I fell in love with balsamic reduction in a pizza parlor in Crested Butte, Colorado. If you’re ever there, you must eat at The Secret Stash. One of their pizzas has balsamic reduction sauce drizzled on top, and it’s the best pizza in the world (scientific fact).
A few years ago, I tried to replicate the pizza at home with balsamic vinegar straight from the bottle. That was when I learned that balsamic in most restaurant dishes is actually balsamic reduction, a cooked-down version with a thickness ideal for drizzling. My pizza got super soggy, as the balsamic liquid soaked right into the crust. Lesson learned: Pizza, bruschetta and Caprese Salad are best with balsamic reduction!
Most balsamic glaze recipes add sugar, but I use just balsamic. It’s healthier that way and the final result is still SO sweet and syrupy, you won’t miss a thing. Here’s the easy, one-ingredient recipe:
- Balsamic vinegar (at least 1/2 cup)
- Heat balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally.
- Let cool. Balsamic will continue to thicken once removed from heat.
Making balsamic reduction is smelly! Turn your hood fan on to minimize the vinegar smell. Balsamic reduction can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- Cut a circle out of fresh mozzarella cheese and top with a basil leaf.
- Slice a tomato in half (I prefer tomatoes-on-the-vine, since they’re smaller), and remove the inside pulp. Using a paring knife, cut 3/4 of the way down the center of the tomato to create the ladybug’s wings. Place on top of the basil leaf.
- Dip the tip of a chopstick or toothpick into the thick balsamic reduction (preferably cooled) to make dots on the ladybug’s back.
- Garnish with a black olive for the head.