A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"


Pizza Party

March 27th, 2010

Pizza is one of the most debated items in the food world. In New York there is always a fiery discussion about the best restaurant for pizza. Chicago chimes in that pizza should be more of a deep dish variety. Personally, I prefer a thin crust. So the other night I made three of my favorites: goat cheese & caramelized onion; sausage, onion & fontina; and meatball & mozzarella. Which is the best? I love them all, so I will leave it up to you to decide.

The trick to serving several pies in one night is to prepare all the toppings ahead of time. Pizza dough is pretty easy to make, but if I am cooking three pizzas I want to save as much time as possible…in other words, I bought my dough at Lazy Acres. When I make my own dough, I typically use a recipe by Wolfgang Puck. His recipe adds a little honey to the dough which is a nice touch. Below are the three pies..

Goat Cheese & Caramelized Onion Pizza is probably the pie I make most often. I slice one large onion into half rounds then saute in olive oil and butter till caramelized, about 30 minutes. You need to cook the onions slowly which will bring out the sweetness; the onions will be brown but not burnt. Next, I roll my dough till it is ultra thin, you can almost see through it. Add cornmeal to the top of your pizza peel and then the pizza on top. Oil the entire surface of the pie then spread your onions around evenly. Add small chunks of a good goat cheese on top of the onions next drizzle a bit more olive oil over the pie so it isn’t too dry. Now, season with Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Cook in a 500 – 550 degree oven till the crust turns brown.

Goat Cheese & Caramelized Onion Pizza

Goat Cheese & Caramelized Onion Pizza

Sausage, onion, and fontina pizza is a twist on the classic sausage pizza.  First, remove the Italian sausage from its casing and saute till brown. I make the onions the same way as the pie above but I cook them for 10 minutes less. They are not brown, but translucent with a slight slight crunch. For the tomatoes, you can use fresh, but I would bake them first to remove some moisture. I use Rao’s Marinara Sauce, but first I cook over low heat for about 15 minutes to remove some moisture (if too wet, the pizza will be soggy). Lastly, I grate an imported fontina cheese.

Sausage, Onion & Fontina Pizza

Sausage, Onion & Fontina Pizza

After the prep work is complete, roll the dough out like above and cover with a bit of olive oil. Then add a light coat of tomato sauce, then onion, sausage, and fontina. Add red chili flakes or salt if desired. Bake till brown and bubbly.

Pizza with meatball and mozzarella is the last pie I made. I was lucky to have leftover meatballs. I treated the tomato sauce the same as above. I prefer to use fresh mozzarella because it will have better flavor than the supermarket varieties, but it will also contain more moisture. Either will be delicious. After slicing the mozzarella, be sure to use paper towels to remove excess moisture from the fresh cheese. You can also grate the mozzarella if you prefer.

By now you should be a pizza expert. Roll out your dough, add olive oil, tomato sauce, meatballs, and cheese. Again, bake until bubbly and brown.

I have made pizza with friends a dozen times; it’s a great way to entertain. Everyone gets involved and has a lot of fun. An added benefit is that meal is spectacular! Do you have a favorite pizza recipe? I’d love to hear about it.

6 Responses to “Pizza Party”

  1. Linda Rosso says:

    Hi Ed,
    We are kindred spirits migrated from NYC to California!
    We make pizza about once a week, and love using the pizza stone. We most often buy the crust from our local pizzeria so we cam make pizza on a moment’s notice. Our favorites are: caramelized onion with gruyere — we call it “French Onion Soup Pizza” ; fresh pear slices with cambozola cheese; heirloom tomatoes, corn kernels and basil with smoked mozzarella; smoked salmon and brie with scallions…the list goes on. By the way, pouring a little honey on the almost eaten-to-the-crust slice of a tomato-based pizza is a heavenly treat we discovered in a mountain pizzeria in Glenwood Springs, Colorado as we moved me west 24 years ago!

  2. Hi Ed,
    Who doesn’t love pizza? I’m going to try these. They look fantastic. Any wine recommendations? Love trying to find and taste the wines you recommend. Miss you in New York. Thanks for continuing this labor of love. I love receiving this in my inbox.


  3. Ed McAniff says:

    Linda, you are an inspiration. I need to get back in the kitchen. I’ll try a few pf these and let you know.

    Christine, how about an Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, or if you want to keep it simple, a Chianti would also work well.

  4. Once again, A Taster’s Journey excels. Thanks for the recipes and the pictures. Your suggestions are a moveable feast!

  5. Maureen Ferrari says:

    Ed, Your pizzas bring back such great memories of out visit with you and Nora in Cali:-) I’m getting soooo hungry reading your newsletter!

  6. autumn says:

    Some great ideas for pizza. I think I too will go the Lazy Acres way with the dough though. Thanks!

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