Serious Eats: Recipes

Meat Lite: Potato and Sausage Pizza

[Photograph: Tara Mataraza Desmond]

A few weeks ago I gave a friend a verbal whupping for calling a concoction he'd made of vegetables and melted cheese atop a piece of naan a pizza. On any given day, this guy is Mr. Italian American, gushing about Sunday "gravy" and salty meat and cheese sandwiches, so I was flabbergasted by his irreverent pizza misnomer.

"Pizza," though, has already been stretched thin by recipe adaptations. There are saag paneer pizzas, ramen pizzas, Pizzaritos, and French pizzas, to name a few. The intent isn't to oust authentic Italian originals (or Italian-American iterations) but to underscore the infallibility that the culinary basics of a pizza--breadlike bottom and toppings, fired in a hot oven--are genius and almost ubiquitously appreciated. My friend's naan creation is another case and point.

Pizza, the concept, is also a perfect palette for Meat Lite concoctions. It might be called a pepperoni pie, but those spicy discs share the stage with the other pivotal toppings. A few slices of salami make this Meat Lite Antipasto Pizza just meaty enough under peppery arugula and other veggies. Mushrooms carry the bulk of the meat texture with a few crumbles of sausage on this Mushroom, Sausage, Goat Cheese and Chive Grilled Pizza. And my coauthor, Joy Manning, and I couldn't close the recipe index in our book without including a pizza; our Almost Meatless version is Chicken Pizza with Arugula Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

I suppose I'm mostly a purist when it comes to classic pizza as any formal definition describes it, which puts me on defense in the face of newfangled pizza inventions. I scoffed at a potato pizza the first time I heard of one, but then I tasted it and it sort of shut me up a little.

So, Grande, you make your naan pizza and I'll save you a piece of this Potato and Sausage Pizza with Shallots and Fontina, and we'll call it a truce over a few slices in South Philly.

About the author: Tara Mataraza Desmond writes about, cooks, and eats food for a living. She blogs about food and life through words and pictures at Crumbs on My Keyboard.

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