Operators tell us what they’re using in 2019
Every year, we ask operators to tell us their favorite new ingredient. In the past, operators have gone from the benign –– like taco meat –– to the less traditional (quail eggs were not easy to find out of season!). Here are some new ideas for the upcoming year.
Tony Cerimele, New Columbus Pizza Co., Nesquehoning,
Marinated Italian long hot peppers
For me, it’s a staple food I grew up eating. I like to shave them on a mandolin and marinate them in vinegar, garlic and other spices. Then we put them on some of our pies for extra spice. Sometimes we roast them and use them for Italian hoagies. People love them.
Adam M. Tucker: Mifflin Pizza, Mifflinville, Pennsylvania
Chicken bacon honey barbecue is a big one lately. We’ve had a lot of fried chicken breast pizzas this year. Chicken with bacon and any kind of wing sauce is a real hot seller this year and people seem to be gravitating toward white pizza this year as well.
Jeff Bekavac, chief culinary officer at Cane Rosso, Dallas, Texas
At all of our restaurants, we make our own burrata –– which is fresh mozzarella that is stuffed with a mixture of cream and curds. This filling is called straciatella. It’s really rich! We have started using it throughout the restaurant as it’s a really good offset for the acidity of tomatoes or for spicy/bitter elements. We use it as a topping for meatballs, on our “dope toasts” (aka bruschetta), and on our Lil’ Troy pizza to balance out the spicy cherry peppers we use.
Tony Gemignani, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco, California
Operators often refer to giardiniera as a common garnish for an Italian Beef sandwich but it’s absolutely spectacular on a pizza. Giardiniera is a combination of pickled vegetables such as peppers, carrot, cauliflower, celery and olives. I prefer mine in oil and they can come mild or hot. Giardiniera can complement any type of pizza.
Brad Rocco: Bexley Pizza Plus, Bexley, Ohio
A new pizza topping that’s on our menu is caramelized onions. We devised a method to cook these in our deck ovens and it’s worked out great. We feature them as an ingredient on a few specialty pizzas, like our “Co2” with white onions, caramelized onions, spicy sausage and fresh basil on a roasted garlic white sauce. Our “Lorraine” features applewood smoked bacon, spinach, caramelized onions and Swiss on our house red sauce.
Daniel Saccone, owner of Saccone’s Pizza & Subs in Austin, Texas
Smoked peppered bacon
I first used this product in 2016 at the Pizza Pizzazz Competition in Columbus, Ohio, placing second overall. I then took it to Pizza Expo in Vegas, winning the Southwest and placing fourth overall in Traditional Pizza. In 2018 I again won the Southwest and placed in the top six overall. In 2019 I placed 2nd in the International category for Traditional Pizza and was a finalist in Pizza Pizzazz. Every one had this ingredient on it!
Anthony Cascarino: Cascarino’s Brick Oven Pizzeria & Ristorante in Montgomery, New York
The one new ingredient I’m using all over my menu is duck. Making it as a confit, it’s an amazing addition to any seasonal dish … but using it as a pizza topping is truly phenomenal. We make a pizza using duck confit, baby arugula and Gorgonzola cheese. We make the shell of the pizza with the gorgonzola and some mozzarella. Add a little confit after and let it cook into the shell. Then once at 100 percent, add the fresh crispy arugula and more duck. It melts right into those greens and mixes with the Gorgonzola, not only smelling great but tasting fantastic.
Mike Bausch: Andolini’s Pizza, Tulsa, Oklahoma
I love pistachios. I love them on a Napoletana pizza. I love them in my pesto mix. I love them chopped on top of salads. It’s an underused under appreciated ingredient that has many uses and tastes fantastic.
Brian Weavel: Anna’s Pizza & Pasta, Winnebago, Illinois
I love the contrast that sauerkraut brings. It goes great on pizza with beef, sausage or Canadian bacon. I’m a fan!
Carl Hixon, Pensacola, Florida
We are making a flat bread gyro with diced tomatoes, gyro meat and onions, feta, taziki sauce and melted cheddar. It sells very well!
Jon Doemel, ZaRoni’s A Macaroni and Pizza Pub in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
We use barbecue and ranch (dressing) for the sauce and top it with mushrooms, onions, brisket and pepper jack cheese. We finish it with coleslaw. This flavor has had by far the best reviews we ever had and sales have been fantastic. Don’t be afraid to put the slaw right on the pizza!
Gwen Page, Fong’s Pizza in Des Moines, Iowa
We really enjoy our sliced beefsteak. It’s a versatile and flavorful product that we use for our very popular Fongolian Beef pizza, served at all three stores. It contains beef steak, green & red peppers, and green onions tossed in a Mongolian-inspired sauce; served steaming hot over our handmade crust layered with mozzarella. We also use it as mojo beef (marinated in lime juice, kosher salt, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro) for our Street Taco pizza at our new Cedar Rapids store that opened in May 2018.
William Walker: Old Shawnee Pizza, Shawnee, Kansas
We have started using tater tots on a Totzza Pizza. We use ranch dressing as the sauce, tater tots, bacon, green onions and covered in cheese, and then when it comes out of the oven we top it with a spicy nacho cheese.