Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Pizza

I’ve always had this fantasy in my head where I’d eat pizza everyday of my life and I’d never get bored of it. I don’t think you quite understand just how much I love pizza. How deep my admiration for pizza runs. It’s pretty deep. Deeper than any ocean and higher than any mountain, that’s for sure. In my fantasy, everyday would be an entirely new (and entirely delicious) type of pizza. New toppings, along with new crusts and various different cheeses. That’s 365 days of nothing but fun and exciting pizzas. Can you live with that? I can totally live with that. 

Pizza tends to be my go-to dinner whenever I don’t know what to make for supper because I’ve run out of ideas, and I can’t really come up with anything new because all I seem to do is develop recipes for the blog and various other projects I have going on. There’s only so much my imagination can take. So on those nights when I’m simply drawing a blank—and I’ve managed to do nothing but stare into space for about 20 minutes before coming to the conclusion that pizza is the right answer—I end up deciding to make pizza. And it’s not like a, “Fine, I guess we’ll have pizza tonight. Pull my arm why don’t you?” Maybe out loud that’s what it sounds like but in my mind it’s completely different. In my mind, there’s a party going on. Confetti is being thrown around and champagne bottles are being popped open. In my mind it’s like, “YAY!!! Pizza for dinner! This is the best night ever!!! Pizza pizza pizza PIZZA!” 

My pizza preference tends to fluctuate from day to day or week to week. Sometimes simple is the name of the game. My number one favorite topping will always be pepperoni. Just pepperoni. Nothing but pepperoni. I especially go nuts over those tiny pepperoni that curl up a bit while it bakes, causing the edges to get slightly burnt and slightly crisped. It’s the best. At the same time, I do go through these phases where I’m in an adventurous kick, and I can’t get enough of really fancy pizzas with interesting toppings. Like this Brussels sprouts and pancetta pizza for instance. A couple of eggs on top just takes it to a whole new sophisticated level. The moral of this story is that pizza is king. We all should dedicate a day of the week (I’ll even take one day a month) to be a pizza party day. We should be making different kinds of pizza and eating them all like we’re getting paid to do it. Let’s start now with this pizza!

We’re going to begin this recipe by making the crust first, because it takes the longest. The dough has to rest for a bit before we can make the pizzas. This is more of a thin crust, so it’s crispy and crunchy instead of doughy and fluffy. I have another basic pizza dough recipe on the blog (that I shot early at the beginning, so don’t judge the photos). If you’re more of a hand tossed, chewy pizza dough kind of person, feel free to make that one instead. If you’re more of a crispier and crunchier, thin crust type of person, then by all means stick to this one. I’m a fan of both. Pizza is pizza and I’ll take it any way I can get it. I just feel like this pizza is better with a crispier crust, but that’s just me. What do I know? 

Pour the active dry yeast over the warm water. Wait a few minutes to waken it up, then pour in the oil, sugar, and salt. 

**Note: It’s important for the water to be warm enough to activate the yeast. Not too hot that it’ll kill the yeast but also, not too cold that it won’t do anything. I like to run the hot water for a bit then start turning up the cold water and I keep feeling it out until it’s warm enough to bear when I touch it.**

  

Throw in the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough is formed. If it appears to be too dry, add a bit more water (a little at a time) until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes. 

**Tip: You can also mix this with a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Start off at a low speed until the dough comes together, then raise the speed up to high and knead until it’s smooth and elastic and comes away from the sides of the bowl.**

 

Once the dough has been kneaded and it is smooth, form it into a ball and throw it back into the mixing bowl that has been oiled. Turn the dough ball over to coat both sides. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Store in a warm place and allow to double in size, about 1 hour. 

In the meantime, while you wait for the dough, use this opportunity to learn how to juggle. That’s a talent that always comes in handy. Or turn up the music and start dancing around the house. Dancing counts as exercising. Or you can also just start prepping some of the other ingredients in this recipe. Yeah, I guess that makes more sense. But that dancing sure sounds like fun, right?

Peel back the leaves from the Brussels sprouts and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Give them a toss to fully coat and bake in a 425ºF oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until charred and crispy. 

 

The next step is to sauté the diced red onions in a bit of olive oil or butter until they are translucent and a little bit caramelized. Allow them to cool. 

Once the dough has fully rested, divide it in half and roll each half on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out into a large thin circle. Place it on a baking sheet (that has been drizzled with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking and to get the bottom crunchy). Brush the rolled dough with garlic herbed olive oil.*

**Tip: To make the garlic herbed oil: Place the olive oil in a small pot over low heat and throw in a few cloves of garlic (whole) and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Cook on low for about 5 to 10 minutes to develop the flavor. Remove from heat and allow to cool down completely before using.**

Bake the oiled crust in a 500ºF oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until just browned. I know it seems like such a high oven temperature, and it is, but it’s crucial so that you can create that crispy crust and charred top. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the crust to cool down for at least five minutes before topping it. 

Okay, so we’re now going to start sprinkling on the toppings. I’m not a fan of crispy thin crust pizza with a heavy sauce. I think it makes the pizza too dense.

