Pizza Topping Tips
To sauce or not to sauce is up to you. White pizza uses no sauce. Simply drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top and add your favorite veggies, meats or cheese. As for the sauce, use your favorite spaghetti sauce or experiment with Alfredo white sauce.
The rest is only limited by your own imagination. Meats such as Italian sausage should be pre-cooked, drained and cooled before adding.
Preserved sausages and meats such as pepperoni and ham need no pre-cooking. Sun-dried tomatoes add wonderful flavor and a gourmet touch.
Mozzarella is the standard cheese used for pizzas. Shredded mozzarella is handy and helps control portions, but used sliced if you wish. Feel free to experiment with other hard cheeses as toppers.
If you do not care for crunchy vegetables, you may wish to par-boil them or zap them for a few minutes in the microwave to reduce the crunch before adding as a topping to your pizza. Standard baking time for pizza is usually only about 15 minutes, which will not be long enough to thoroughly cook vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, and broccoli.
Some veggies, such as onions, mushrooms, spinach, and bell peppers, have high water content which can add to sogginess if not precooked and drained. Be sure all cooked and canned vegetables and fruits have been well-drained and patted dry before using as a topping.
If you still have problems with a soggy crust, try sprinkling the dough with a thin layer of cheese before adding the sauce and toppings, and then more cheese on top if desired. The cheese between the dough and the sauce helps insulate the crust from moisture. You can also try pre-baking the crust for about 8 minutes, cooling, and then load it up.
Many folks like eating cold leftover pizza, but I like mine warmed up. Reheat pizza by placing on a rack over a baking sheet in a preheated 400-degree F. oven for about 5 minutes. You can also warm it in a hot skillet on top of the stove. A toaster oven also works well for reheating single servings. Try to avoid using the microwave to reheat pizza. You will end up with a soggy, chewy mess.
Take-out and frozen pizza are acceptable quickie dinners when you are up against the clock, but why relegate pizza as a desperation meal? Making your own at home is really not that difficult or time-consuming. With a bit of careful planning of toppings, you also have a balanced meal all in one simple package. Luckily, most kids adore pizza, so you can enlist your children in the process.
Susie likes plain cheese, Tommy likes sausage, Dad likes pepperoni, and Mom likes veggies? No problem! Let everyone choose their toppings for a giant pizza. No more arguing over what kind to order, not to mention the added costs charged by most outlets for mixing toppings.
Remember, do not limit your concept of pizza to basic crust with tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings. Branch out to flavored crusts, white sauce, and even dessert pizzas. Within the pizza recipes, you will find basic doughs, sauces, and gourmet to dessert pizzas. Mangia!
More About Pizza and Pizza Recipes:
- California Pizza Kitchen Cookbook
- American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza
- The Great Chicago-Style Pizza Cookbook
- Pizza: More than 60 Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pizza
- More Cookbooks