What’s Up, Hungry People
One of my all time favorite movies is Inside Out – a Pixar movie where your emotions are given… feelings. Yes, Pixar has done it once again, delving deep into the minds of everyone who was previously eleven-years old to make everyone come to terms with having emotions.
The movie centers around the mind of Riley, who has just been uprooted by her parents to move to San Francisco. The real stars of the show are her emotions—Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust—who run the show from the control center in her mind, Headquarters. Joy, the eternal optimist, tries to keep Riley’s spirits up, but it’s a bumpy ride as Sadness begins to touch Riley’s memories, turning them blue.
The emotions grapple with the turmoil of Riley’s changing life, trying to steer her through her new city, house, and school. Joy and Sadness end up on an unexpected journey through the vast landscape of Riley’s mind, trying to get back to Headquarters after a mishap sends them tumbling into the depths of Riley’s long-term memory. Along the way, they encounter Riley’s imaginary friend, Bing Bong, and together they navigate the maze of Memory Islands, which reflect the different facets of Riley’s personality.
Inside Out is a heartwarming – and sometimes heart-wrenching – exploration of growing up, dealing with change, and understanding the complex interplay of emotions that make us who we are. It’s a story that reminds us all emotions have a vital role in our lives, and that it’s okay to feel things deeply.
In one scene in the movie, Riley and her mom go to find dinner after learning their moving van has been delayed arriving to their new home. The nearest spot is a pizza joint – and much to the disgust of everyone, the pizza place only serves one flavor of pizza: broccoli.
While Riley and her mom can’t believe the pizza place only serves broccoli pizza, I have always sort of thought that pizza didn’t sound all that bad. I mean, I love broccoli cheddar soup – how different could it be served up a la pizza style?
Apparently, the animators of Inside Out based the pizza shop “Yeast of Eden” off a local chain that is located nearby. Another fun fact: in other cultures, like in Japan, the broccoli is edited to be peppers instead, because kids there actually like broccoli.
After dozens of requests over on TikTok to make this iconic pizza, I made my own pizza dough from scratch (recipe below) as well as the sauce too! But you can totally buy premade pizza crusts or make your own favorite sauce recipe for the base. Do whatever makes it easy for you!
Here’s What You Need
For the Crust
- Flour: Provides structure to the pizza crust.
- Sea Salt: Enhances flavor throughout the crust and sauce.
- Olive Oil: Adds richness and helps create a tender crust.
- Warm Water: Activates yeast for dough rise.
- Yeast: Causes dough to rise and adds a slight yeasty flavor.
- Sugar: Feeds the yeast and aids in browning the crust.
For the Sauce & Toppings
- Broccoli: Offers a crisp, earthy complement to the creamy sauce.
- Butter: Base for the roux, adds richness.
- Heavy Cream: Creates a thick, creamy sauce.
- Parmesan Cheese: Adds a nutty, sharp flavor to the sauce.
- Black Pepper: Provides a warm, spicy note.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Melts into a stretchy topping.
- Cheddar Cheese: Adds a sharp, tangy flavor to the topping.
First things first, let’s preheat that oven with the pizza stone in it to get it screaming hot. You want it to sizzle like Joy on her best day—full of zest and ready to tackle whatever comes her way.
Now, let’s channel our inner Disgust—just momentarily!—as we sauté that broccoli. Splash some olive oil into a pan and get those florets sizzling. You want them bright green and just softening at the edges, like Sadness softening up a memory. Scoop ’em out and let’s get saucy.
Drop the butter into the pan and let it melt into liquid gold before adding that garlic. Stir it around until it’s as fragrant as Fear on the scent of danger. Make a quick roux with flour, and once it’s slightly thickened, pour in the heavy cream, add that Parmesan, and season with black pepper. It should come together like a core memory—warm, comforting, and oh-so-satisfying.
Grab your dough and roll it out on a pizza peel, then brush it with olive oil right to the edges—think of it as laying down the groundwork like Mind Workers laying down new tracks. Slather on that garlicky, creamy sauce, then sprinkle over your mozzarella and cheddar, with the broccoli nestled in like little trees of happiness. Add another little sprinkle of cheddar to seal the deal.
