- PMQ revisits some of the best pizza recipes offered by pizzeria owners and chains for an article in our June-July 2016 issue.
- Take inspiration from our master pizzaioli and create a new signature pizza of your own!
When you’re looking to uncover the culinary secrets of master pizza makers, it helps to employ a vast network of spies in strategic, far-flung locations. Here at PMQ, we don’t have that kind of budget, so we tried a different tactic—we just reached out to our favorite pizzaioli and asked. Turns out they were happy to help. (You gotta love pizza people!) From simple yet scrumptious dessert pies to complex and multilayered artisanal showpieces, these recipes, submitted by PMQ readers from coast to coast, are customer-tested and proven to sell. Try them out in your kitchen, add your own little tweaks and special touches, and let us know how they worked for you!
1. Insalata Pizza – Antico Forno, Boston
- 1 lb. pizza dough at room temperature
- 4 c. baby arugula
- 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ c. cucumber, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ lb. smoked mozzarella, sliced
- ¼ lb. sweet capicola, sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Flour for dusting
Preheat oven to 450°F. Dust the prep surface with flour and press and stretch pizza dough evenly to 15” diameter. Brush a perforated pizza pan with 1 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil and place pizza dough on the pan. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add smoked mozzarella evenly on pizza. Bake pizza for about 15 minutes, until the underside is golden-brown and cheese is melted.
Remove pizza from oven and top evenly with sliced capicola.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss arugula, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes and add remaining olive oil,
balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Slice the pizza and add the tossed arugula salad on top.
2. Smores Dessert Pizza – Fox’s Pizza Den, Waxhaw, NC
- 7-oz. dough ball
- Flour for stretching dough
- 3.25-oz. instant chocolate pudding cup
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- 1.15 oz. graham crackers (about 2 crackers), broken up
- ½ c. mini-marshmallows
- Chocolate syrup (for drizzling)
- Icing (for drizzling)
Stretch out the dough ball to 9” using flour (do not use cornmeal). Spread the chocolate pudding all over the crust. Sprinkle a very light coating of cinnamon on top. Lay down graham cracker pieces and place marshmallows on top. Bake at 450°F for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the bottom of dough and top of marshmallows are golden-brown. Drizzle chocolate syrup and icing on top after slicing.
3. Popper Pizza – Greathouse of Pizza, Casey, IL
- 10 oz. dough
- 5 oz. pizza sauce
- 2 whole, fresh jalapeño peppers, sliced into rings and seeded
- 4 to 5 slices hickory-smoked bacon, about ¾ cooked and cut into ½” pieces
- 14 oz. mild cheddar cheese (may substitute Monterey Jack, Colby Jack or Cheddar Jack), shredded
- 5 oz. cream cheese
- Fresh parsley (as garnish)
Stretch dough out to 14” Chicago-style thin crust. Spread pizza sauce over the dough. Add cream cheese evenly over the sauce by pinching it off into nickel-size nuggets (like placing raw sausage on a pizza). Spread cheddar cheese evenly over the pizza. Place jalapeño rings evenly on top of the cheddar cheese. Place bacon evenly over the pizza. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, crust is golden-brown and bacon is crispy. Garnish with fresh parsley. Bake at 525°F for 8 to 12 minutes, until the bottom turns golden-brown and the edges start to curl up. (Variation: Use barbecue sauce instead of pizza sauce, add pulled pork and garnish with cilantro.)
4. Gene’s Original – Maxim’s Pizza, Food & Catering, Mentor, OH
- Pizza dough
- Olive oil
- 3 c. marinated artichoke salad
- 3 c. roasted red peppers, chopped
- 2 c. Italian bulk sausage
- Mozzarella/provolone blend, shredded
- 1 tbsp. granulated garlic
- 1 tbsp. basil
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. black pepper
Stretch dough on a 12”-by-16” square baking pan (2” deep). Brush olive oil on top of the dough as your base, just enough to coat. Top with marinated artichoke salad and chopped roasted red peppers. Pinch Italian sausage evenly over the whole pizza. Finish with the cheese blend, garlic, basil, oregano and black pepper. Bake at 450°F for about 12 to 15 minutes.
