5 ideas for homemade pizza toppings

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Prior to 2011 I would have told you that pizza was just take away. You call up and they deliver on a night when you’re feeling lazy. They even bring you the 1.25L bottle of coke as well and there’s no effort involved other than fighting about who’s going to actually place the call.

Prior to 2012 I would even have said pizza was an easy convenient meal as all you had to do was open a packet of cheese, a packet of diced ham, some tomato paste and pre-made bases or Lebanese bread. No fuss, it’s an easy meal made in minutes, and you only have to wait for the cheese to melt.

Pizza is now a fully homemade affair, with real toppings made form tasty vegetables and pestos, sauces, marinades, cheeses and anything else you can think of. Pizza now means a homemade base where I get my fingers covered in flour and I feel the dough with my hands, handling it and measuring it for the right texture and shape. Pizza now means marinating and grilling vegetables that have been bought fresh from the markets. Or slicing and frying meat, chicken or seafood and making my own brand new combinations of delicious toppings and flavours.

Pizza is so much more than takeaway.

Basic Pizza Dough

Making the base is pretty easy and well worth the effort. Whereas for bread you mix the yeast into the flour and water and then let it prove (rise), pizza is different. For pizza dough let the yeast rise first and then add the flour and extra water. It means you get a crispier and thinner base, perfect for all the topping ideas listed above.

Here’s the basic pizza dough recipe I use.

If you need a gluten free alternative, or are looking for a change, try this cauliflower pizza base recipe. It really works, and it tastes amazing if you add in a handful of Parmesan cheese to the mix. I’m not sure about how the science of this works, but its amazing non the less – and you feel a lot fuller after eating this kind of base than a flour based pizza.

Pizza Topping Ideas

Mediterranean pesto pizza

1. Mediterranean Pesto Pizza

Thin slices of eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and carrot grilled with olive oil and sun-dried tomato pesto piled on top of either tomato paste or basil pesto with bocconcini and mozzarella.

2. Tuna and Radish

Tomato paste, fresh sliced tomatoes, sliced radish, spring onions and a tin of tuna slices covered in mozzarella. (see photo at top of page)

3. Pumpkin and Spinach with Feta

Roast 1cm cubed pieces of pumpkin with olive oil and cumin. Spread tomato paste over the base, layer over spinach and sprinkle over the pumpkin. Crumble over some feta and add some grated cheese on top.

Pumpkin and spinach pizza with feta

4. Margherita

Add slices of fresh tomatoes (pat dry with a paper towel before adding to the pizza to help reduce the wateriness of the cooked pizza), chunks of bocconcini and sprinkle over dried basil (or fresh if you have them). I always put my grated cheese over the top of the other ingredients, but for a variation, try this pizza with the grated cheese under the tomato slices and other ingredients. Also, to make a richer tomato taste, finely slice over a few sun-dried tomatoes, or use sun-dried tomato pesto rather than tomato paste.

5. Garlic and Rosemary

On a plain pizza base sprinkle over lashings of olive oil, salt, minced garlic and dried or fresh rosemary. For ease, spread the minced garlic over the base first with your hands then sprinkle the other ingredients on top. This is a great variation on garlic bread and is usually served as an entree or appetiser rather than as a main meal pizza. If you’re really keen, roast your garlic in the skin and then spread over the pizza base.
Garlic and rosemary pizza

Other Pizza Topping Ideas

  • Recently on Masterchef Australia they also made pizza. I really want to try the caramelised onion, fig and gorgonzola pizza.
  • If you’re feeling like a carb fest, here’s Jamie Oliver’s Potato and Rosemary Pizza.
  • You could always try a Calzone which is really just a pizza folded in half and the edges folded over.
  • And you really should try an Arabic pizza, called manaqish (or manakish or manakeesh). Its basic pizza dough spread with za’atar (oregano spice mix) and baked. Try it with cheese and za’atar and you’ll love it (I absolutely do!). Note: If you’re in Melbourne you can get them from A1 Bakery (as seen in my post on Cheap Eats in Melbourne). If you’re in Sydney you’ll find them in shops around the Bankstown area.
    Prawn and grilled vegetable pizza.

 What’s your favourite pizza? What toppings do you love to use on pizza? Leave a comment or let us know on Twitter @SpicedAnecdotes (click the Twitter button at the top of this post).

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