kielbasa, dill pickles and mustard is surprisingly delicious.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                                        Sh*t, my Polish palate, honed here in the "Pizza Belt", never considered the idea of a kielbasa pizza. I will make one on the grill as soon as the weather breaks and toast you, JungMann, with a shot of tequila, before my first bite. BrillianT idea!

                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                          Dude, have you ever had a mustard pie? I know a couple places in the Trenton area serve them, but I was always too disturbed by the idea to try them.

                                                                      2. Prosciutto and arugula will usually be what I go for in a restaurant. If I know the place I'm dining serves a pie with a thicker crust, I might go for chicken, bacon, and spinach. For making my own, I've recently discovered peppered salami. And I love a good classic Margherita.

                                                                        1. Garlic, mushrooms, jalapenos and extra cheese!

                                                                          1. I like most of the standard toppings including anchovies. OK don't laugh but one night years ago when wifie was gone my son and I took a frozen pizza out of the freezer and thin sliced - wait for it - SPAM laid it on the pizza and oven baked it, it was good! probably this would be popular in Hawaii where Spam is poipular.haha

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: malibumike

                                                                              A coupla years ago, I fried some slices of Spam and used them to stuff a calzone. Never made a pizza with it, but it's kinda the same idea, no? Your comments, however, made me want to make a scrapple pizza. Anyone else think that's not gross? Maybe scrapple, anchovies, and fresh garlic would be the right concept?*

                                                                              *No, I'm not pregnant. Hell, I'm not even a girl. But, it sounds like it, doesn't it?

                                                                              1. re: malibumike

                                                                                I like getting a standard margarita and then adding tinned sardines.
                                                                                I then put sweet chili sauce on top.
                                                                                So I wouldn't feel too bad about the spam thing.

                                                                              2. Mushrooms and olives.

                                                                                Tuna, caramelized red onions, and olives.

                                                                                1. Go to pizza: Black olive - mushroom - pepperoni - mozzarella.

                                                                                  Best pizza in my life: In Venice .. tomato sauce - fresh mozzarella - fresh basil.

                                                                                  1. Onion, mushroom, black olives - I'm a happy eater with just those.

                                                                                    1. Sausage, onions, mushrooms, jalapenos and fresh diced tomatoes.

                                                                                      Nice to haves - bacon and artichokes

                                                                                      1. Plain...sauce, mozz, fresh basil. But when feeling adventurous, fried eggplan or black olives.

                                                                                        1. Sausage, mushrooms & black olives.

                                                                                          1. Pepe's in New Haven for a white clam pie. Fresh Rhode Island clams, garlic, olive oil.

                                                                                            1. Pepperoni, GREEN olives and caramelized onions. I don't know why so few pizza places carry green olives but they are a divine combination with sweet onions and spicy pepperoni. I also really love banana peppers, but DH doesn't, so I rarely get them.

                                                                                              I make a delicious sausage and shredded Brussels sprout pizza at home as well, but that's not a combo you're likely to find in a shop.

                                                                                              1. is there anything that isn't good on a pizza, LOL!

                                                                                                my top, "go to" anytime favorite combos are:

                                                                                                caramelized onions, spinach and mushroom

                                                                                                artichoke hearts, sausage and ricotta

                                                                                                a simple margarita-thin layer sauce, fresh basil, fresh mozz.

                                                                                                There are plenty of other combos I LOVE but those are the ones I make on an almost weekly basis.

                                                                                                1. I like mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil, no sauce. If I'm doing a sauce, I like adding anchovies to the list.

                                                                                                  1. Ground beef and bacon - preferably on a nice thin, crispy crust.

                                                                                                    1. Our fave Italian-based restaurant can top a pizza with a runny egg. Put right in the middle of the pie and then cut up. Traditional, I'm sure not but quite scrumptious.

                                                                                                      No pineapple. No ham. Yes to bulk Italian sausage. And on and on.

