topping recipes are designed to be thrown onto your
pizza with little fuss.
this point in the History of Pizza, so many styles populate
our pizzerias, delivery boxes, cookbooks and freezer cases
that it doesn’t surprise us to hear someone describe a new
restaurant’s pies as "Italian."
OK, it does surprise us, because, well, Naples. Italy. The
birthplace of pizza. All pizza is, at its core, Italian.
before we work ourselves up into a good rant, we’re
stepping down from the soapbox to take a moment to recognize
this: The fact that someone would be compelled to
differentiate a pizza by calling it Italian tells us that we
have come to own pizza completely in this country. And that’s
a good thing. From Neapolitan to deep dish, there are so
many options — giving us the freedom to set aside the
double-zero flour for a night, stop dissecting the minutiae
of authenticity and make something of our own invention.
Something quick. Something easy. Because sometimes, all we
really want is dinner.
that vein, today we’re offering three no-fuss topping
recipes (hardly any precooking and no tracking down of
artisan ‘nduja, not that we don’t love artisan salumi)
to scatter on a humble pie you can throw together at home.
On your favorite dough recipe, a store-bought dough or
pre-baked crust, you decide. (Don’t have a go-to dough? We’re
including a recipe from "Truly Madly Pizza" by
Suzanne Lenzer, because we love its simplicity. Buzz in the
food processor and go.)
idea uses just 3 to 4 ingredients and makes enough for a 10-
to 12-inch pizza. The topping recipes are free-form. Really
love olives? Go ahead, throw on more for the creamy and
crunchy pizza. If your dough makes a larger pie, simply up
the amounts of ingredients.
bake, crank your oven to 550; use a pizza stone or a baking
sheet, up to you. And time the pizza according to your dough
recipe, though we give times assuming a relatively thin
there you are, in 6 to 10 minutes, contributing to the
continued History of Pizza.
by the Hellboy pizza at Paulie Gee’s (originally of
Brooklyn and now in Chicago’s Logan Square as well), which
pairs spicy salumi (soppressata) with sweet/hot
spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
bunch (7 ounces) broccoli rabe, steamed until crisp tender,
seasoned with salt, coarsely chopped
2 or 3
handfuls freshly grated Parmesan
pepper infused honey, such as Mike’s Hot Honey
the sausage in a skillet with a little olive oil until
browned, breaking up sausage into rough pieces with a
spatula as you go. Spread the broccoli rabe on the pizza
crust; top with sausage. Scatter with the Parmesan. Bake at
550 degrees, 6 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with chili-infused
honey immediately and serve.
ounces blue cheese, crumbled
cup Kalamata olives, pitted, cut in half
red onion, sliced in thin half moons, slices about 1/4-inch
the cheese, olives and onions over the pizza crust, in that
order. Bake at 550 degrees, 6 to 10 minutes.
cup pesto, jarred or homemade, see recipe
red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces (or
sliced in half if using small mozzarella balls)
the pesto over the pizza, leaving a 1-inch edge. Toss the
tomatoes and mozzarella in a bowl with salt; scatter them
over the pizza; bake at 550 degrees, 6-10 minutes.
Drop 3 cloves garlic in a food processor with the motor
running. Chop finely. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts; process until chopped. Scrape
down the sides. Add about 6 cups fresh basil leaves. Process
until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour in
extra-virgin olive oil until you achieve a loose paste. Stir
in 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and about 1/2 cup freshly grated
Parmesan. Taste for seasoning. Makes: about 1 cup.
20 minutes, plus freezing/chilling time
Enough dough for two 10- to 12-inch pizzas.
book "Truly Madly Pizza," Suzanne Lenzer calls
this recipe: "My go-to, tried-and-true, know-by-heart
pizza dough." She advocates freezing the dough then
letting it rise slowly in the fridge on the day you plan to
bake. We understand her reasoning, but the extra step of
freezing slows us down. We had good results letting the
dough slow-rise in the fridge instead. Overnight works, but
the easiest option: Make the dough in the morning, pop into
the fridge, and it’s ready to go post-work.
cups (390 grams) bread flour
ounce active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
teaspoons sea salt
cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3
tablespoons medium or coarse cornmeal
Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a food processor fitted
with the metal S-blade. Turn the machine on. Add the oil
through the feed tube, then add the water in a slow, steady
stream. By adding the water slowly, you can watch the dough
come together, and you’ll get a sense of whether you
should add more or whether it’s too wet — it should look
pliable and smooth after a minute or so of processing. (The
more water you can add and still be able to handle the dough
without it sticking to your hands, the better it will be.)
Continue to process the dough for about 2 minutes. The dough
should form a ball and ride around in the processor. If it
does become too wet, add another tablespoon or two of flour
until it’s moist to the touch but can be handled easily.
When the dough is done, it should be soft, slightly sticky
and elastic. It may also be hot from the machine, so be
Lay a piece of plastic wrap about 12 inches long on a clean
work surface. Use your hands to press the dough into a
rectangle on the plastic, about 8- by 6-inches wide. Press
your fingers into the top of the dough all over it, making
indentations as though it were a focaccia. Fold the left
third of the dough over and repeat the finger indentations.
Fold the right third over (as you would a letter) and make
indentations again. Cover the folded dough with plastic
wrap; let rise 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, cut the dough in half, and form each into
a neat ball. (Each ball will make a 10- to 12-inch round
pizza.) You can use the dough right away, but you’ll find
the texture of the crust will be a bit breadier and the
flavor less complex. For best results, freeze the dough (see
next step), which retards the yeast’s activity, allowing
the flavor to continue to develop as the dough thaws,
without letting it rise and become bready. Or refrigerate
the dough, up to 1 day. But if it is very warm or humid, the
dough can expand relatively dramatically even in the fridge.
and thaw: Wrap each ball tightly in plastic wrap; freeze
immediately after wrapping. The morning of the day you plan
to make pizza, remove dough from freezer and put it into the
fridge to slowly thaw (6 to 7 hours). Twenty to 30 minutes
before making the pizza, pull the dough out of the fridge,
and let it come to room temperature while you prep toppings.
Working with one dough ball at a time and working with your
hands (not on a flat surface), gently begin to stretch the
dough into a circular shape, pressing your fist into the
center of the dough and pulling at the edges with your other
hand. With both hands, stretch the dough, being careful not
to tear it. Working in a circular motion, pull the thicker
edges of the dough outward, letting gravity help you.
Continue to stretch the dough until it’s relatively even
in thickness (the edges will be thicker, and that is OK) and
you have the size you want.
Heat the oven to 550 degrees F. If using a stone and a peel:
Put the stone in the oven to heat. Dust the peel generously
with the cornmeal. Carefully lay shaped dough on the peel.
If using a baking sheet: Brush a large baking sheet with
olive oil, and sprinkle it with cornmeal. Place the shaped
dough onto the pan. Top the pizza as desired, and slide it
off the peel and onto the heated stone, or slide the baking
sheet into the oven. Bake until the crust is golden and the
cheese is bubbling, 6 to 10 minutes.