**Tip: I personally like the fact that this pizza doesn’t have a sauce. If you want to though, you can add a store bought pizza sauce, or marinara or pesto to it.**

We’re going to use two kinds of cheeses. Mozzarella and freshly grated pecorino. Add plenty of both. Make it rain down cheese like if your life depends on it. Remind yourself that there can never be too much cheese while you do it, too. No such thing exists. You add that cheese. 

 

Arrange the Brussels sprout leaves and sautéed red onions on top of the cheese, dividing each among both pizzas. 

 

Add the thinly sliced pancetta slices on each of the pizzas and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes until the crust is golden brown, the cheese has melted and the top has crisped up a bit. 

**Note: Before baking, try to make two “holes” in the center of the pizza (spaced out a bit) to make room for the eggs later on.**

 

Crack an egg into each of those holes you made before baking. You can add two or three eggs on top of your pizza, depending on how much egg you’d like. Return the pizza to the oven and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, or longer depending on how cooked you like your eggs. I like the yolk runny so I don’t cook the eggs too much. 

 

You can sprinkle the finished pizza pie with a bit more grated pecorino or a few cracks of black pepper, if you’d like. Or you can just enjoy it the way it is, because it’s incredibly delicious and surprisingly light. Not light like it’s diet food but light because there’s not a heavy sauce on it. 

Cut the pizza, breaking the egg yolks when you do it so that it runs throughout the pizza slices. That’s the best part of this pizza. I love runny egg yolks. Especially when there’s some kind of bread to mop it up. The crust mops it up. 

You can eat the pizza hot out of the oven, or you can eat it at room temperature. It’s the perfect brunch dish because you can make a bunch and just serve them at room temperature. It’s still just as delicious. Although, I do have to admit that one of my favorite things in this world is eating cold pizza. It’s so delicious. I feel like most foods can be eaten cold, for that matter, and they’re just as good. Like pizza. Or fried chicken. Or any chicken, really. The only thing I hate eating cold is soup. No, just no. Soup should always be hot. I can’t get behind cold soup, sorry. Anyhow, like I was saying, this pizza is delicious cold. But it’s also the bee’s knees hot. 

I think it’s safe to say that this is the healthiest pizza I’ll ever make. I mean it’s loaded with Brussels sprouts. That’s a veggie, it’s healthy. And we’re getting our protein from the pancetta and the eggs. Protein is good for us. Sure it’s loaded with cheese and we’re eating it all on a crispy piece of bread, essentially, but by George I’m saying it’s healthy so healthy it is. Either way, make this pizza for your next adult pizza party. Although I’m sure kids will like it too. Pizza party for everyone. Enjoy! 

Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Pizza
A homemade crunchy thin crust is topped with cheese, crispy Brussels sprouts, pancetta, red onions and a couple of eggs. It's the perfect pizza for any brunch, lunch or dinner!
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Prep Time
2 hr 30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
2 hr 50 min
Prep Time
2 hr 30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
2 hr 50 min
Ingredients
  1. ¾ cup warm water
  2. 2¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
  3. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  6. 7 tablespoons olive oil
  7. 3 garlic cloves
  8. 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  9. 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  12. 1 red onion, diced
  13. 4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  14. ¼ cup pecorino cheese, grated
  15. ½ pound thinly sliced pancetta
  16. 4 large eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl combine the warm water and yeast. Lightly stir and allow to rest for about 5 minutes. Add the salt, sugar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a shaggy dough. Add a bit more water, a little at a time, if the dough is too dry. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 5 to 7 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, that has been greased and turn it over to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap, loosely, and a damp kitchen towel. Set in a warm place to double in size, about 1 hour.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the other toppings. Separate the Brussels sprout leaves and throw them onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Toss to evenly coat and roast in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the leaves are crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  4. Sauté the diced red onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper, for about 5 minutes, or until translucent and slightly browned. Allow to cool down.
  5. In a small pot heat the remaining (¼ cup) olive oil with the whole garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Cook on low for about 5 to 10 minutes to develop the flavor. Remove from heat and allow to cool down.
  6. Cut the dough in half and roll out each half on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a large thin circle. Place each rolled pizza crust onto two baking sheets. Brush the crusts liberally with the garlic herb infused oil. Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Sprinkle each dough with the mozzarella and pecorino cheese, dividing it among both crusts. Top with the crispy Brussels sprouts, and sautéed onions. Lay a couple slices of pancetta on each pizza. Bake for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese and continue to brown the crust.
  7. Remove the pizzas from the oven and crack two eggs onto each pizza. Return to the oven and continue to cook for another 5 minutes (for runny yolks). Remove from the oven and cut into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. yields: 2 medium pizzas
The Candid Appetite http://www.thecandidappetite.com/

Comments

  1. avatar says

    I agree pepperoni…but..this! I’m so making this for me because I love brussels sprouts – and an egg topper makes almost everything better. My daughter graduated from high school this weekend and I made your Shepherds Pie recipe. Best ever!! I also planned on making your ice cream breakfast recipe, because bacon, waffles and ice cream are three of her favs, but, alas I didn’t have time. Looking forward to that one as well. Love your recipes!! Thank you.

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