                                                                                                      1. I start pretty plain:

                                                                                                        Extra red sauce
                                                                                                        Extra cheese

                                                                                                        Then, work up:

                                                                                                        Artichoke hearts
                                                                                                        Sun-dried tomatoes
                                                                                                        Green olives


                                                                                                        1. I love mushroom pizza, so when I am making my own, I like to use a combination of white mushrooms, crimini, and portobella. It gives the pizza such a deep rich flavor. Sometimes I like to kick it up with some sauteed mushrooms added as well.

                                                                                                          1. My favorite is a whole wheat crust topped with red sauce (I use Sauces n Love tomato basil or marinara), small pieces of smoked mozzarella, steamed broccoli and walnuts. I sprinkle a little bit of grated parm on the broccoli to keep it from burning and bake.

                                                                                                            My second favorite is caramelized onions, fennel seed, dried mission figs and goat cheese.

                                                                                                            1. White sauce, spinach (cooked), garlic and a variety of olives. I can't get enough. Also, there's a frozen pizza from Target (don't judge) that is incredible. Goat cheese and sun dried tomato with spinach.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Jaeie

                                                                                                                I had an amazing mushroom and goat cheese pizza on a cruise. I feel your don't judge me.

                                                                                                              2. Homemade crust to start. Then a good tomato sauce, a combination of grated Italian cheeses, sliced green peppers, thinly sliced onion, sauteed mushroom slices, pepperoni, sliced cured black olives, sprinkled with Italian herbs, fresh basil in summer and some crushed red pepper, and then a sprinkle of evoo. Some times if I have it, cooked Italian sausage or Chourico iinstead of pepperoni. I try not to overdo any of the toppings because I hate a soggy pizza. Also I sprinkle the cheese on after the tomato sauce and before the other toppings because I like the veggies to brown slightly in the hot oven.

                                                                                                                1. One of the local places makes a chicken marsala pizza that my husband and son enjoy once in a while. I've tried duplicating it but they both prefer the local guys over mine.

                                                                                                                  I'm a veggie pizza lover. light on the cheese. big on the thin crust char.

                                                                                                                  In the summer I'll make a white clam sauce pie.

                                                                                                                  And the occasional buffalo chicken pizza can be interesting...if blue cheese is added.

                                                                                                                  1. Our household favorite :

                                                                                                                    Top dough with olive oil, sprinkle on good helping of mozzarella, cover with a layer of de-stemmed grape leaves soaked in water. Top with sliced tomatoes, blanched pea pods, ricotta, canned mushrooms (fresh don't seem as good for this dish) black olives, sprinkle of garlic and Italian herbs. We vary the meats each time, sometimes pepperoni--others browned Italian sausage.

                                                                                                                    1. A tough question with so many variables. Home-made or not, freshness of ingredients, expertise of the pizzaiolo, how hungry/inebriated/stoned at the time, and most important (to me, anyway) is the quality of the crust.

                                                                                                                      90% of the pizza I eat, I make myself and I make a superior crust. My benchmark for perfect pizza is, like many others, the first one I ever ate. That would have been around 1954 at the Union Hotel in Whitehouse Station NJ and made by the teenage son of the German proprietor. Strange but true. Wonderful thin crust, slightly charred, a scant painting of simple sauce, and a light hand with just the right amount of high quality mozz. So "delicate", groups of 4 would often split one for an appetizer.

                                                                                                                      If it were up to me, that's the way my family would eat pizza. However, they prefer something a bit more substantial so I try and accomodate. The most popular toppings are:
                                                                                                                      Pepperoni - I use Molinari, sliced thin, and cooked on top until it "cups" with a small puddle of "nectar" in each slice.
                                                                                                                      Mushrooms - sliced fresh and sauteed until they give up most of their moisture and become slightly browned.
                                                                                                                      Sausage - Sweet with fennel, sliced thin.
                                                                                                                      Onion - Carmelized. Vidalias when in season.
                                                                                                                      For the family, I also use a more liberal dose of sauce and cheese.

