Pizza is magic. Pizza is medicine. Pizza is a constant, a lighthouse on a stormy night. So we’d say it’s a fantastic time for a ‘za or two. While some of you out there have never had more free time on your hands, others are scrambling to keep up between work and family. So we’ve got pizza — and wine — inspiration for any situation.
Making your own pizza dough is a sensory pleasure. It’s also easier than you think with just a few simple ingredients. (Looking for a recipe? Philly pie maestro Joe Beddia just released his roadmap as an act of goodwill.) You do need to plan ahead as most methods call for at least a night in the fridge to build extra flavor. Don’t overthink the sauce: We typically use a raw version made with good canned tomatoes. It will cook on the pie and provide a punch of acid. Slice up fresh mozzarella and finish with parmesan cheese. Here are a couple topping ideas for your homestyle masterpiece along with wine suggestions to take your meal to the next level.
Kale and Lemon Zest: Fresh kale will actually crisp up on the pizza, creating a delightful textural sensation. You can use a red sauce with this pie, or mix up a blend of cream, lemon zest, and fresh herbs. Pair it with a crisp Grüner Veltliner, which will draw out the grassiness of the kale and underline the dish’s punchy acidity.
Fresh Sausage: Some things are classics for a reason. If you can, splurge on a high-quality sausage since the rendered fat will season the whole pie as it cooks. Pair your meaty wonder with the classic pizza wine: Pinot Noir. The grape’s enchanting combination of lightness, fruitiness, and earthiness will make the flavors of the pie sing.
Here’s a delicious option for those with less free time. Pick up a ball of dough at the supermarket (pizzerias will also often sell their dough), top it with some jarred sauce, shredded cheese, and the toppings of your choice. You’ve got a quick and easy dinner that will make everyone smile. Bonus: Playing “pizza chef” will occupy the kiddos for at least five minutes.
Barbecue Chicken: Grab a bottle of barbecue sauce from the pantry, add some shredded rotisserie chicken, and some thinly sliced red onion for a homemade version of this new American classic. Pair your sweet and tangy pie with a bottle of oak-aged Chardonnay. The warming notes from the barrel will bring out similar flavors from the barbecue sauce.
Peppers, Mushrooms, and Onions: This veggie-lovers pie is a great one to decorate with the family. In fact, everyone can top their own section to keep complaints to a minimum. Black olives would be another appealing addition for those who come down on the pro side of that divide. Here we suggest a bottle of Chambourcin — the hybrid grape produces wines that are fruity, herbaceous, and dry, with mild tannins and high acidity. For those in the know, this also falls under the category of “classic pizza wine.”
Long day? Give yourself a break and pop your favorite brand of frozen pie in the oven.
Pepperoni: Great pizza topping or greatest pizza topping? The spicy funk of these cured, sliced salamis calls for a bold, spicy red. We recommend Noiret. This wine varietal is known for its rich red color, black pepper aromas, and dark fruit flavor profile. It will add complexity to even the most blah ‘za.
Three Cheese: When cheese becomes the main topping, it usually means the addition of stronger styles such as cheddar, pecorino, parmesan, or goat cheese. We suggest opening a bottle of off-dry white such as Vignoles. The wine’s flavors of honey and grapefruit peel will support the savory cheese, while the wine’s high acidity will lighten everything up.
While most of us are cooking at home more than ever before, it’s important to support local businesses like restaurants and wineries. Dial up your neighborhood pizzeria, tip generously, and enjoy the night off. No topping suggestions here: Just go for your absolute favorite. Same goes for wine — wineries across the state are offering curbside pickup and expanded online ordering.