Lake Isle Press

Portofino Pizza with Carmelized Onions and Pancetta

This recipe comes from a memorable lunch on Lydecker's trip to Portofino. Each of the ingredients is delicious on their own, but together on pizza are unstoppable.

Portofino Pizza with Carmelized Onions and Pancetta


  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced small (about 1/3 cup, packed)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 pound pizza dough, homemade (page 257) or store-bought
  • 2 to 3 cups grated fresh mozzarella


Line a lower oven rack with quarry tiles or a pizza stone (if you have either) and preheat the oven to 500 degrees or the maximum temperature.  In a large skillet over medium-low heat, saute the pancetta in 2 tablespoons olive oil, until it has a rendered most of its fat but is not crisp, about 8 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, remove to a small bowl.  Add the onion to the pan; add up to 1 tablespoon more oil and cook until the onions are soft and the edges are beginning to bronze, about 15 minutes altogether.  Add the sugar and salt.  Continue to cook until the onions are a medium golden (they will brown more in the oven), about 5 minutes.  Cool to lukewarm.

Lightly oil a pizza pan or baking sheet.  Gently stretch and pat the dough into a 16-inch round or two 9-inch rounds.  Sprinkle the cheese over the dough.  Spread the onions on top; sprinkle with the pancetta.

Place the pizza pan on the rack with the tiles for 5 minutes; once the crust has firmed up, slide it directly onto the tiles.  Bake 5 to 7 minutes longer or until the crust and toppings are browned.

Back to all recipesBack to top of page

Featured In...

Other Starters