Eating leftover pizza for breakfast is a time-honored tradition. Whether you prefer it cold and a little soggy, straight from the box, or heated in a skillet or broiler until the cheese bubbles, pizza is a near-perfect antidote to whatever kept you up way too late the night before in the first place.
This breakfast pizza — topped with sharp pecorino, brawny bits of bacon and runny-yolk eggs — is nothing like that leftover takeout. That’s not to say it is better, but it is certainly a different type of pizza experience, one worth getting out of bed a little early for.
The bacon and eggs make it suitable for breakfast. Plus, instead of red sauce, this white pie is slathered with ricotta and mozzarella, so it is both extra rich and a little more coffee-friendly.
Although making homemade pizza for breakfast is not something you would undertake on a weekday, it is just right for a weekend brunch. You do not need to make your own pizza dough (unless you want to). Just remember to defrost any frozen dough the night before so it is ready to go in the morning.
Then it is just a matter of assembling ingredients and precooking the bacon.
You can fry the bacon in a skillet, if you like, but I prefer baking it as the oven preheats. This is especially convenient if you have a pizza stone, since it needs at least 20 to 30 minutes to properly heat up. While the oven is on, you may as well throw in a pan of bacon to brown.
Do not substitute fancy burrata for the mozzarella here. The cream stuffed into the burrata makes it too wet. Fresh regular mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella are ideally sweet and creamy, but even supermarket mozzarella gets the job done in a pinch. That’s because the focus will be on the crisp chunks of bacon and runny egg yolk beside the gooey cheese.
Keeping the yolks runny is the main challenge in making this dish. Under a strong broiler, they can go from perfect to firm in just a few seconds. Watch the pizza carefully, and pull it out a few seconds before the yolks are to your taste. The residual heat will finish cooking them.
Serve your pizza for breakfast, brunch or a dinner. It is even fancy enough to offer guests — something best not attempted with takeout leftovers of any variety.
Bacon and Egg Pizza
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Total time: 30 minutes
4 ounces thick-cut bacon (4 to 6 slices)
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 (9- to 10-ounce) ball of regular or whole-wheat pizza dough, room temperature (see recipe)
1 1/2 cups shredded fresh mozzarella
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
8 basil leaves, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano
2 large eggs, cold
Flaky sea salt, for serving
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees, and arrange racks in top and bottom thirds. Place a pizza stone on the top rack.
2. Arrange bacon in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake on bottom rack until browned and crisp, 7 to 11 minutes. Using tongs, transfer bacon to paper-towel-lined plate to cool, then slice into bite-size pieces.
3. Raise oven temperature to 500 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together ricotta, garlic and salt.
4. On a rimmed baking sheet, stretch dough into an 11-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Sprinkle with mozzarella, leaving a slim border around edges. Scatter bacon on top, add red pepper flakes, then dollop tablespoons of ricotta mixture all over pie. Arrange basil leaves on top, then sprinkle with pecorino.
5. Place baking sheet on top of pizza stone, and bake for 4 minutes. (Edges of dough should be cooked but not browned.) Remove from oven; use the back of a large spoon to make 2 divots on either side of pizza, and crack eggs into the divots. Return to oven and bake until egg whites are almost but not quite set, about 4 minutes. Set oven to broil, and broil until crust is charred and eggs are cooked but yolks are runny, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (If your broiler is in a separate drawer, transfer baking sheet to your broiler drawer and broil to finish cooking the eggs and brown the crust.)
6. Slide pizza onto a cutting board. Top with more basil, flaky sea salt and more red pepper flakes. Drizzle with oil and serve immediately.