Just five years ago, the U.S. Pizza Team (USPT) fielded a powerhouse lineup of pizzaioli for the 2017 World Pizza Championship (WPC) in Parma, Italy. Although the major trophies went, as usual, to Italian pizza makers, USPT competitors acquitted themselves nicely, as Dan Uccello of Flo’s Pizzeria in Grand Rapids, Michigan, won the award for the Highest Ranked American in all categories and Ali Haider of 786˚; in Sun Valley, California, earned the Highest Ranked Indian award. As we gear up for the 2022 World Pizza Championship, now is a good time to look back at USPT members’ excellent recipes for some of their best WPC competition pizzas with our readers. Buon appetito!


Shrimp Tuscany

Ali Haider, 786°
Sun Valley, CA


4 c. Antimo Caputo 00 Americana Pizza Flour
1½ c. plus 3-4 tbsp. hot water (105° to 115° F)
2 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. dry active yeast
Allow dough to ferment for 12 hours, then ball for three hours at room temperature


Cilantro Pesto Chutney base
1 c. (about 4 oz.) shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
1 c. (about 4 oz.) cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 c. (about 4 oz.) portobello mushrooms, sliced to ¼” thickness
4 oz. (about 2/3 c.) shredded Fontina cheese
4 oz. fresh mozzarella
2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
½ tsp. truffle oil
1 oz. (about ¼ c.) fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ tsp. sea salt or flake salt
Arugula leaves, for garnish
16 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Chopped garlic
Olive oil

Cilantro Pesto Chutney

1 c. fresh cilantro leaves with stems
1 tsp. mint powder
¼ c. parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. pine nuts
¼ c. Parmesan cheese, grated
½ c. olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper


For the Cilantro Pesto Chutney base, combine all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Spread the chutney over the crust, then build the pizza by adding all three types of mushrooms, Fontina cheese, fresh mozzarella, thyme, truffle oil, Parmesan and salt. Bake the pizza in a wood-fired oven at 750°F for 3-4 minutes. While the pizza is baking, grill shrimp in a skillet with olive oil and chopped garlic until pink. Remove the baked pizza from the oven, top with grilled shrimp and garnish with arugula.



Pear a Dice Pizza

John Zozzaro, Downtown Cafe & Pizzeria
Glen Coe, NY


10-oz. dough ball, stretched to about 12”
2 oz. Fontina cheese, sliced
1 caramelized pear, thinly sliced
½ oz. Gorgonzola cheese
2 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced
½ oz. baby arugula
½ oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano
Drizzle of Guinness Stout glaze

Caramelized Pear

1 Bartlett pear, cut in half and thinly sliced
½ tbsp. butter
½ tsp. sugar
Saute the pear in the butter and sugar mix until caramelized.

Guinness Stout Glaze 

12 oz. Guinness stout beer
1¼ c. brown sugar
½ c. honey
Pour all ingredients into a saucepan and whisk together. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by half. Let cool a bit, then put the mixture into a squeeze bottle.


Add Fontina cheese, caramelized pear and Gorgonzola cheese on the dough and fully bake the pizza. Top it off with the prosciutto, baby arugula, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Guinness Stout Glaze.



The Mad Mushroom

Dave Sommers, Mad Mushroom
Lafayette, IN


500g dough, stretched to 35cm
Morel mushrooms, cleaned and blanched
Green and white asparagus spears, blanched and trimmed to size
5 oz. Fontina cheese
3 oz. mozzarella
Garlic-infused olive oil


Quick-fry the mushrooms in olive oil, then pat dry. Drizzle a light layer of olive oil on the dough and spread evenly. Cover with a mixture of the two cheeses. Top with one asparagus for each slice. Bake the pizza at 480°F until 65% to 70% done. Remove from the oven. Top with one mushroom per slice and finish baking the pizza.



Pizza D’Italia

Dan Uccello, Flo’s Pizzeria
Grand Rapids, MI


12” dough ball
2 tbsp. fig preserves
1 tbsp. Asiago cheese
1 tbsp. Gorgonzola cheese
4 slices of fresh mozzarella
1 oz. arugula
4 slices of prosciutto
1 tsp. black balsamic pearls
1 tsp. white balsamic pearls


Stretch out the dough ball on a 12” pizza screen. Spread the fig preserves on the dough, leaving a 1”-wide crust. Evenly sprinkle on the Asiago and Gorgonzola cheeses and add fresh mozzarella slices, placed with about 1” of space in between. Bake at 550° to 600°F in a deck oven for 7-10 minutes until the dough turns golden brown. Place the arugula on top, then add prosciutto and black and white balsamic pearls.



That’ll Dew, Peppa. That’ll Dew

Kyle Rosch, Brenz Pizza/Il Forno
Chapel Hill, NC


12-oz. dough ball, stretched to a 13” pizza
3 oz. crushed tomato sauce (San Marzano style), seasoned to taste with sea salt
4 oz. fresh ciliegine mozzarella
14 whole peppadews, marinated in balsamic vinegar at least 8 hours
Ricotta cheese
4 oz. fennel sausage, hand-pinched and cooked
Parsley, roughly chopped, for garnish


Stuff peppadews with ricotta. Sauce the pizza and add fresh mozzarella. Fill in the gaps with the stuffed peppadews and fennel sausage. Bake the pizza in a wood-fired oven at 730°F for 2 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley.



Salsiccia Pistachio

Leonardo Rago, Panino’s Pizza
Chicago, IL


280g to 300g pizza dough (for a 10” to 12” pizza)
7 oz. (1½ c.) unsalted, roasted, shelled pistachios
½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped basil
½ c. Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ c. Italian sausage
½ c. Chianti wine
Fresh mozzarella, torn into dollops
Lemon zest


Combine the pistachio nuts with oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano and basil, and puree in a blender. Sauté the Italian sausage in Chianti wine and drain the excess. Stretch out the dough. Spread the pistachio basil puree over the crust. Add sausage and more fresh basil, then top with fresh mozzarella. Bake the pizza in a wood-fired oven for 90 seconds at 800° to 900°F until golden brown. After baking, add more fresh mozzarella and sprinkle with lemon zest.



Roasted Three-Pepper Pizza

Anthony Gordon, Casa Ristorante Italiano
Fort Wayne, IN


9 oz. pizza dough
3 oz. roasted red pepper hummus
1 oz. fresh spinach
2 marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
6 marinated cherry tomatoes, halved
1 fire-roasted jalapeno, sliced
2 oz. fire-roasted red, yellow and green bell peppers, sliced
2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano/Asiago blend, grated
Pinch of oregano and pepper
Drizzle of olive oil


Spread the hummus on the crust. Top with spinach, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, jalapeño slices, peppers and the cheese blend. Bake at 350°F in a wood-fired oven. Sprinkle oregano and pepper on the pizza and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.


Food & Ingredients, Recipes, US Pizza Team