February 5, 2013 |

2010 September: Staff Recipes

By Pizza Today

2010 September: Staff RecipesEach month, we strive to bring you recipes that will help grow your menu and make your operation a success. These recipes come from a variety of sources, including Pat Bruno, Chef Jeff Freehof, Big Dave Ostrander, our own in-house food stylist Jerry Washington (Chef Jay), and numerous pizzeria owners from across the country. We have more than 600 recipes archived on our popular Web site, PizzaToday.com, and we add to that number almost daily.

We thought it would be fun if the editorial staff highlighted its favorites. These recipes have been published in the pages of Pizza Today or on PizzaToday.com over the years. Chef Jay has prepared these dishes for us in our test kitchen many times. It seems we can’t get enough of a good thing!

Apple Pie Pizza

Streusel Topping
½ cup all-purpose fl our
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

In a small mixing bowl, combine the fl our, brown sugar, cinnamon, and granulated sugar. Mix the butter in with your fingertips or pastry cutter to form small crumbles. You will have 1½ cups of streusel. Set aside or chill for 15-20 minutes.

The Rest
3-4 Granny Smith apples (about 2½ pounds), peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons apricot jam or preserves
1 14-inch pizza shell

In a mixing bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. In a sauté pan set over high heat, melt the butter until it just begins to froth. Add the apple slices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and cook for 2 minutes more or until the apples are barely tender. Transfer the apples to a bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. (Can be prepped ahead).

In a small saucepan, cook the apricot jam until it liquefies. Set aside. Brush the entire crust, including the edge, with the apricot jam. Spread the reserved apples evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the streusel over the apples. Bake the pizza. Let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

BLT Pizza

One 12-inch pizza crust
3 ounces Alfredo sauce
6 ounces mozzarella, grated
4 ounces white cheddar, grated
6 ounces fresh tomatoes, cut 1⁄4-inch thick
4 ounces bacon, cooked until starts to crisp, chopped into
1⁄2-inch pieces
3 ounces romaine lettuce, 14-inch wide ribbons
1 ounce Italian vinaigrette
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated

Place pizza crust on pan. Spread crust with white sauce. Top with cheeses, tomato slices, then bacon pieces. Bake at 550 F for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through and bubbling.

Toss romaine with vinaigrette and place in center two-thirds of pizza after removing pizza from oven. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and serve.

Pizza Margherita

One 14-inch pizza crust
6 canned plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons grated Romano
8 leaves fresh basil, torn
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Roll crust thin, to about 1⁄4-inch thickness. Add tomatoes, mozzarella and Romano. Arrange fresh basil leaves evenly over pizza. Drizzle entire pizza with olive oil and bake at 500 F until finished.

Cinnamon Swirl Pizza
Yield: one 12-inch pizza
(Scale up in direct proportion)

16 ounces pizza dough
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

Cut the dough into four pieces, each about 4 ounces. Roll each of these pieces into a thick rope that is about 18 inches long.

Lightly oil (use corn oil or other vegetable oil) a 12-inch pizza pan. Lay each of the pieces of dough onto the pan, coiling them as you would do for a coil of rope. Gently press the coils together. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and give it another 45 minutes to an hour to rise.

Brush the melted butter over the dough coils. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and the cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough.

Bake the pizza at a low temperature (350-375 F) for about 12-15 minutes.


1⁄3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons water

In a small sauce pan set over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time. While adding the water, stir until you get the icing to the consistency of a thick syrup. Drizzle the icing decoratively over the slightly cooled pizza.

Chicken Scampi

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
8 ounces chicken, cut into strips
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, diced
2 ounces broccoli
2 lemon wedges
2 ounces white wine (Chablis works well)
10 ounces penne, cooked al dente
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce pecorino Romano cheese

In a mixing bowl, combine sea salt & pepper. Lightly dredge chicken in it, then grill about halfway through.

In a large skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil. Saute chicken in oil; lightly brown on both sides. When chicken changes color, add garlic. Continue to saute, stirring constantly until garlic is lightly browned. Add sun-dried tomatoes, lemon, broccoli and wine. Reduce by 1⁄4 to 1⁄2.

Add salt & pepper to taste. Add penne. Toss with butter and cheese.

Chicken and Bleu Cheese Pizza

1 12-inch pizza crust
1 pound grilled chicken breasts, cut into ¼-inch wide strips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ cup sour cream
½ cup ricotta cheese
¾ cup crumbled bleu cheese

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the hot sauce and vinegar. Cook the sauce, simmering gently for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cooked chicken to the sauce to coat.

In a food processor, combine the sour cream, ricotta and ½ cup bleu cheese. Process until a smooth sauce is formed.

Spread the sauce evenly over the pizza. Arrange the chicken strips over the sauce, pressing the chicken gently into the sauce.

Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of bleu cheese evenly over the pizza and bake until finished.

Spaghetti Carbonara
Makes 4 to 6 servings

1⁄4 pound pancetta in a chunk about 1⁄2 inch thick
3⁄4 cup diced Roma tomato
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, sliced
3 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄4 cup freshly grated pecorino or Romano cheese
4 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 pound spaghetti

Pare the rind from the pancetta and cut the meat into a small dice. Put the oil, butter and garlic in a sauté pan that is large enough to hold all of the pasta after it has been cooked. Set the pan over medium heat. Cook and stir the garlic until it is a deep golden color. Discard the garlic. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the diced pancetta to the pan and fry it until it is crisp and throws off most of its fat. Add the tomato to the pan and turn the heat to low to keep the pancetta warm.