5. The Cooper Pizza – MOD Pizza, Bellevue, WA
- Pizza dough
- 1 oz. pizza sauce
- 2 oz. mozzarella
- 1 oz. ricotta
- 1 oz. mild Italian sausage
- 1 oz. roasted red pepper
- 5 red onion rings
- 1 pinch chopped basil
- 2 oz. roasted asparagus
- 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. sea salt
Roasting the Asparagus
Preheat oven to 550°F. Cut asparagus into quarters, roughly 1” to 1½” in length. Place in a roasting pan and mix with olive oil and salt. Cook in preheated oven for 5 to 10 minutes on the middle rack until the asparagus gains color and softness and an al dente texture. Once cooked, spread asparagus onto a pan and place in refrigerator to cool.
Building The Cooper
Place pizza crust on pizza peel or cookie sheet. Place sauce on the center of crust and spread evenly across the crust to roughly ½” from the edge. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly across the pizza. Scoop a good-sized ball of ricotta cheese and tear it into smaller pieces, then lay the pieces around the pizza randomly. Add the sausage, red onions and roasted red peppers, dispersing evenly across the pizza. Place the asparagus on top of pizza. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes at 550°F, or until the crust is cooked and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with a pinch of basil and sea salt to finish.
6. Pistachio Pizza – Pangea Kitchen, Evansville, IN
- Pizza dough
- 1 oz. pistachio paste
- 5 oz. pork sausage
- 5 oz. mozzarella
- 1 oz. spicy honey
- Fresh basil leaves
- Pistachio Paste
- 8.8 oz. roasted and salted pistachios, shelled
- ½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
To make the pistachio paste, place the roasted pistachios and olive oil in a Robo Coupe and grind until a paste is created.
Stretch the pizza dough in the Neapolitan style to 10” or 11”. Drizzle the skin with pistachio paste as a base. Top with basil leaves, pork sausage and mozzarella. Bake in wood-fired oven at 900°F for 60 seconds or in a traditional oven at 500°F for 8 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with spicy honey. Slice and serve.
7. Brie, Prosciutto & Red Grape Pizza – Pi Infinite Combinations, Fernandina Beach, FL
- 27-oz. dough ball
- 16 oz. whole-milk mozzarella
- 3 oz. feta
- 2 oz. garlic
- 1 large pinch oregano
- 1 large pinch fresh-ground black pepper
- Fresh rosemary leaves
- 8 slices Brie
- 8 slices prosciutto
- 1 c. red grapes, crushed
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Stretch dough to 20”. Top with mozzarella, feta, garlic, oregano and black pepper. Place 8 slices of prosciutto and top with Brie slices. Add crushed red grapes. Finish with fresh rosemary and extra-virgin olive oil. Bake at 650°F until crispy and slice.
8. Garlic & Sage White Pie – Fireside Pies, Dallas
- 8.5-oz. dough ball
- 2 tbsp. garlic-infused olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, grated with a fine microplane
- 2½ tbsp. ricotta
- ¾ oz. Fontina cheese (½” cube, diced)
- ¾ oz. fresh mozzarella (½” cube, diced)
- 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated with a fine microplane
- Extra-virgin olive oil (finishing quality)
- Sea salt
- Fresh lemon juice
- Fresh sage leaves
- Whole milk (if needed for the ricotta spread)
Stretch the dough ball to 12” in diameter. Rub the garlic-infused olive oil, then the grated garlic, on the center of the dough. Spread the ricotta cheese across the crust base like pizza sauce; if necessary, thin and whip the cheese with whole milk to make the cheese spreadable. Evenly distribute the Fontina,
mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses across the crust.
Bake at 550°F for about 6 minutes, rotating as necessary (cook times may vary per oven). After the pizza is cooked, remove it from the oven, slice and top it with a light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, a light squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a chiffonade of fresh sage leaves.
9. Roman-Style Butternut Squash Pizza – Pizzarium: A Slice of Rome, Miami
- 1kg “00” Italian flour
- 800g water
- 7g natural yeast
- 18g Italian sea salt
- 22g Italian extra-virgin olive oil
- 600g butternut squash cream
- 250g mozzarella
- 250g round pancetta
- 250g smoked Gouda
- Spray of water
- Butternut Squash Cream
- 1 red onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 butternut squash
- 100g Stracchino cheese
- 50g water
- 1 nutmeg
- 2 pinches white pepper
Add flour, yeast and 80% of the water in a large bowl or mixer and mix for 2 minutes. Then add the salt, remaining water and oil; continue mixing until the mass is thoroughly combined and no longer sticks to the sides of the container. Be careful not to overwork or overheat the dough during this process, which should take no longer than 20 minutes. Cover and let it rise for 48 hours in the refrigerator. After the leavening process is complete, make a 1,300g dough ball and let it rise for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Place the dough ball on a 16”-by-24” baking sheet. Hand-stretch it gently, making sure the dough is evenly stretched to all sides of the baking tray.
