Okay, I’m about to wade into dangerous territory. Pineapple on pizza. Delicious? Gross? Depraved? Today’s Hot Hawaiian Pizza should give you a clear idea of where my allegiances lie. There are a lot of feelings surrounding this issue. And honestly, the passion of those opposed to the fruit’s fraternization with pizza has kind of scared me into silence, but no more. I believe that as long as pork products belong on pizza, pineapple has a place there too. Pineapple and pork are in a committed, long-term relationship, where pork goes so go the pineapple. BUT, having said that, there is a right way and a wrong way to invite fruit to your pizza party. This Hot Hawaiian Pizza is, in my opinion, the best way to eat pineapple on pizza. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
I kind of get the whole “pineapple pizza is evil” thing. The reason I understand it is because I used to believe it. I hated Hawaiian pizza during my formative years. I was perplexed by its appeal and status as a “classic” pizza. Bear in mind that at this point in my life I ate my meals in sections, working my way from peas and corn (least favorite), to mashed potatoes (favorite). So, I wasn’t exactly working with an advanced palette.
It wasn’t until I discovered the wonders of the salty/sweet combo that I came around. Somewhere around the age of 13, I had my first piece of Hawaiian pizza and it wasn’t love-at-first-bite but it was good enough to keep eating. I really loved the flavor of the pineapple and how it played nice with the ham, but I thought the bacon was a bit much and the pineapple was too soggy. The pineapple was also clearly canned which, as I would later learn, is practically different fruit. When I had my first Hawaiian pizza with fresh pineapple, a very important element was introduced to the pie that hadn’t been there before: tartness. But the sogginess lingered. There had to be a solution.
It occurred to me that maybe the pineapple-related sogginess could be mitigated by slicing the pineapple ultra-thin. I thought by slicing the pineapple thin you could get even pineapple coverage without making the pizza a juicy mess. So, I pulled out my spiralizer and had way too much fun spiralizing a pineapple. Was it messy? Yes! Was it strangely satisfying? Heck, yes! So, with my thinly sliced pineapple in hand, I felt prepared to address another gaping hole in the classic Hawaiian pizza’s flavor profile: the lack of heat. Most people wouldn’t try this hard to like any food item, but hey, I guess I’m a weirdo.
I know that it’s pretty common to be a heat demon these days. Spice tolerance has turned into an increasingly silly pissing contest amongst food lovers and I’m certainly not immune to it. When I first met my boyfriend, we challenge each other to a basket of scotch bonnet wings. He won handily and I was hopelessly humbled. But while I am incapable of enjoying skin-melting heat, I do like a good burn and sometimes a good burn is strangely hard to find.
All too often I find and sadly purchase items that declare themselves to be “spicy” or even “suicidal” only to find they aren’t spicy at all. I can recall a particularly sad pack of so-called “Triple Heat” beef jerky. There is nothing more disappointing than something mild that calls itself “hot”, except maybe a glass of overly sweet lemonade. That’s not what I wanted for my Hot Hawaiian Pizza. I wanted something well and truly hot that would play off of the sweet, slightly tart taste of the pineapple.
Well, to say I accomplished my goal would be an understatement. This Hot Hawaiian Pizza is quite hot, so hot my bf didn’t reach for any of the 80 (a mild exaggeration) hot sauces in our fridge. That being said, you can adjust the heat level to suit your heat tolerance – no shame in your game. So, what makes this pizza so hot? Bird’s eye chilies, a hot banana peppers, spicy Genoa salami, and the trusty jalapeno. Together they turn the ho-hum Hawaiian ‘zah into a tasty inferno. If you’re feeling really brave, you can even add a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes at the end. Go ahead! I double-dog dare ya!
So, if you think you’re not about the Hawaiian Pizza, I get it. If you choose to stand by that assessment, I totally respect your opinion. But if you think maybe, just maybe, you could stand or even like pineapple on your pizza, I urge you to give this Hot Hawaiian Pizza a try. And if you already like Hawaiian pizza, I think this bad boy will make you like it even more. Bold statement, I know, but it’s a bold pizza.
Hot Hawaiian Pizza with Hot Genoa Salami
- 13×18" baking sheet
- 2¼ cups warm water divided
- 2¼ tsp quick-rise yeast
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil divided
- 3¼ cups bread flour
- 2½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 shallots halved and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 can whole tomatoes
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh basil
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 3 jalapeños sliced
- 4 red chilis thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup pickled banana peppers
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 hot Italian sausages casing removed
- ¼ pineapple sliced thin
- 12 slices hot Genoa salami
- 340g (12oz) mozzarella shredded
- sesame seeds for sprinkling
- micro greens for sprinkling
- crushed red pepper flakes for sprinkling
For the Pizza Dough
- Pour 1/4 cup of the warm water into a large bowl. Add the yeast and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.
- Add the remaining water to the bowl followed by 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir to combine. Whisk the flour and salt together in a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Swap the paddle for a dough hook and set the mixer to its lowest speed.
- Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the dry. Go in small increments only adding more liquid after the previous amount is well-integrated. A silky, tacky dough should form. Place the dough on a well-floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
- Pour the remaining olive oil onto a large baking sheet and rotate it to encourage the oil to evenly coat the bottom of the sheet. Stretch the dough into a rough rectangle (it won't fit the pan yet) and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
For the Sauce
- While the dough is rising, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering. Add the shallots and a generous pinch of salt and sautè until just translucent. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, and oregano. Sautè until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine and add the tomatoes. Break them up roughly with the back of your spoon. Add the sugar, bay leaves, and basil sprig and bring the sauce to boil before reducing to a simmer. Let cook for 15 minutes or until reduced by half.
- Take the sauce off of the heat and remove the bay leaves. Stir in the basil leaves and transfer the sauce to a large food processor and carefully blitz until smooth. Pour the sauce into a bowl and cover until ready to use.
For the Pizza
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Place the jalapeños, red chilis, banana peppers, and garlic in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to combine and set aside. Brown the sausage in a skillet and set it aside as well.
- Deflate the dough that has been rising on the baking sheet. Using your fingers, form a rough crust by building up the dough around the edges. Spread an even layer of pizza sauce over the dough's surface. You will have sauce leftover.
- Top the pizza with the Genoa salami, sausage, hot pepper medley, pineapple, and cheese. Sprinkle sesame seeds on the crust and place the pizza in the oven. Bake the pizza for 20-25 minutes, turning once, or until golden and bubbly.
- Let the pizza cool for 10 minutes before garnishing with microgreens and crushed red pepper flakes. Slice and serve immediately.