                                                                                                                      On occasion, I make a white pizza with Red Bliss potatoes, mozz, parm, and a bit of Rosemary. A big hit with everyone is a white version with mozz, spinach, bacon, garlic, and parm with a nod to Cap's Pizza in Vero Beach FL.

                                                                                                                      On those rare occasions when I'm eating pizza out, I'm more apt to try some weird (to me) toppings. I even had a Hawaiian one time!

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                        oh my grampart, you had me at, 90% of the pizza I eat, I make myself ...lovely!

                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                          If you move to Florida after living the first 30+ years of your life in NJ, you just HAVE to learn to make your own! I dug up a couple of old photos to show off a little.

                                                                                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                            Bravo, grampart! Now I'm hungry!

                                                                                                                      2. number one favorite bbq chicken pizza. BBQ sauce, chicken pieces, cheese, cilantro ( the chicken is optional, it's just as good without it)

                                                                                                                        Sausage and wild mushrooms sautéed in butter with fresh sage

                                                                                                                        pepperoni and pineapple

                                                                                                                        tomato, basil and cheese

                                                                                                                        deep dish topped with fresh motz that was marinated in oil and herbs, diced tomato and rolled up prosciutto sliced, salt and pepper

                                                                                                                        Those are what I usually make

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                          Now, though going back some many years, I enjoyed several BBQ Chicken pizzas. I cannot remember the purveyor of those pies (had to be early in Denver, or late in NOLA), but they WERE good.

                                                                                                                          We do a Pulled Pork Pizza, with only cheese (atop and toasted), plus herbs, that we enjoy.

                                                                                                                          Now, I am a big fan of a crisp, thin crust. I love it, when the lower section of the crust "bubbles up," sort of like a Saltine cracker. I have just never warmed to a thick crust, but many would have it no other way.


                                                                                                                        2. White clam sauce, bacon and mozzarella and pec Romano.

                                                                                                                            1. Pesto, shrimp, sliced tomato, scallions and fontina. And some red pepper flakes.

                                                                                                                              1. Two faves on thin homemade crust:
                                                                                                                                --light marinara sauce with shaved ham, marinated artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella
                                                                                                                                --pesto, fresh asparagus, parmesan, pine nuts, fresh mozzarella, and two minutes before it finishes cooking at 500 degrees, I drop an egg onto the center so it's runny. Amazing!!

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: MCMcLean

                                                                                                                                  A runny egg on a thin crust pizza is one of the great surprises in life :)

                                                                                                                                2. I am not a vegetarian but I am a veggie fiend, my husband on the other hand is a meat lover all the way! My favourite pizza is lots of mushrooms, olives, green peppers, hot peppers, sun dried tomatoes (this is everything my husband won’t touch with a 10 foot pole!) with extra sauce and thin crust.

                                                                                                                                  1. Jalepenos & pineapple, pear & Gorgonzola, or a simple margharita.

                                                                                                                                    1. Spicy sausage, mushrooms and green peppers. But my all time fave pizza is Mellow Mushroom Bayou Bleu which is Spicy bleu cheese base topped with all natural grilled shrimp and Andouille sausage covered in mozzarella cheese and garnished with chives

                                                                                                                                      1. Any kind of mushrooms, bufala mozzarella, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes. Not all together necessarily, those are just my favorite. Give me a good cheese and sauce and that is really all I need though.

                                                                                                                                        1. I wanted to add that if I have to have meat, it would be prosciutto. I don't like artsy pizza with fruit or blue cheese. Simple is my fav.

                                                                                                                                          1. Margarita Pizza plain and simply delicious

                                                                                                                                            1. When I ate pizza at Sorbillo, in Naples, I realized that great pizza needs no toppings but tomato sauce and cheese; I went for the fresh buffalo mozzarella once, but it exuded too much liquid.

                                                                                                                                              Here, I have a friend with a pizza oven. Her combos are unusual and always excellent. One secret is not too heavy a hand with the toppings.

