Meat Luvahs

What’s it going to be for that meat lover’s pizza? Three meats? Four meats? Five meats? Be careful –– don’t turn that pizza into a meat casserole or a grease trap.

Common sense must prevail when putting together a meat lover’s pizza. Balance is also a key issue, as more is not always better. What exactly does the idea of a Meat Lover’s pizza imply? In some instances, it is simply a lot more meat –– double the usual amount in some instances. But be aware that too much of a good thing just might offend the sensibilities of the customer instead of attracting them.

But (and this is one big but) where is it written that a meat lover’s pizza has to have three, four, five different kinds of meat? Why can’t a meat lover’s pizza have but one or two meats and still make the grade (pepperoni and sausage continue to remain the most popular toppings). For example, why can’t we call it Steak Lover’s pizza? People love steak, steak is meat. Presto! Meat Lover’s pizza. Or how about using ground and seasoned beef. People love a good hamburger, so it would seem to me that this would work.

Ok, there is room for compromise here, so let’s take a look at a meat lover’s pizza that uses several different meats and then a couple of pizzas that use either one or two meats.
Knowing that sausage is one of the most popular pizza toppings, we need to go with sausage that has been precooked to avoid a lot of excess fat. But it’s not just about sausage alone. The same considerations should apply for most meats — steak, ground beef, ground turkey, ground lamb and pancetta. Exceptions being, say, meatballs (which would be precooked anyway), prosciutto, and ham (which is precooked or smoked). The point of all this is to eliminate as much fat as possible.

One example of a meat lover’s pizza uses four different meats: chips of ham, cooked bacon, cooked crumbles of Italian sausage and pepperoni. Using this combination of meats will result in a very flavorful pizza that will not end up being a greasy mess.
Another four-meat combination for a Meat Lover’s pizza would be prosciutto (trim some of the fat off the edges and cut the slices into strips), cooked ground beef crumbles, cooked bacon and pepperoni.

I also make a meat-lover’s pizza that is a bestseller, and it includes sausage and meatballs. For this pizza I used cooked meatballs (a 2-ounce meatball is just about the right size). I cut the meatballs in half and arrange them –– cut side down –– on top of tomatoes. Next I sprinkle cooked Italian sausage crumbles around the meatballs. Next I add a combination of shredded mozzarella and provolone, but I use less cheese than normal (about 6 ounces for a 14-inch pizza) so as to not cover the meatballs totally (the effect of the dome of the meatballs with the cheese melting around them is quite appetizing). A sprinkle of Romano cheese over the top is the “frosting” on this delicious pizza.

Steak & Mushroom Pizza
Makes one 14-inch pizza (scale up in direct proportion)

1 14-inch pizza shell
8 ounces all-purpose ground tomatoes (or your pizza sauce)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire or steak sauce
5 ounces grilled or cooked flank steak, shredded or thinly sliced
1 cup (about) sliced fresh mushrooms
8 ounces shredded mozzarella (or combination of mozzarella and provolone)

Combine the tomatoes with the Worcestershire sauce. Set aside. Cook the steak to medium rare. (Both of these steps are done ahead for prep).

To order, spread the sauce over the pizza shell. Add the steak evenly over the tomatoes. Spread the mushrooms over the steak. Sprinkle on the cheese. Bake.

Beef & Pork Picadillo Pizza 

Picadillo implies some type of shredded meat or poultry. I am using a combination of meats to create a very flavorful Meat Lover’s pizza.

Makes one 14-inch pizza (scale up in direct proportion)

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 pound ground round
1/4 pound ground pork
½ cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed
6 ounces all-purpose ground tomatoes or tomato puree
8 ounces shredded provolone
2 teaspoons dried oregano

In a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil for 1 minute. Add the onion, bell pepper, ground round and ground pork. Cook and stir until the meat is no longer red, about 4 minutes. Drain the fat from the pan.

Add the olives, cilantro and capers and tomatoes to the sauté pan. Cook and stir to blend and reduce any excess moisture from the tomatoes (about 3-4 minutes). (This is your prep. You can make big batches ahead and keep it on the pizza prep table).

To order, spread the tomato and meat mixture over the crust. Sprinkle on the provolone cheese. Sprinkle on the oregano. Bake.

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