Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stuffed Pizza Stuffed Me!

Stuffed pizza ... if you love crust this is Pizza Nirvana.  It has an extra layer of crust on top.  Plus, this form of pizza, usually associated with Chicago, allows toppings to be crammed inside in quantities that a normal two-dimensional pizza won't allow.

Yes, this variant allows one to put even more meat, cheese, and tasty veggies onto and into Nature's Most Perfect Food ... pizza. While large factions argue about which kind of pizza is better ... New York or Chicago ... I simply enjoy both.  Good crust, good cheese, meat, sauce ... put together in ways that would make any nutritionist or dietitian cry?   That, my millions of loyal fans, is great food.

I am very proud of this particular post.  The pizza pictured is made nearly 100% from scratch.  The dough, the mozzarella, the sauce, and the Italian sausage were all made by me.  Only the Parmesan cheese was purchased.  And, I'm not sure I want to start making my own hard cheese ... 18 to 24 months is a long time to wait for results.


I made the pizza dough. I covered it and let it rise while preparing the ingredients.


I preheated the oven to 400F (205C).  While the oven was heating and the dough was rising, I prepared the ingredients.

The sauce I pulled out of my freezer.  I make it in large batches and then freeze it in serving-sized portions to make my life easier when I want to make pizza.

I shredded the mozzarella.  Look at that beautiful mozzarella.  I'm so proud.  That's the first one that I made myself.

The Italian sausage I browned.  This is my own as well.

Lastly, the Parmesan ... I cut open the bag.  I sincerely doubt that I'll ever make my own Parmesan.  18 to 24 months of waiting for results would be quite difficult for me to take.  Waiting 18 to 24 minutes is bad enough! 


Once the dough was ready, I rolled out a large piece and draped it over my mini springform pan.


Next, a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella.


A layer of browned Italian sausage.


Then, a little more shredded mozzarella.


I rolled out another piece of dough and draped it over the top.  I pinched the edges much like a pie crust to seal the lower section.


I put some sauce on the top.  Spread it around nicely.  Don't put on too much!


Finally, a sprinkling of mozzarella and Parmesan.


Into the oven for 25 minutes at 400F.

Only two problems ... first, I didn't know that my oven was behaving properly when I made it.  So, what I thought was 400F was really 450F.  Oops.

Second, I forgot to put some kind of ventilation in the lower section.  So, it made this beautiful dome.


I didn't want my wonderful mozzarella and Italian sausage to go to waste.  So, I cut the Blackened Dome open. 


The meat and cheese was scooped out and rescued.  I don't mind the dough and sauce dying ... but, my precious homemade cheese and sausage deserved to be saved.


On the second time around, I didn't put the sauce and cheese on the top at first.  And, I punched vent holes in the top of the top dough.

I put the pizza into the oven at 400F (205C) for about 12 minutes.  Really, you just need to watch it until the middle of the top dough is turning golden brown.

Once the pizza reached that point, I put sauce on the top then sprinkled the cheeses over it.  I put the pizza back into the oven for another ten minutes.

Here it is ... the delicious successful stuffed pizza!


Test Results

Primary Test Group:  Rabid, ravenous wolves eat slower than these folks ate the pizzas.

Test Group C: It's so small.  I need more.

Test Group M: Very good!

Potential Improvements

None that I can think of at the moment. 

Potential Variations

Sourdough crust and different ingredients.  The usual infinite variety of pizzas.


The flavor was amazing.  Oh so good ... and popular.  I had one person ask if I sell these (tempting).

This is the first time that I've made everything from scratch (Parmesan aside).  It is such a great feeling to do that.  To build something like this completely from scratch ... fantastic.

It inspires me to keep pushing to do more.


Jeanine said...

Oh wow! That stuffed pizza looks awesome! Talk about a deep dish pizza, huh? :)
Thanks for popping by my blog, I appreciate it! You sound like you have an interesting adventure going on in your cooking world! Can't wait to read more. :)

James said...

To be honest ... it tasted so good. And, felt so good to produce something myself from scratch like that.

I'll keep posting more. My pizza quest isn't finished. I'm just setting it aside for a bit to work on Dim Sum.