Strawberry Pizza with Bacon and Caramelized Onions.
I’m putting strawberries on your pizza and don’t even be mad about it.
I know exxxxactly what you are thinking when it comes to this pizza. WELL THAT’S JUST WEIRD.
Right? I’m sure weird has crossed your mind, at the least. Probably other interesting words that I could list if I had a thesaurus.
But hear me out. I thought the same thing at first too. In fact, in took me a few days to come around. Let me tell you the story!
Every year when we come back from northern Michigan, I’m insanely inspired to make a few dishes that I had and this past trip was no different. I almost always recreate something that I’ve eaten at Café Sante. Like, always. We stay in walking distance from the restaurant and in previous years, we’ve eaten a meal there EVERY SINGLE DAY.
It’s just so freaking good.
SO! That’s what happened again. On our first night there, I saw that there was a strawberry pizza on their specials menu. They feature a produce-special each month and I was super excited we were going in June since 1. I’m obsessed with all things strawberry and 2. It had been over ten years since we were there in June, so I never had their June menu! YES these are the insane things I think about.
Anyhoo. I saw that pizza and was like… huh. That’s weird. Like really weird. I don’t think I can do it. Not in the mood. Strawberries in a savory salad, yes, but on my pizza? Meh. Not into in.
Um. Well. The moment that we left? I regretted my no-pizza decision. Don’t get me wrong, the meal I had was amazing but I couldn’t get the freaking pizza out of my head. I was obsessed with the idea. To a crazy extent.
We didn’t make it back until the end of the week and I got the pizza.
It was one of the best, most memorable things I have ever eaten. I was so mad that it was our last night because it meant that I couldn’t take the leftovers. UGH. The flavor was just absolutely insane. It was also almost a fork-and-knife pizza because it was so loaded with ingredients and strawberry balsamic, but once it cooled, the slices were easy to pick up.
And that is how this pizza came into my life.
The moment I got home it was the first thing on my list to make, and make it I did. AND IT TASTED JUST AS GOOD. I had jotted down the ingredients list on the menu but was afraid some secret thing would be missing from the list. Nope nope nope. Pretty sure we nailed it here.
Here’s the rundown!
The cheese is mostly ricotta but there is also some mozzarella mixed in. Super creamy and wonderful.
There are caramelized onions that I LEGIT caramelized for over an hour. Super sweet and caramely and wonderful. And they are not too sweet, because…
There is also bacon on the pizza! Now, bacon and I are having a weird thing this pregnancy. I mean, I’m normally fairly picky about bacon and I want it to be super crispy but at this stage in my life I cannot even begin to stomach slightly uncooked bacon. Like chewy pieces that someone would put on pizza, UNDER the ingredients, so it doesn’t crisp? Oh hell no. Get it away from me.
Therefore, I made sure to crisp my bacon up first before it went on the pizza. Lots of flavor!
Then strawberries, of course.
BUT. The best part might be the strawberry balsamic drizzle that I made from scratch so it would be super flavorful. It was SO good. Super briney and tart drizzled over creamy cheese and smoky, crunchy bacon and sweet onions and strawberries. WHAT.
It’s a flavor lover’s dream come true! Trussst me.
- 1 1/8 cups warm water
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 slices bacon chopped
- 1 sweet onion thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 6 ounces mozzarella cheese freshly grated
- 1 pint strawberries hulled and halved
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- fresh basil and oregano for topping
- 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
- 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in 2 1/2 cups flour and salt, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but is still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work in the additional 1/2 cup flour, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Rub the same bowl with olive oil then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1-1 1/2 hours.
While the dough is rising, heat the bacon in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until semi-crispy and the fat is just rendered, then remove it with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain any excess grease. Keep the skillet over low heat and add the sliced onions. Toss well, adding another pinch of salt. Cover and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally and making sure the onions aren’t burning, for 45 to 60 minutes. Halfway through the caramelization process is when I stir in the garlic.
After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Using a rolling pin or your hands, form it into your desired shape (sometimes I use baking sheets and do rectangles or free form pizzas – this specific dough will yield one pizza large enough to feed about 3-4 people) and place on a baking sheet or pizza pan. Place the towel back over the dough and let sit in the warm place for 10 minutes.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. (If I use my pizza stone, I heat my oven to 475 degrees and bake for 15 minutes. If you’re just using a baking sheet, follow the directions below for baking and set to 425 degrees.)
Begin to make your pizza! Cover your dough with the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Evenly disperse the halved strawberries, caramelized onions and bacon. You can drizzle a little of the balsamic reduction on now too, but I also like to put it on after.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (or around 15 to 20 minutes if using the pizza stone) until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and top with a sprinkle of parmesan, fresh basil and oregano. Devour!
Place the chopped strawberries in a food processor or blender and blend until pureed.
Heat the strawberries and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the mixture reduces by half of the amount – about 8 to 10 minutes. Set it aside and let cool until ready to use. Be sure to watch this carefully so it doesn’t boil over!
NOW do you get me?!