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Five Easy Pizzas

This Italian favorite can be simple or exotic.

Here’s a look at how five operators put their own spin on ’za.

Larry Laliberte
Executive Chef Yahoo! (Bon Appétit)
Sunnyville, CA

"All of our pizzas (by the slice or individual) are made from scratch and we bake them exhibition style in the cafeteria.

One of the most popular is a ricotta stuffed pizza. We make it by starting out with a thin crust, and top it with ricotta cheese. Then we top that with another thin crust and finish it off with pesto, grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms. The green pesto makes a nice contrast to the thin white stripe of ricotta cheese that is visible when you slice the pizza.

"This fall, we’ll be offering piadinis. We’ll take our fresh pizza dough and roll it out tortilla style. We’ll bake it quickly in the oven and then fold it up taco-style and serve it warm filled with one of our composed salads, like a Caesar or a Southwestern salad."

Pat Brussack
Dietary Specialist
University of Georgia, Athens

"At our Giorgio’s pizza station in Snelling Hall, we offer a variety of pizzas, including basics like pepperoni and cheese as well as specialty pizzas, including Roma Bacon and Cheeseburger pizzas.

"The Roma Bacon style was developed by Snelling Manager Wayne Fair. It includes mozzarella cheese, bacon, roma tomatoes and fresh basil. The Cheeseburger pizza was created by one of our managers with help from one of our pizza dough suppliers. It includes ground beef, onions, catsup, mustard, cheddar cheese and dill pickle slices.

"As for our pizza crusts, we use a basic 16" sheeted frozen crust which requires proofing. We believe this product is more flavorful and has a better texture than product that doesn’t require proofing, and it allows our pizza makers to shape the edges of the pizza crusts into beautiful signature rope edging."

Andy Lackmann
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Lackmann Culinary Services
Woodbury, New York

"We have our own self-branded pizza concept called Oliva, and in developing the concept, we looked for ways to set our product apart from that served by national branded chains.

To do so, we start with a proprietary crust that is similar in taste and texture to focaccia bread. We shape it into a rectangle and slice it into 6 large pieces, which sell for about $2 depending on the account. This shape offers several advantages. It has great eye-appeal because of its shape and because the slices are so large. It is also better for self-service because it’s less messy than traditional round pizzas.

"As for toppings, we offer a wide variety, from pepperoni and sausage to smoked duck breast with wild mushrooms. We also make our own pizza sauce.

"How popular is our pizza? At Hofstra University, we sell 900 slices per day."

Patty Guist
Director of Food Services
Humana, Inc., Green Bay, WI

"We offer a variety of pizzas, both for eating in and for take-home (available baked or unbaked). Our individual pizzas are very popular, especially the specialty flavors. We recently added including Spinach and Ricotta, Taco, Barbecued Chicken and Chicken Ranch. On days these pizza are offered, we’ll sell just under 200 of them.

Mary Kimbrough,R.D.
Director of Nutrition Services
Zale Lipshy University Hospital, Dallas

"The best selling pizzas in our c-store are pepperoni, sausage and vegetable. For our catering operation, we serve pizzas with more interesting topping combinations such as a Greek pizza with feta cheese and kalamata olives or a Southwestern roasted vegetable pizza with grilled corn, green chilis and chicken.

"As for crusts, we used to make our own but there are so many really good prepared crusts on the market, why would we make our own?"

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