In a mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks with the two cheeses and half of the ground pepper. Set aside.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until it is al dente. Drain well. Working quickly, add the cooked pasta to the pan with the pancetta. Now add the egg, cream and cheese mixture to the same pan. Toss rapidly and thoroughly to coat the pasta, “cook” the eggs and thicken the cream. Add the reserved ground pepper. Serve at once.

Variations: Use prosciutto in place of the pancetta.

(Italian egg drop soup)
Yields: 6 servings

2 eggs
1⁄8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup water
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
10 ounces fresh spinach
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in nutmeg and parsley. In a 2- or 3-quart pot, bring chicken stock and water to a gentle boil. Stir in Parmesan and spinach. Cook until spinach is tender, about 3 minutes. Pour in the egg mixture while stirring with a whisk. Lower the heat to a simmer; cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring. (The egg should form ribbons in the soup.) Season with salt and pepper; serve immediately.

Mamma’s Magnificent Meatballs
Yield: about 100 2-ounce meatballs

8 pounds lean ground beef
2 pounds ground pork
1⁄4 cup minced garlic
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1 cup finely chopped parsley (use fl at-leaf if you can)
5 cups torn day-old Italian bread, soaked in milk, squeezed dry
8 eggs, lightly beaten 4 teaspoons salt 4 teaspoons black pepper
4 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled

Combine all of the ingredients in the order listed. Mix by hand thoroughly.

Form into meatballs, a bit larger than a golf ball, by rolling the meat between your palms. Lay the meatballs in one layer on a sheet pan(s). Refrigerate meatballs 1 hour, covered, or until ready to cook.

Pour a thin film of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Over medium-high heat, sauté the meatballs in batches until they are cooked through, turning them frequently to brown evenly.

Chicken Springs

1 12-inch pizza crust
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 ounces base cheese blend (65 percent mozzarella, 25 percent Jack, 10 percent cheddar)
2 ounces chicken, cut into strips or torn
½ cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup red bell peppers, diced
1⁄8 cup celery
¼ cup peperoncini peppers, diced 1 teaspoon sage
1⁄8 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1 ounce Romano cheese

Top pizza skin with fresh crushed garlic and olive oil, spreading evenly over skin. Add base cheese mix, then add toppings in the order listed, spreading over entire pizza evenly. The peperoncini and red bell peppers should all be chopped finely to ensure complete distribution. Bake at 450 F. Serve.

Classic Tiramisu

4 extra-large egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dry Marsala
8 ounces mascarpone
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
8 ounces esprsso or brewed strong coffee, cooled
24 ladyfingers (savioardi) Cocoa powder

Put the egg yolks, the whole egg, and the sugar in a double boiler arrangement over simmering water. Whisk the eggs constantly until they thicken into a light custard. Add the Marsala and combine. Whisk a bit more. Turn out of the bowl into a pan to cool.

Cream the mascarpone. Set aside. Beat the whipping cream to the soft peak stage. Add the sugar. Beat to the stiff peak stage.

Fold the mascarpone into the whipped cream, then fold that mixture into the cooled egg/sugar mixture.

Assembly: Use a pan or glass dish that is about 8×8 inches. Working one by one, dip a ladyfinger into the cooled espresso. A quick dip in an out (the ladyfi ngers will absorb more of the coffee than you think) works best.

Put a thin layer of the mixture over the bottom of the pan. Fit 12 layfingers into the pan (trimming as needed). Layer half of the remaining cream mixture over the ladyfingers.

Fit 12 more ladyfingers into the pan (dipping each into the espresso fi rst). Layer in the rest of the cream mixture and smooth it out.

Screen (sift) the cocoa powder liberally over the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight (or at least 4 hours). Serve in squares portioned to about two and one-half inches square.

Toasted Ravioli
Yield: Six servings

2 large eggs
1⁄2 cup canned evaporated milk
1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
Oil for frying 24 raviolini, thawed (if frozen)
1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups marinara sauce, warmed

In a small bowl, beat and combine the eggs and milk. Put the breadcrumbs in another small bowl. Heat the oil to 360 F for frying.

Dip the ravioli in the egg mixture to coat; let the excess egg drip off. Dredge in bread crumbs, knocking off excess. Arrange ravioli on a sheet pan or tray. (May be prepped ahead to this point and refrigerated).

Fry ravioli until golden brown and remove. While they are still hot, sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Barbecue Chicken & Scamorza Pizza
Yield: two 12-inch pizzas (recipe can be scaled up in direct proportion)

2 12-inch pizza shells
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
1 cup bottled barbecue sauce of your choice
1 cup chopped red onion
11⁄2 cups shredded scamorza

In a skillet set over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil for 1 minute. Add the chicken. Stir and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve. (Can be prepped ahead and held in the cooler.)

In a large bowl, toss the cooked chicken with the barbecue sauce to coat. Divide the chicken equally between the two pizza shells. Sprinkle 1⁄2 cup of red onion evenly over each pizza. Sprinkle an equal amount of the cheese on each pizza. Bake at 450 F until crust is golden brown and cheese bubbles.

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks
Yield: 6 servings (scale up in direct proportion)

1 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 medium zucchini (about 21⁄2 pounds), cut into strips about ½ inch wide and 3 inches long
4 large eggs, lightly beaten

In a mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Dip zucchini strips in beaten egg, then in breadcrumb mixture to coat. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Arrange the zucchini strips in one layer on sheet pans. Bake in a 425 F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. (Shake the pans after about 15 minutes.) Serve with warm marinara dipping sauce.

Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Dipping Sauce

½ pound mild goat cheese
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all the ingredients and blend until smooth. If necessary, add a teaspoon of cream or milk to thin. The consistency should be close to that of Ranch dressing.

Serve as a dipping sauce for an assortment of appetizers, including fried mozzarella, toasted ravioli, breadsticks, etc.