Gorgonzola Pecan Pizza

When I was about 13, my Italian grandmother came up from Cape Cod to visit us in Saratoga. This in itself was strange to me at the time, because the lady was in her eighties, and we always went to visit her. But what really made her visit so memorable for me was the pizza she made us. It was unlike any pizza I had ever had or seen before. A very unexpected combination of flavors and textures, she topped her white pizza with crumbled gorgonzola, chopped pecans, and sliced red grapes.

Looking back now, it probably wasn't as strange as my 13 year old self thought it was, but as we all know, teenagers are notoriously picky about their pizza toppings. I distinctly remember not really liking it at the time, but eating it anyway. When Nana comes to visit and makes you a pizza, you eat that damn pizza no matter what she puts on it, or else you suffer the consequences.

She's getting the last laugh though, because when I think about that pizza now, my mouth starts to water and I get the strong urge to go out and buy all the necessary ingredients.

I've always just referred to this as "Nana's Pizza." I don't really know what else to call it, and I've never seen it prepared anywhere else other than my own kitchen. It's an odd mix of flavors, but when combined, they're nothing short of delicious. Something about the tang of the gorgonzola, the warm sweetness of the grapes, and the toasty crunch of the pecans makes for a very satisfying bite.

She passed away over 12 years ago, and I've since made the pizza several times in her memory. I'm quite sure she knew I didn't like it 17 years ago, but hopefully she knows now that I love it. The caramelized onions are my addition. I find they add a little bit of a savory component, which complements the other toppings very nicely.

Who puts pecans and grapes on a pizza?! Old Italian ladies. That's who. And they're freaking geniuses for it.

Ingredients

Preparation

  1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook slowly so that they caramelize, about 30 minutes. Add small amounts of water as necessary to keep the onions from drying out or burning.
    I like to alternate adding splashes of water and balsamic vinegar when I caramelize onions. The vinegar reduces in the pan and sweetens the flavor of the onions.
  2. Once the onions have softened up and reached a rich, brown color, remove them from the pan and set aside to cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 500 °F. The hotter the oven, the thinner the crust.
  4. Roll (or stretch/toss) the pizza dough into desired shape and place on pizza stone (or cookie sheet).
  5. Brush dough with olive oil and sprinkle with minced garlic.
  6. Scatter prepared onions, grapes, pecans, and gorgonzola crumbles over the pizza.
    Get your Jackson Pollock on, girl.
  7. Throw that bad boy in your super hot onion and bake it, for about 7-10 minutes, or to your desired level of pizza doneness. And then call your grandma. She misses you.
Basically, every Italian wine you can think of will be delightful with this pizza, so just pick your favorite!