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Eat For Eight Bucks: Smoked Mozzarella Pizza with Radicchio and Onion Jam

[Photograph: Phoebe Lapine of Big Girls, Small Kitchen]

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.

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