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Great art and great pizza: The seven easy, colorful pies here pay homage to modern-art masterpieces -- and they taste great too. Use them as a starting point for your own edible artistic creations.
Start with a great dough, the primed canvas that will let your other ingredients shine. Then comes the "paint": toppings that bring delicious flavor, bright color, and contrast between both cooked and fresh ingredients. Last is the heat source, which for these pizza recipes is just a traditional oven and a basic sheet pan.
Grated mozzarella is laid over the raw dough and baked into the crust. It comes out of the oven sizzling hot, so when prosciutto slices are immediately placed on top, the fat and the flavors of the meat melt and meld into the golden, bubbly cheese.
Option: Top the baked pie with sliced fresh figs, and drizzle it with honey.
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Abstract expressionist Mark Rothko's color-field paintings, like Orange and Yellow, are the inspiration for this pizza.
This is pizza at its most elemental -- with just pureed yellow and red tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and dough. Because it’s made from a slow-rise, minimally handled dough, the crust is an outstanding mix of crispy, tender, and chewy, with a developed flavor all its own.
Option: Scatter freshly dressed salad greens over the top of the baked pie.
Jackson Pollock is famous for large paint-splattered canvases like his Number 1, which inspired this pizza (and the next recipe).
Savory provolone, hearty dressed greens, and spicy red-pepper flakes are baked together on the crust. Before serving, sweeten and cool the assertive flavors with randomly placed cherry-tomato halves.
Option: Top the baked pie with sliced pickled pepperoncini.
Borrowing from the flavors of the eastern Mediterranean, this vegetarian pizza is a study in textural contrast: Eggplant is thinly sliced lengthwise, pressed into the dough, and drizzled with olive oil and salt before baking. Then salty nuts; bursting, juicy seeds; and herbaceous green cilantro leaves are tossed over the warm pie as soon as it’s out of the oven. Crumbled fresh feta cheese manages to be both cool and firm in some spots, and warm and soft in others.
Option: Crumble cooked lamb sausage over the baked pie.
Pablo Picasso's early work like Le Guitariste was the inspiration for this pizza.
Start by blanketing the dough with finely grated Parmesan cheese. Press in scallions to create faceted shapes, then fill in those shapes with any combination of sliced fresh mushrooms, such as portobello, cremini, button, and beech. Cut slices along the scallions for graphic presentation.
Option: Slide a few sunny-side-up fried eggs on top before serving.
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This pizza is an homage to Pablo Picasso's painting Girl Before a Mirror.
The classic French Nicoise salad gets deconstructed on this pizza. Press sliced raw small potatoes and pitted black olives into the dough, and brush on some olive oil before baking. Here, to emulate Picasso’s masterpiece, blanched beans, tuna fillets, sliced red onions, arugula, and tomatoes were artfully arranged on the cooked pie. Alternatively, toss all the salad ingredients in a bowl first and scatter them over the cooked pie.
Option: Top the baked pie with fresh anchovies.
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Graphic circles were a reoccuring motif in Wassily Kandinsky's art. This pizza is a nod to his Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles.
Coat the dough with pureed fresh tomatoes, then layer on slices of delicata-squash rings, soppressata, and halves of Brussels sprouts. As the pizza bakes, everything roasts and caramelizes together, resulting in a salty, sweet, earthy flavor.
Option: Dust the baked pie with a flurry of grated pecorino cheese.