a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Scary Spicy Halloween Pizza

Scary Spicy Halloween Pizza

< by Jill >

Have you ever heard of giardiniera? If yes, you’re either a Chicagoan, Italian, or foodie. If not, here’s a definition (thanks, wikipedia): Giardiniera is an Italian or Italian-American relish of pickled vegetables in vinegar or oil. The taste is delicious — a pretentious wine-o might say, “It strikes a vinegary note and then blossoms with hints of carrot, finishing with an evocative gherkin minerality.”

The best kind of giardiniera has lots and lots of spicy peppers. The second-best kind of giardiniera has lots and lots of mild peppers. My personal favorite brand is Kelsey Ds, which offers both! Their special blend of peppers, carrots, cauliflower, celery, and gherkins marinates in a spiced soybean oil. I get the stuff straight from the source (I know the company owner — fancy right?) but it’s also available online!

So for our Halloween dinner, Nate and I made a pizza topped with spicy giardiniera. Inspired by the signature pie at Boiler Room in Logan Square, we topped the pizza with meatballs, red onions, and a blend of asiago, mozzarella and parm. It’s the best homemade pizza I’ve ever eaten, hands-down. Here’s the recipe:

PIZZA CRUST *store-bought works too!*


  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 2 tablespoons veggie oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • a sprinkle of salt
  • 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 cups flour
  • Cornmeal (enough to dust your pizza stone or pan)


Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the oil, sugar, salt and flour, mashing with sparkling-clean hands until a firm dough forms. Rest the dough ball on a floured surface; cover and rest for 10 minutes. … Roll out the dough to desired thickness. Oil a pizza pan and sprinkle with cornmeal. Transfer dough to prepared pan. Bake at 425° for 12-15 minutes or until browned. Add toppings; bake about 20 minutes longer.



  • 1/2 cup warm water (or beer, be adventurous!)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 fork-beaten egg
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • dash of nutmeg and allspice


Preheat oven to 350°. Stir the breadcrumbs and water (or beer) together. Add the egg. Add the beef. Mush everything together until all the beefy, breadcrumby goodness is evenly distributed. Roll spoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place in a roasting pan, uncovered. Bake about 25 minutes. Makes about 24 one-inch meatballs.



  • 1 crust
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce or marinara
  • about 12 meatballs, halved
  • 1/2 jar giardiniera, drained
  • Sliced red onion to taste
  • heaps of Mozzarella, asiago, and parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 425°. Slather pre-baked crust with sauce. Layer meatballs, giardiniera, red onion, and cheese. Bake about 20 minutes. Cool, slice, EAT!!!

No comments yet»

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: