So you made the dough, par-baked it, and stuck it in the freezer. Now it's time to whip up a few toppings that you can store in the fridge for the easiest pizza night ever. The recipes that follow are for the three (roughly 10 x 16-inch) pizzas I made last week for a dinner party. Since we were expecting four adventurous-eater friends (making six of us in total), I went with one classic Italian (red sauce, sausage, and broccoli rabe) and two wine-bar-esque pies (caramelized onions with brie cheese, and pesto with blue cheese and apples). It was a lot of pizza, but even after a rogue snow storm whittled our party down to four, we still managed to devour most of it. Oh yeah, and since I'd made almost everything ahead of time, there were hardly any dishes to do at the end of the night. File that under "Raving Success."
*PS: Please excuse the dark photo. In all the excitement, I forgot to charge my camera, so John had to take it with his phone instead.*
Figgy Caramelized Onions with Brie
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 medium yellow onions, halved and sliced
- 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons red wine
- 1-1/2 tablespoons fig spread
- 1/2 pound brie cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Make ahead directions: Caramelize the onions using the above quantities and the recipe from the Wino Blue Pizza, stirring in the wine and the fig spread at the end. Let the onions cool to room temperature, then transfer them to an airtight container and refrigerate them until pizza time. When you're ready to make the pizza, microwave the onions for 1 minute to re-melt the butter and make them more spreadable.
Topping order: Thinly slice the brie cheese. Spread the onions on the pizza, leaving a 1/2-inch border of crust all around, then top with the sliced brie. When it comes out of the oven, let it cool slightly, then sprinkle with parsley; slice and serve.
Mint-Walnut Pesto with Blue Cheese and Apple
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped unsalted walnuts, toasted in a dry skillet
- Coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup walnut oil, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 large apple (I used Pink Lady)
- 1/3 pound creamy blue cheese, crumbled (a heaping cup)
Make ahead directions: In a food processor or with a mortar and pestle, grind together the mint, walnuts, a generous pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, the 1/4 cup of walnut oil, and the lemon juice until smooth. If the pesto is too thick, stream in some more walnut oil, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Transfer the pesto to an airtight container, drizzle a little oil on top, and refrigerate until needed.
Topping order: Core and thinly slice the apple. Spread the pesto on the pizza, leaving a 1/2-inch border of crust all around, then top with the blue cheese. When it comes out of the oven, let it cool slightly, then arrange the apple slices on top; slice and serve.
Red Sauce, Italian Sausage, and Broccoli Rabe
- 1 generous cup Slow-Simmered Pizza Sauce (or good-quality store-bought pizza sauce)
- 3/4 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, thick stems discarded, leaves chopped
- 1 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
Make ahead directions: Make the sauce (unless you're going the store-bought route). Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, toss in the broccoli rabe, and blanch it for 2 minutes. Immediately remove the pot from the heat and drain the broccoli rabe. When they are cool enough to handle, transfer the blanched greens to a clean dish towel and wring out as much moisture as you can. Let the sauce, cooked sausage, and cooked (and wrung out) greens cool to room temperature, then transfer them to individual airtight containers and refrigerate until needed.
Topping order: Spread the sauce on the pizza, leaving a 1/2-inch border of crust all around, then top with half of the cheese, the sausage, the broccoli rabe, and finally the other half of the cheese. When it comes out of the oven, let it cool slightly before slicing and serving.