                                                                                                                                              I often bring along my jar of salt-packed anchovies from Sicily. A few fillets draped on the pizza AFTER it is cooked is fabulous. It's a crime to cook anchovies on top of a pizza.

                                                                                                                                              1. Had a day-after-Christmas Christmas (when one of your kids gets a divorce and lives 600 miles away, it changes things!), and one day for lunch my 10 year old grandson wanted pizza. DELIVERY pizza! Well, I can't stand Papa John's because their sauce is just toooooo sweet for me, so we compromised on Domino's. I think the last time I had Domino's Pizza was about a gazillion or two years ago and it was baaaaaddd... It has changed! So I ordered a bunch of medium pizzas, mostly pepperoni, but for me I ordered one they described as this:

                                                                                                                                                "Whole: No Robust Inspired Tomato Sauce, Double Feta Cheese, Double Shredded Parmesan, Double Spinach, White Sauce"

                                                                                                                                                It was on a "pan" crust. I do NOT want to know the calorie count NOR the fat content, but damn, it was GOOD! Maybe I'll order another next Christmas...??? Hey, once a year couldn't hurt, right? '-)

                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                  Papa John's is ghastly stuff. Quite possibly the worst pizza I've ever eaten. I have no brief with Domino's. It's acceptable.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                    The first pizza I ever had was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the '50s at an "offshoot" of the primary Italian restaurant, but that only offered their pizza menu. It was called "Pernicano's" in San Diego, the kitchen and the oven were open to the restaurant so you got to watch. The pizzas were guaranteed "hand tossed" because the cooks used to have contests on who could toss their dough highest, PREFERABLY without hitting the 12' ceiling. By 9 or 10 at night, the ceiling was plastered with pizza dough! They offered only two kinds of pizza... cheese or pepperoni over their fabulous sauce. And if you DID NOT want anchovies, which were standard on any pizza, you had to request that they hold off on them.

                                                                                                                                                    Today, every once in a while I find an Italian restaurant that does brick oven hand tossed cheese pizza with anchovies, and if it's really good, then it DEMANDS a big pitcher of bock beer! I hate beer -- gives me a nasty headache the minute I stop drinking it, 1 sip or 5 beers, but with cheese and anchovy hand tossed pizza, bock beer is well worth the headache! Yeast and yeast: An incredible flavor affinity!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                      Hmmm. Pernacio's sounds like a great place. If you check eBay regularly, you may be able to find some Pernaciana.

                                                                                                                                                      There's a chain Pizza joint called Shakey's--perhaps you've patronized one. They also do hand-tossed pie, and kiddos (or adults) can watch the tossing before the pies are cooked. Shakey's also makes some fried potato rounds called Mojos. They are murder. Absolute murder. Alas, Shakey's seems to be slowly vanishing from the globe.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                        Shakey's is west coast (primarily California), Hawaii, Mexico, and ONE in Alabama! I'd forgotten about them.... "Out of sight, out of mind." But then I'm not a really big pizza fan any more simply because it's difficult to find a pizza sauce I like, and if I make my own, I don't want to dump it on bread dough!

                                                                                                                                                        Well, I have been known to occasionally dump it on pita bread and make personal pan pizzas at home... But that requires heating the pita bread the way they do it in souvlaki joints in Greece: deep fry it in olive oil! '-)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                          Shakey's locations are all over Tokyo.

                                                                                                                                                2. Supreme. Basic and awesome.

                                                                                                                                                  1. My 2 favorite pizzas are;
                                                                                                                                                    white with clams and garlic
                                                                                                                                                    Sicilian with sausage and hot peppers

                                                                                                                                                    1. Pepperoni At least a good solid spicy pepperoni stands alone. If held down and tied you cam up some peppers on it

                                                                                                                                                      1. One of the best topping combination I've ever had was thin slices of lemon (skin and all) and ricotta at Arizmendi Bakery in SF over a decade ago.

                                                                                                                                                        The other super memorable topping was a basic magherita in Naples - superb mozzarella di buffala.