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Apr 3, 2013 06:32 PM

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 jalapeƱos, 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.