We’re a nation that loves pizza. And why wouldn’t we? Quick in the oven, perfect for involving the kids and the ideal sofa dinner at the weekend, pizza is one of those crowd-pleasing meals that’s as versatile as it is delicious. But rather than fall back on the classic pepperoni, ham and pineapple (controversial), Parma and olive, pimp up those bases with toppings that will challenge your perceptions of what a good pizza can be.
Roasted red peppers, harissa olives, wild garlic, yes! But what about spicy ‘nduja or a British version of mozzarella? These are five of our favourite pizza topping ingredients you have to try for yourself.
1. British Mozzarella
We love a creamy, thick-outer-skinned ball of mozzarella, but we don’t love the air miles. Luckily for us, Laverstoke Park Farm over in Hampshire is challenging its Italian competitors with a British mozzarella that’s just as fresh and creamy – if not more so – than the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana D.O.P from Italy’s Campania region. “Our mozzarella is 100% organic and our animals spend more time in the fields than buffalo do in Italy. Plus, we can get our mozzarella to the customer the day we make it”, says cheese-maker Jody Scheckter.
How to top your pizza: tear mozzarella onto a tomato-based pizza, finish with basil leaves and black pepper and bake for 10 minutes at 180°C. Some of the best things in life are simple.
This one’s perfect for those who like it spicy. ‘Nduja is a fatty meat loaded with chillies so it’s not for the light-hearted. Hailing from Calabria in Italy, this spicy sausage has been adapted by London-based charcuterie makers, Black Hand. It’s as good on a cheeseboard as it is dotted over pizza with a tomato passata base and creamy mozzarella. As it cooks, ‘nduja literally melts its chilli-fat deliciousness into your base. Unreal. Bake for 10 minutes at 180°C.
Not just for vegans, jackfruit has the texture of artichoke hearts and a sweet taste that lends itself to BBQ sauce. Combine the two and smother your BBQ jackfruit onto a pizza base with roasted red peppers, halved cherry tomatoes and mozzarella for a kicking sweet-but-savoury flavour combo. If you’re avoiding dairy, vegan mozzarella works well here, too. Whack it in the oven for 10 minutes at 180°C. Perfection.
British charcuterie is having a moment and it’s a movement that’s only getting bigger, spearheaded by butchers, farmers, and curious cooks across the UK. With particular attention paid towards heritage animal breeds, ethics and sustainability, charcuterie is the ultimate artisan product and we’re big fans of tearing it onto pizza. Marsh Pig are the guys behind this delicious bresaola, made using rare breed cattle from East Anglia, marinated with rosemary, thyme, and juniper berry.
Top your pizza base with tomato sauce, bresaola, mushrooms, and mozzarella (in that order) and pop it into the oven for 8 minutes at 180°C. Or why not swap in other British cured meats, like this truffle-infused lardo or Somerset cider chorizo.
Yep, you read that right. We really do want you to put potato on your pizza. Cut your potatoes (we used Maris piper) nice and thin and parboil for about 5 minutes so they’re soft enough to pierce with a fork, but not so soft that they’re falling apart. Lay onto your pizza base instead of the usual tomato, and grate Parmesan over the top. Top with mushrooms, roasted garlic, truffle oil, and even more Parmesan and cook for 10 minutes at 180°C. It’s a special one.