Lately we’ve been making pizzas at home every weekend and we’ve been using our trusty homemade pizza dough recipe along with our standard pizza sauce (though we’ve been known to cheat and purchase prepared pizza dough from Trader Joe’s on occasion; hey, at about a dollar a pop you can’t go wrong). Next to good dough and the appropriate pizza sauce (yes, there’s a difference between tomato sauce and pizza sauce), good toppings can make or break a pizza.
The type of cheese used on pizza can also affect quality; that is to say, your best bet is to find fresh whole milk mozzarella and while buffalo mozzarella imported from Italy will make a devine pizza it’s unnecessary. If you can avoid buying “supermarket” mozzarella it will be in your best interest. Finally, you can always add grated Parmiggiano Reggiano to any pizza either before or after it’s finished cooking.
OK, let’s get to our favorite pizza toppings which aren’t meant to encompass all possible combinations of pizza toppings rather what we’ve found to go well together and are often found in many good pizzerias throughout southern and northern Italy:
- Sauteed mushrooms with parsley and garlic, fresh whole milk mozzarella, and sauce
- Sauteed onions, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, whole milk mozzarella, and sauce
- Crumbled sausage with sauteed mushrooms, fresh whole milk mozzarella, and sauce
- Oil cured anchovies, fresh whole milk mozzarella, and (extra) sauce
- Chopped green or black olives, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded San Marzano tomatoes, anchovies, dried oregano, and (extra) extra virgin olive oil
- Thinly sliced potatoes, oil cured anchovies, artichoke hearts, grated Pecorino, (extra) extra virgin olive oil
- Thinly sliced figs, artichoke hearts, fennel, Proscuitto di Parma, Gorgonzola and (extra) extra virgin olive oil
- Sauteed eggplant, fresh whole milk mozzarella, sauce, and basil
- Thinly sliced artichoke hearts, sauteed mushroom, roasted red peppers, roasted or sauteed eggplant, fresh whole milk mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, and basil
- Quattro formaggi (four cheeses including fresh whole milk mozzarella, Gorgonzola, and two other favorite cheeses <we use shredded provola, and lots of grated Parmigiano Reggiano) and sauce
- Margherita (including sauce, fresh whole milk or buffalo mozzarella, basil and/or dried oregano, and plenty of extra virgin olive oil)
- Quattro stagioni (usually artichoke hearts, fresh whole milk mozzarella, sauce, ham and black olives which are divided, not combined, on the pizza)
Pizza toppings in the United States vary from what you would typically find in Italy. If you’re grabbing a quick pizza for lunch in Italy you’d most likely order a simple Margherita, though if you’re planning to head for a late dinner with friends you’d most likely order a pizza with various toppings such as a quattro formaggi or quattro stagioni (usually artichoke hearts, fresh whole milk mozzarella, sauce, ham and black olives which are divided, not combined, on the pizza).
What’s your favorite pizza topping and why?