Recipe of the Month: Creamy Habanero Pizza Dip

Ingredients

½ c. sour cream
½ c. ricotta cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
2½ tbsp. green habanero hot sauce
2 tsp. Italian herb spice blend
½ tsp. salt
½ c. mozzarella cheese
5 pepperoni slices

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, ricotta cheese, garlic, green habanero hot sauce, Italian herb spice blend, salt and half of the mozzarella cheese. Mix well and transfer to a baking dish of your choice. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese over the top of the mixture and top with pepperoni. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or adapt timing/temperature for your style of oven.

Take a Dip

The sign on the wall at Cane Rosso (ilcanerosso.com) in Dallas makes it clear: If you want a side order of ranch dressing with your pizza, be prepared to pay the price—a cool $1,000. When a picture of the sign went viral on the Internet, owner Jay Jerrier, as well-known for his impish humor as for his authentic Neapolitan pies, was quick to point out that it was just a joke. Like most successful restaurateurs, he always strives to give the customers what they want. But many customers take their side dips and sauces quite seriously. Offering a signature dip—for pizza, wings, pita bread or crostini—is a good idea for any pizzeria operator looking for every marketing advantage he can find. Here are some examples from across the country:

Guests at Two Cousins’ Pizza (twocousinspizzaco.com), with three locations in Ohio, come from all over to buy the muffaleta sauce by the pint. It’s made with chopped black olives, green olives, pepperoncini, black pepper, olive oil and garlic.

Pat’s Pizzeria & Grill (patsfamilyrestaurant.com), part of a family-owned chain with stores in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, has built a cult following for its Crab Dip, made with cream cheese, mayonnaise, jumbo lump crabmeat, minced onion, lemon juice, Tabasco sauce, Old Bay seasoning and sherry.

Customers at Basil’s (itsbasils.com) in Greenville, North Carolina, can choose from five signature dips, including the Beer Dip, featuring a cream cheese base blended with garlic and beer, then baked with cheddar cheese and served with fried pita wedges; and the Hot Sausage Dip, a mix of Italian sausage with ground spices, tomatoes, green chilis and cream cheese.