How Have You Lived This Long Without Pizza Butter?
You know the old saying about pizza, that even when it's bad, it’s still pretty good. I love great pizza, it’s true, but the occasional less-than-stellar pizza doesn’t hurt my feelings. There is nostalgia around the frozen French bread pizzas that were a special treat on nights when the babysitter was making dinner. Domino’s pizza will always mean college to me, late nights in the dorm, or cold for breakfast. My dad’s English muffin “pizzas” split muffins smeared with tomato paste, sprinkled with dried Italian seasoning mix, and topped with Parmesan cheese are pizza, but not pizza—and still delicious.
A while back a major butter company ran a recipe contest for compound butters. I love compound butter. So I entered. Eighty-seven times. It is possible I was procrastinating a book deadline. But nevertheless, while I did not win the contest, it did ignite in me a passion for developing flavored butters. I’ve already given you my stuffing butter recipe, and I know it has changed lives. Ditto miso maple butter. So now it is time to share with you my pizza butter.
As with any compound butter recipe, this is designed to pack maximum flavor into a simple small package. With pizza butter, you create that sense memory of pizza on pretty much any breadstuff you smear it on. Tomato, seasoning, cheese, it’s all in there. A quick slather on your morning toast will bring back those cold pizza breakfasts instantly.
It's also a fun base for crostini appetizers. Toss hot pasta with some crispy cubes of fried pepperoni, pizza butter and some of the cooking liquid from the noodles, and top with fresh basil for a pizza spaghetti you love. Melt it on vegetables and watch them transform. Imagine telling your kids they are having pizza broccoli. A dollop on top of a vegetable soup or minestrone melts in and enhances everything. And if you make grilled cheese with it, using mozzarella, well, that is one of it’s highest purposes.
Whatever you use it for, I hope pizza butter brings you all the joy of pizzas past.
2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature (yep, salted; pizza is salty)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning blend
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Make sure your butter is room temperature and soft or it won’t blend properly.
In a medium bowl with a rubber spatula, mix the tomato paste with the seasonings and cheese until well combined. Add in the butter and mix carefully until you have a cohesive blend. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt or seasonings to your preference. Now put it on everything.