Think Beyond The Red Sauce For Your Next Homemade Pizza

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Homemade pizza isn't just great because pizza is delicious, it's great because it opens up so many opportunities for fun and experimentation. Grab a pizza from your local take-out spot and the most unusual topping might be pineapple or barbecue sauce. But at home the only limits are your imagination and what's in your pantry. Do pickles work on pizza? What about apples? There's only one way to find out. All that potential creativity is why we reached out to pizza expert and author of The Joy Of Pizza: Everything You Need to Know, Dan Richer, to ask him about how he mixes up his recipes, and he had some great suggestions that go beyond just crafting inspired pizza toppings.

Richer told us that some of his favorite and most creative pizzas have swapped out the standard red tomato sauce for richer or creamier alternatives. Richer says, "I love béchamel or even just a drizzle of heavy cream to provide some moisture." Sounds like a tasty variation on a classic white pizza. Even more special was a pie Richer enjoyed that incorporated pork broth for a succulent meaty base. "One of my favorite pizzas was inspired by the soup dumpling, which uses gelatinized pork broth that melts in the oven and turns into a rich pork sauce," he said. With a culinary tradition as diverse as pizza making, there are tons of choices out there to mix up the sauce and create a truly unique and memorable pie.

Dan Richer suggests trying a tomato sauce alternative on your pizza that is creamy, rich, and more

Like Richer and his dumpling pizza, one of the best ways to think outside the tomato sauce box is to look to a pre-existing dish for inspiration. White sauces provide plenty of room for experimentation, and while there are more obvious choices like a creamy, cheesy Alfredo, consider authentic Italian dishes and you'll quickly see the potential in a garlicky cacio e pepe sauce. A decidedly less traditional idea, but no less interesting, is whipping up some spinach and artichoke dip for a sauce that can carry a pizza all by itself. More savory options include things like onion jam and hoisin sauce, or you can make a Mexican-Italian fusion with a base of refried beans.

Your alternative pizza sauces don't have to be rich and heavy of course. Pesto is always a popular choice for pizza, and its different variations work just as well. Try a fresh chimichurri sauce with extra virgin olive oil for a light, herby base that complements all kinds of meats. A more decadent version of pesto is a pistachio sauce, which brings a buttery richness and crunch unlike anything else. Pizza dough can really offer a blank canvas perfect for showing off almost any combination of flavors, and it all starts with the sauce.