Recipe by Chef Beth Beard, Pixie Dust Gourmet
It's time to channel your inner Picasso! The truth is, pre-made pizza crust is just the perfect place to put, well, almost anything. When it's fancy we call it artisanal flatbread, while it's more traditional cousins are just a pie - there is even a whole secret language dedicated to it's creation! But no matter how you slice it, a great pizza is nothing less than a classic Italian American masterpiece.
Using the amazing crispy, chewy Against the Grain pizza crust as your blank canvas, always start with the sauce. Think of sauce as setting the tone for the rest of your pizza masterpiece...feeling spicy? Then slather on a layer of buffalo sauce! If you have a yearning for the Italian classics, may want to brush on a layer of garlic EVOO, some fresh basil pesto or a simple red sauce.
Once you have your base, it is time to move on to the meat of your creation depending on your palate (or is it palette?!) For veggies and fruit (yes fruit), for the best texture and flavor, always go with fresh and organic if you can find it. And with the exception of some heartier veggies like eggplant, butternut squash and potatoes, raw is always best - they will cook to crunchy perfection in the oven. In terms of meats you can tickle your taste buds with everything from classic pepperoni to ham, prosciutto, bacon, steak, shrimp and chicken.
Cheese - glorious cheese! No pizza is complete without cheese. Whether topping your creation with classic shredded mozzarella or going off the beaten path with gourmet offerings like Gorgonzola or even brie, there is a cheese option for just about everyone, For the lactose intolerant I recommend cashew ricotta (recipe coming soon) or an aged cheese like cheddar or aged gouda, which has minimal to no lactose. And last but not least, don't forget to finish your pie with some fresh herbs like basil or thyme. No matter how you slice it, there is nothing quite as satisfying as a home-made pizza fresh out of the oven!
Some of my favorite combinations:
- The Monday Night Football: Buffalo sauce, roast chicken, onions, mozzarella, Roquefort, topped with scallions, cilantro and blue cheese sauce
- The Loaded Baked Potato: Garlic EVOO, bacon, mashed potatoes, broccoli and cheddar, topped with scallions
- The Fancy Italian: Pesto, breaded eggplant, mushroom, pineapple, prosciutto, caramelized onion and buffalo mozzarella
- The Fiesta: Barbecue sauce, ground beef, corn, roasted red peppers, onions and Moneray jack cheese topped with cilantro
Sauces: red sauce, basil pesto, barbecue, buffalo or garlic EVOO
Veggie and fruit toppings: mushrooms, onions, caramelized onions, yellow peppers, roasted red peppers, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, roasted eggplant, breaded eggplant, shredded zucchini, black olives, green olives, pineapple, roasted baby potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted butternut squash, corn
Meat toppings: sausage, chicken sausage, chicken breast, ham, prosciutto, ground beef, shrimp, meatballs, pepperoni, bacon
Cheeses: Parmesan, fresh mozzarella, cashew ricotta, ricotta, cheddar, Roquefort, feta, goat, Moneray jack, brie
Fresh Finishings: basil, oregano, cilantro, arugula, spinach, scallions, blue cheese dressing, EVOO, course sea salt