This story was originally featured on Saveur.

I could eat pizza all day, every day. But I don’t always have the time to make my own crust. Delivery adds up, and store-bought crusts tend to be pretty low quality. That’s where this recipe comes in. It isn’t even so much of a recipe, per se, but a guideline for happiness.

Oftentimes, we have leftover loaves of bread lying around the test kitchen, and while I could always make breadcrumbs or croutons, here’s what I really want to do: slice them in half and turn them into big rounds of pizza. It’s the French bread pizza you know from after-school snacks, but better. Make it with great bread and it’s really, really good.

These loaves are often quite thick and, even if they’re beginning to go stale, pretty fresh in the middle. So I toast the cut loaf a bit before topping with it sauce, cheese, and anything else my heart desires, to keep the crusts crisp and the inner crumb from turning gooey. I usually add pepperoni and finish it with fresh basil, parmesan, and chile flakes. But like I said, do what you want. This is your 30-minute pizza, and you can do what you like to make you happy.


  • Serves: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (12-oz.) ciabatta loaf, halved lengthwise
  • 1 1⁄2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 oz. thinly sliced pepperoni
  • Basil leaves, torn, for serving
  • Chile flakes, for serving
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Heat olive oil and butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high; add garlic and onion and cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook 2 minutes more, then add tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper; cook until thick, 15-18 minutes, and set pizza sauce aside (alternatively, use store-bought pizza sauce).
  2. Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place ciabatta, cut-side up, on a baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, until lightly crispy. Remove from oven and spread 1⁄2 cup sauce over each half. Top each with 1⁄4 cup mozzarella cheese and divide the pepperoni over the top. Divide the remaining mozzarella over each half and bake until the cheese is melted and golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and top with basil, chile flakes, and parmesan cheese.