The best pizza I’ve ever eaten was in a nondescript strip mall outside of Madison, Wisconsin. It’s squeezed between a tattoo parlor and a bank, and if you aren’t looking for it specifically, you’ll likely miss it entirely. While I’ve ordered at least eight different varieties from the restaurant’s menu, my absolute favorite is the Carbonara Pizza.
The pizza joint in question is Salvatore’s Tomato Pies. Even after moving an hour away to Milwaukee, Ben and I still drive there on occasion to relive the cheesy magic. The crust is perfection, the topping combinations are creative without being off-putting or strange, and all of the ingredients are sourced from local farms. Salvatore’s pizza is better than any I’ve eaten in any major city, including New York. The restaurant will even let your order each half of your pizza with a different topping combo so you can try a wider variety.
To maximize our pizza palooza, Ben and I always order two pizzas, each with two different topping combos. Three of our four topping selections will vary, with one very important exception: the Carbonara. I insist we order it every single time.
Carbonara Pizza is…would it be too trite for me to call it heaven on a crust? Perhaps, but it is the truth. Carbonara Pizza is heaven on a crust, sprinkled with angel dust, and deserves its own theme music. It is THAT tasty.
What Is a Carbonara Pizza?
Since we don’t make the trip back to Salvatore’s nearly as often as we crave its pizza, I decided to come up with my own version of Carbonara Pizza to make at home. I’m excited to report that today’s copycat recipe is every bit as decadent and addictive as the original, no road trip required.
The key toppings for this Carbonara Pizza are earthy mushrooms sautéed with a generous portion of garlic, melty cheese (two types), black pepper, thick, crispy bacon, and most important of all, sunny, runny eggs.
If you’ve never experienced a pizza with an egg, I am begging you to try it. When the yolk breaks, it transforms into a luscious sauce that blends with the cheese, and it makes the pizza that much more decadent. The egg is the “it” factor that makes this Carbonara Pizza truly special.
In addition to their brilliant ingredient combinations, Salvatore’s pizzas are also exceptional for their ingredient quality. I followed the example at home by using locally made mozzarella and eggs from Phil’s Fresh Eggs, a family-owned company with which I partner to create monthly recipes. All of Phil’s hens are humanely raised, fed an all-vegetarian diet, and even live on the original family farm. You can see the difference in quality in the color of the yolks (just look at that bright, happy yellow!), and you can taste it too.
For the Carbonara Pizza crust, I used my favorite foolproof homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. If you’ve never tried making pizza crust from scratch, this is an excellent starter recipe because it’s almost impossible to fail. For a shortcut, good-quality store-bought pizza crust works well too.
My one true Carbonara Pizza request is that you do not skip the egg, even if the idea of egg on a pizza weirds you out a little bit. I promise you, it is delicious. While I prefer the egg yolks runny, you can also cook the eggs through, if that is your style. The eggs’ flavor will be more pronounced, so the final result will be more reminiscent of a breakfast pizza versus the creamier carbonara, but it will still be absolutely magnificent.
More Delicious Pizza Recipes
Recommended Tools to Make This Pizza
- All-purpose rimmed baking sheet (I also love using this pizza stone)
- Parchment paper (ideal for transferring the pizza to and from the baking sheet or stone to the cutting board—I bake the pizza right on top of it)
- 1/2 recipe Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, 1 crust (or your favorite pizza dough recipe or store-bought dough—enough to yield one 11x14-inch pizza)
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon roughly diced
- 8 ounces sliced cremini baby bella mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 1/2 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese divided
- 3 large Phil's Fresh Eggs
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly chopped parsley for serving
- Prepare the pizza dough up until the point when you are ready to roll it out and bake (if making Weeknight Whole Wheat Pizza Crust, you can find the directions here.)
- Place a rack in the top-most position of your oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (if using a pizza stone, preheat the stone also). If your oven does not heat this high, preheat to the highest possible setting.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium low. Once the skillet is hot, add the diced bacon and cook until crisp-tender and the fat has rendered, about 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate and lightly pat dry. Discard all but 2 teaspoons of bacon fat from the skillet, then increase the heat to medium high. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll and stretch the dough into a 13-inch circle (if using a pizza stone or round pizza pan) or an 11x14-inch rectangle (if using a baking sheet). If using a pizza stone, for easy transfer, lift the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper set on the back of a baking sheet. (If using a baking sheet, line your pan with parchment paper and place the dough on that). Sprinkle the dough with the mozzarella, half of the Parmesan, and all of the bacon and mushrooms, leaving a 1-inch border around all sides. Make small wells in the center of the toppings for the eggs. One at a time, crack the eggs into a small bowl, then carefully pour into the wells. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. If using a pizza stone, carefully slide the pizza (paper and all) onto the stone.
- Bake the pizza on the top rack until the crust is golden, the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the eggs are almost (but not quite) cooked all the way through, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand a few minutes. Sprinkle generously with black pepper, then top with fresh parsley. Enjoy immediately.
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