By the time you read this, Sam Sifton will already be on his way to my desk to sigh deeply and shake his head, like the time I said Taco Bell was the best restaurant near The Times’s office. “PIZZA is pizza-flavored,” he will say.
But I’m chasing a thrill here! I want new adventures in melty mozzarella. I want infinite pools of caramelized tomato sauce. More than anything, I want my children to get on board with what we call “eating food for dinner.”
Enter this pizza collection. These recipes have a common thread so broadly appealing that our editors have given some of them a shorthand over the years. For example, Ali Slagle’s wildly popular cheesy white bean-tomato bake is known around the office simply as “pizza beans.” (As in: “It’s cold outside. I’m making pizza beans tonight.”) Priya Krishna calls her tomato rice with crispy Cheddar “pizza in rice form.” And Sohla El-Waylly harnesses the power of New York slice flavors for her truly delicious pizza salad. (There was no other possible name for this salad.)
So there’s not a lot of flavor variety this week. But I think you’ll find these recipes are all keepers: They’re quick and extremely family friendly, and I’m guessing no one is mad at a bunch of nutritious ways to (sort of) eat pizza.
If you want to live dangerously, you could even make one giant vat of tomato sauce to use for two or three of them in one week. If you do, please report back, and cc Sam Sifton because I like when he stops by my desk.
1. Pizza Beans (a.k.a. Cheesy White Bean-Tomato Bake)
Double or even triple the bean-cooking part of this recipe and freeze the extra beans. Then, when you want pizza beans in the future, just pour those thawed beans in a skillet, top with cheese, and you have dinner in 10 minutes.
2. Pizza Chicken (a.k.a. Skillet Chicken With Tomatoes, Pancetta and Mozzarella)
To make this more budget friendly, you can substitute bacon or skip the pancetta entirely. If you skip it, you may want to add a little more salt to taste.
3. Pizza Rice (a.k.a. Tomato Rice With Crispy Cheddar)
This is a great way to revive leftover rice, and it works with canned or fresh tomatoes. If you don’t have a fresh chile on hand, don’t stress. You’ll miss a little something, but you can absolutely use crushed red pepper flakes or a hearty grind of black peppercorns.
4. Pizza Salad
You could make the pepperoni strips and bread crumbs ahead of time to make dinner prep easier. (I might do this, say, in the morning or at lunchtime, then store at room temperature.) And you can definitely make the salad dressing a day or two ahead. Follow Step 3 up to the end, stopping before you mix in the romaine, until it’s time to serve.
5. Pizza Gnocchi (a.k.a. Crispy Gnocchi With Burst Tomatoes and Mozzarella)
In the pizza-flavor family tree, this might be a third cousin because there’s no tomato sauce — just fresh tomatoes that get jammy when cooked. (Using tomato sauce would probably take away from the crispiness you develop on the gnocchi.) But it’s a wow as is.