Whack it into the oven and bake until the crust is golden and Joy would be proud of the cheer it’s radiating. The result? A symphony of flavors that’s sure to bring all your emotions to the table—happiness, surprise, and even a newfound respect for broccoli.
Pizza Perfection Tips:
- Working with Yeast: Make sure the water is warm—not hot—to avoid killing the yeast. If the mixture doesn’t bubble, your yeast may be inactive, and you’ll need a new batch.
- Rolling Out Dough: For a crispy crust, roll the dough thin. If it shrinks back, let it rest a few minutes, then try again.
- Sautéing Broccoli: Keep it al dente—it continues to cook in the oven. Overcooked broccoli can become mushy and lose its vibrant color.
- Roux Ready: Cook the roux until it’s a light golden brown to ensure there’s no raw flour taste in your sauce.
- Cheese Choice: Use freshly grated cheese for better meltability. Packaged shredded cheese often contains anti-caking agents that can affect how it melts.
- Sauce Thickness: If your sauce is too thick, thin it with a little more cream. Too thin? Cook longer for a thicker consistency.
- Oven Ready: A pizza stone is ideal for a crispy crust, but if you don’t have one, preheat a baking sheet. It won’t be identical, but it’ll still give you a good result.
The Emotional Conclusion
What we’ve created here isn’t just a pizza—it’s a homage to every complex flavor and feeling we’ve encountered, a culinary tribute to the unexpected joys of mixing things up. It’s cheesy, it’s crunchy, it’s a little bit left-field, and it’s all the better for it.
Cooking, filming, and photography are definitely three islands of my personality that make me, well, me—each one adds its own unique flavor to the mix. And just like Riley’s mind, they’re always at work to create something memorable. Now, I want to know—what are the islands that make up your personality? And how do they influence the flavors you bring to life?
Until next time, enjoy every slice of life—and pizza.
Broccoli Pizza from Inside Out
Elevate your pizza game with this unexpectedly delightful broccoli and creamy garlic sauce pizza that’s a true homage to Pixar’s “Inside Out.”
FOR SAUCE & TOPPINGS
- 1 head broccoli chopped into florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for brushing dough
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded, for sauce
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded, for topping
- ½ cup cheddar cheese shredded, for topping
FOR THE CRUST
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and olive oil until the oil is mixed in and there are little crumbles of dough.
- In a separate bowl, stir the sugar into the warm water until dissolved. Then stir in the yeast. Let it rise until bubbly, about 5-10 minutes.
- Pour the yeast mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. Use your hands to finish mixing the wet and dry ingredients until a thick, pliable dough forms.
- Knead the dough until soft, about 10 minutes. Then transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise for at least one hour or until doubled in size.
- Once doubled, tip the dough onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into two evenly sized balls. Roll into balls, then cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Use this time to make the sauce and toppings.
- Preheat a pizza stone at 500°F (260°C) for one hour prior to assembling the pizza.
FOR SAUCE AND TOPPINGS
- Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli florets and sauté until they have brightened in color and are just beginning to soften. Remove from the skillet and set aside. The broccoli should still be firm in the center.
- In the same skillet, melt the butter until foamy, then add the minced garlic. Sauté until fragrant, then sprinkle the flour over the butter to make a simple roux. Whisk until the roux has thickened slightly, about 3-5 minutes.
- Pour in the heavy cream, add the shredded Parmesan, and black pepper. Whisk until the cheese has mostly melted into the sauce, then remove from heat.
- Roll out one ball of pizza dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 12 inches in diameter. Then place the dough on a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal.
- Brush the entire crust with olive oil. Spread 3-4 tablespoons of the sauce onto the dough, leaving about 1 inch of crust at the edge. Use a fork to poke holes in the center of the pizza to prevent it from bubbling up too much while baking.
- Sprinkle on half of the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, and arrange the sautéed broccoli florets on top. Add a little more cheddar to hold everything together.
- Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake at 425°F (218°C) for 8-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Use the pizza peel to remove the pizza from the oven. Allow it to cool for at least 5-10 minutes before cutting for the best results. Serve hot and enjoy!