To make the butternut squash cream, boil red onion, carrot and butternut squash until soft. Add white pepper to softened onion, carrot and squash and mix in an immersion blender. Add Stracchino cheese and water and mix again until a thick, creamy texture has been achieved. Grate whole nutmeg seed over the cream.
Spread 600g of the cream on the dough. Place 50g of the mozzarella cheese on top of the layer of cream. Add pancetta, smoked Gouda and an additional 200g of mozzarella. Hit the pizza with a spray of water from a vaporizer. Bake at 310°F to 320°F for 10 to 12 minutes, until crust is crispy. After baking, add parsley before serving.
10. Sesame Chicken Broccoli and Onion Pizza – Pizza Stop/585 Pizza Design Studio, Rochester, NY
- 27 oz. dough
- 1 lb. breaded chicken tenders, cut into small pieces
- 7 oz. sweet red chili sauce
- 7 oz. seasoned broccoli, diced
- 3 oz. red onion, diced
- Sesame seeds
- 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1-1½ oz. teriyaki sauce
Stretch dough for a 20” pizza. Pour red chili sauce on chicken tender pieces and mix thoroughly. Pour this mixture onto the pizza, then top with diced onions and diced broccoli. Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds to create a coating. Add a little less than 1 lb. of mozzarella. Bake the pizza at 560°F for 8 minutes. Remove the pie and drizzle teriyaki sauce all over. Slice and serve.
11. The Honey Badger – Stick + Stone, Richland, WA
- Dough for 12” pizza
- 1 oz. garlic confit
- ½ oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 4 slices soppressata
- 4-5 leaves basil
- 18 slices pepperoni
- 16 pieces fresh mozzarella
- 1½ oz. honey habanero
- Salt for the rim
To make the honey habanero, cover habaneros and garlic cloves in brown sugar and honey. Roast in oven at 250°F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light-brown color. Remove from oven and place in a mixer with a splash of apple cider vinegar and mix for 30 to 60 seconds until well-mixed. Combine blended mix with honey, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Simmer on stovetop for 1 hour. Blend again if necessary.
To make the pizza, apply a light spread of the garlic confit. Then add, in the following order, the Parmigiano-Reggiano, soppressata, basil, pepperoni, fresh mozzarella and honey habanero mix. Salt the rim of the crust. Bake in a wood-fired oven at 750°F for 60 seconds.
12. Roma Spinach Ranch Pizza – RonDavoo Pizza, Burlington, IA
- 14-oz. dough ball
- 1 oz. garlic butter
- 5 oz. ranch dressing
- 2 oz. fresh baby spinach
- 11 oz. fresh mozzarella, shredded
- 4 oz. fresh Roma tomatoes, diced
- 4 oz. mushrooms
- Sprinkle of dried basil
Sheet dough ball to form a 14” skin. Brush garlic butter across the skin and then spread ranch dressing for base. Top evenly with fresh baby spinach. Apply mozzarella cheese. Evenly spread diced Roma tomatoes and mushrooms. Sprinkle dried basil across top of pizza. Bake at 460°F for 4 minutes and 46 seconds (time and temperature based on a WOW oven).
13. White Heirloom Tomato Pizza – Sindaco’s, Luzerne, PA
- 9-oz. dough ball
- 6-8 small assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- ½ c. ricotta cheese
- ¼ c. garlic sauce
- ½ c. Stracchino cheese
- ½ c. mozzarella
- 1 tbsp. Pecorino
- 1 tbsp. basil, torn
Stretch dough to 12” and place on a floured peel. Top the pizza, in the following order, with ricotta, garlic sauce, and Stracchino, mozzarella and Pecorino cheeses. Arrange tomato slices around the pizza. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 525°F to 550°F (time and temperature based on a commercial Bakers Pride oven). Let sit for 2 minutes, then garnish with more sliced tomatoes and torn basil.