I agreed to co-write “Everybody Loves Pizza” simply because I was asked to. I had no idea how much I’d grow to love and understand the business and product. After interviewing hundreds of pizza makers for the book, I know that delivery or take-out just can’t compare to doing it myself. Cooking something for yourself is key to understanding what the product is supposed to be like. Knowing what went into it adds to the range of your understanding. This Saturday night, put away the number to your favorite pizza joint. Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get doughy, ’cause you’re gonna give this pizza thing a try.–Penny Pollack and Jeff Ruby

What’s the secret to good pizza dough?

Pizza is only as good as its dough, you know. Take a mediocre slab of crust and pile it with all the tastiest toppings you can find—you’ll still have a mediocre pizza, at best. Making pizza dough by hand is a rewarding experience but it takes a little forethought. You’ll need a decent flour for starters. Something with a high protein content, such as bread flour, will help to make it chewier and give it a better hole structure. Weighing out ingredients will also help you to get the proportions right, giving you a better chance of success.

A rosemary red onion pizza with ricotta cheese, garlic cloves, and Parmesan cheese on parchment paper.

Rosemary Onion Pizza

5 / 4 votes
For this rosemary onion pizza, dough is smeared with ricotta cheese and topped with caramelized onions, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and rosemary and baked until bubbly and golden brown. An inspired riff on white pizza that’s ideal as a starter or simply as dinner.
David Leite
Servings8 servings | 1 large pizza
Calories420 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time2 hours


For the pizza dough

  • 1 cup 105°F (41°C) warm water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 package quick-rise yeast
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 3 cups bread flour, as needed

For the topping and shaping

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium red onions, sliced 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Coarse cornmeal, for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • Small garlic cloves, unpeeled, (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Make the pizza dough

  • Pour 1/4 cup of the water into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and stir in the honey. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let the mixture stand until the yeast softens, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir the mixture to make sure the yeast is dissolved. Mix in the remaining 3/4 cup water and the oil. Using a dough hook, start mixing the dough on low.
  • Add the salt, rosemary, and 1 cup flour and mix until it’s completely incorporated.
  • Then add the next cup of flour and repeat, continuing cup by cup. As the flour is incorporated, a dough ball will start to form and come away from the bowl. As you gradually add the last of the flour, turn up the speed and mix for 1 minute.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead until smooth.
  • Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover it with a cloth; allow it to rise and double in bulk, 45 to 60 minutes.

Make the topping

  • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil, and toss in the onions. Cook until softened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and allow to cool.

Assemble and bake the pizza

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Sprinkle a little coarse cornmeal on a baking sheet.
  • Punch down the dough and place the dough on the cornmeal. Using your fingertips, gently make indentations in the dough and spread it to the pan size, approximately 10 by 15 inches.
  • Spread the ricotta on the dough to within a half inch of the edge.
  • Distribute the cooked onions evenly over the dough and then top with the chopped rosemary, garlic cloves if using, and Parmesan and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. If desired, sprinkle with additional freshly ground pepper.
  • Bake the pizza for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden and crisp.
  • Serve the pizza immediately or let it cool on a wire rack and then serve at room temperature, sliced into narrow wedges or strips as a starter or wider slices as something more substantial. Originally published Jul 18, 2005.
Everybody Loves Pizza by Penny Pollack and Jeff Ruby

Adapted From

Everybody Loves Pizza

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 420 kcalCarbohydrates: 45 gProtein: 14 gFat: 21 gSaturated Fat: 7 gMonounsaturated Fat: 11 gCholesterol: 29 mgSodium: 589 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 6 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2005 Penny Pollack | Jeff Ruby. Photo © 2018 Tesco. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This rosemary red onion pizza is a gorgeous mingling of flavors. The sweet, charred onions along with the woodsy hint of rosemary are an elegant balance to the creamy ricotta and salty Parmesan cheeses. If you add the garlic, you’ll be rewarded with even more depth of pungent, sweet flavor. The toppings make the pizza.

The pizza crust texture was tender with a tight crumb and subtle crunch when baked. The rosemary and honey added a sweet herbaceousness to the quick dough but the dough didn’t have time to develop any character. Perhaps aging it overnight, or even a few days in the refrigerator, before baking would develop the signature yeasty tang I’m wanting in a pizza crust.

The amount of ricotta was spot on.

This rosemary red onion pizza was a refreshingly different type of pizza, plus it looked and smelled delicious at nearly every stage of the process. The rosemary dough was a perfect base for the sweetness of the cooked red onion. I used the optional ricotta and really loved the creaminess that it added. I also do not consider the unpeeled garlic cloves optional. I only regret that I didn’t add more. After cooking the pizza, just squeeze the roasted garlic out of its peel and onto the pizza and you will not be disappointed.

I used the full 3 cups of flour, but I think that I could have used slightly less. It was still good, but the crust was a little more bread-y than I think that it could have been if I would have used less. I found that 45 minutes was perfect for the rise time.

Let me first say that we LOVED this pizza. It’s so elegant in its simplicity and comes together quickly for the perfect date-night dinner when you don’t feel like making too much fuss but still want to feel *a little fancy*.

The one thing I will say is that you don’t need 3 whole onions. At least I didn’t. I feel like half an onion would have yielded something like you see in the picture and two made for a very onion-y pizza…which we were very happy with since my husband and I LOVE sauteed onions but if you aren’t a fan I’d go with one.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I have been in the “pizza making” zone ever since I tried Jim Lahey’s pizza dough.

    Question: Can I use that same recipe for the dough to make this pizza?

    This recipe had me at “garlic cloves” squeezed on top of the finished pizza. Any excuse for garlic is a religious experience for me.

  2. Fabulous are written. But this takes HOURS to put together. In what universe can you brown (not even caramelize) that volume of onions in 7-10 min? Plan 40 min to caramelize the onions. If you don’t have that time, Epicurious has a great rosemary red onion agrodolce which is red onions pickled with red wine vinegar, honey, rosemary and salt.

    1. Thanks so much, SJ. You are quite right. It’s unrealistic to assume that the onions would soften and brown that quickly. Thank you for bringing it to our attention!

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe was incredible! Ended up grilling the pizza and adding chicken and artichoke hearts. One question though — what’s up with the unpeeled garlic? Do you eat that? Maybe I’m too uncultured!

    1. So glad you love this as much as we do, Andrea! Thanks for taking the time to let us know. As for the unpeeled garlic, leaving the papery husks on during baking ensures that the outer layer of the garlic clove itself doesn’t turn tough in the hot oven. We prefer to squeeze the garlic from the husks and onto the pizza and then just demurely toss the husk to the side of our plate as we devour the pizza.