Pizza is my go-to cheap meal whether I'm out and about, or cooking at home. The dough is relatively easy to make from scratch, and if you're really feeling thrifty, this is certainly the way to go. On the other hand, it can also be really easy to pop into your favorite corner joint and pick up a premade ball of dough. My corner pizzeria charges $3 for a large ball, which is a few bucks cheaper (and certainly tastier) that the store-bought frozen varieties.
Making pizza at home becomes a great vehicle for leftovers. I've found some of my most creative and interesting topping combinations by simply dumping a few Tupperware containers on top, adding a lot of cheese, and hoping for the best.
This particular pie is one of the better results of this resourcefulness.
I recommend going through the numerous steps to make two key toppings: onion jam and roasted radicchio. The jam was sitting in my fridge for weeks, and after a few mornings of Fried Egg Sandwiches with Onion Jam, I turned to pizza to use up the remainder.
The jam adds excitement and moisture to an otherwise ordinary white pie, and the sweetness contrasts with the bitterness of the radicchio and smokiness of the mozzarella. Best of all, you can make both toppings in advance and throw the whole things together in less time it takes to order in a pie from the place around the corner.
Shopping List: 1 onion, $0.50; 1 head radicchio, $2; 1/3 pound smoked mozzarella, $2; 1 large ball pizza dough, $3 (If homemade, free!)
Pantry Items: Butter; Sugar; Salt; White Wine; Vinegar; Oil
Total Cost (for 2-4 portions): $7.50; or $4.50, if you make homemade pizza dough
About the authors: Phoebe and Cara are the co-founders of Big Girls, Small Kitchen, a food and cooking website for twenty-something cooks looking for user-friendly, affordable ways to navigate their kitchens. They have a heated, decade-long rivalry about whose Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie is the best. Their book, In The Small Kitchen, will be published in the spring of 2011 by William Morrow. Visit their blog here.
- 1 medium Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 medium head radicchio, cut into ½ inch thick wedges
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large ball pizza dough
- 1/3 pound smoked mozzarella, shredded
Make the jam: Combine the onion, butter, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan with a lid. Saute over medium-low heat, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, add the wine and vinegar and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring slightly more frequently, until there is no liquid left and the onions are soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Let the jam come to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Roast the radicchio: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Toss the radicchio with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven until wilted and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Set aside. (This can be done 1 day ahead).
Raise the oven heat to 500°F. Divide the pizza dough in half and roll or stretch each into thin disks. Brush the dough with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle the cheese over the pizzas, dot with onion jam, and arrange the radicchio on top. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the pizzas are crusty. Cut into slices, or serve each individually on plates.