“Remember when almost every pizza had Italian red sauce on it, and toppings like meatballs and peppers? You could get a whole pie from your local pizzeria, or just grab a slice at the counter. It was delicious — but very predictable. Oh my, has pizza changed over the past 40 years! The beginning of the evolution was in the early 1980s, when Alice Waters started making California pizzas in the café above her Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse. She would put anything on them, as long as the ingredients were fresh, local and organic: tomato sauce, homemade fennel sausage and black olives; or chanterelle mushrooms, roasted onions and mozzarella. Her combinations were surprising and so delicious! In 1982, Wolfgang Puck, the genius chef/owner of Spago in L.A., also started making California pizzas, and soon people were traveling across the country to try Spago’s pies. You can still order the most famous one, topped with dill crème fraîche, smoked salmon and caviar. One of my favorite places to have pizza (at least before the pandemic) was at Marta, a wonderful trattoria in New York City. I ordered a Brussels sprouts pizza there a while back, and it was so good that I came right home and made my own version with thinly shaved Brussels sprouts and lots of carbonara sauce. I think you’ll love it!” says Ina.
Preheat the oven to 475˚ F. Arrange two racks evenly spaced in the oven.
For the béchamel, pour the milk into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk the flour into the butter and cook for 2 minutes, whisking almost constantly. Whisk in the hot milk, switch to a wooden spoon and simmer, stirring constantly, for 2 to 5 minutes, until thick enough to leave a trail when you run your finger down the back of a spoon. Cook for one more minute. Off the heat, stir in the ricotta, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium (10- to 11-inch) sauté pan, add the pancetta and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until half-cooked. Transfer the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
Flip over two sheet pans and put 12-by-18-inch pieces of parchment paper on each pan. Roll and stretch 2 of the pizza doughs into a 9- or 10-inch circle (they don’t want to be perfect!) on the parchment papers. Leaving a 1-inch border, spread 1/2 cup of the béchamel on each pizza and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, 2 tablespoons of the Pecorino and a quarter of the pancetta. In a medium bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle the two pizzas evenly with half of the Brussels sprouts. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned, including the bottom. Cut each pizza into 6 wedges with a large chef’s knife and serve hot. Repeat for the remaining two pizzas.
To slice the Brussels sprouts, trim them and process through the feed tube of a food processor fitted with the slicing disk.