I think pizza is a wonderful thing. And the crust for me is crucial. Bad crust=bad pizza. I know that since I’m a foodie and all I’m supposed to like the thin, crispy crust, artisanal pizzas with minimal fresh and seasonal toppings. And I do. But what really gets me excited is a thick, soft crust pizza with a heck of a lot of cheese on it.
When I was in active labor with my daughter, I had been purposefully starving myself for 36 hours (well, not starving myself on purpose for that long, but definitely choosing not to eat during labor) because when I was giving birth to my son, 3 years prior, I had become so incredibly ill that the labor was pretty awful. So once my water broke with her, I chose not to eat out of fright, then never really got hungry again, and then ended up having her on an incredibly empty and weak stomach. (But it worked!) They say you should have a focal point when you’re in labor because it helps you stay focused on the task at hand and, I don’t know, try to make your forget you’re using all your strength to push a person from a hole too tiny for such business. It could be a picture brought from home, a spot on the wall, your partner’s eyes… pizza….
So in between contractions I was using food as my motivator. (Well, that and the fact that I was about to meet my baby girl. Obviously…ahem.)
My dream meal while I was breathing and screaming was a stuffed crust pizza with the works. Ahh…that cheesy soft bread gets me every time. So my father called my Godfather, who was on his way in, and had him stop and get me my pizza and I’m telling you, 20 minutes after giving birth I was holding my baby girl, on slice number 3, laughing and joking with my whole family. We had ourselves an old fashioned pizza party right there in the delivery room, and it was awesome.
It was the best day of my life apart from the day before I married my husband (more on that another time…)
So, in short, I have a soft spot for a stuffed crust, supreme pizza. I haven’t had it since that day and I don’t really know if I would want to because I want it to remain in my mind as perfect as it is now. It’s amazing how much circumstances can play a role in our sense memory. I mean, it was pizza. Delivery pizza. But it was one of the best meals I have ever had. I had just completed the biggest marathon of my life, everywhere I looked in this tiny room I saw a face that I loved, and my daughter was finally here. I just remember sitting back in my bed, holding her or watching someone I love hold her, and thinking to myself, it just doesn’t get any better than this.
My baby girl is about to turn 1 and I suppose I just started thinking about her Birth day when I came up with this recipe*. Since I didn’t want to just recreate the same meal, I instead decided to make something that I think is pretty darn cool. It’s a pizza Pie!! Crust on bottom, cheesy filling inside, crust on top…just like a pie but Pizza!!! It was so good. And I now can’t wait to make many other versions of it. I think a spinach and ricotta would be amazing, but anything you love in a pizza can go in this and it’ll work. This meal is really simple to make and looks so pretty that I would highly recommend making it for a dinner party.
*Supreme Pizza Pie
-In a skillet on medium-high heat with some olive oil, cook 4 ounces of lean sausage (bulk or sliced links are both fine) until browned, add to that 1 small onion, diced, 1/2 a green bell pepper, diced and 4 ounces of mushrooms, sliced. Season with salt, pepper, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and about 1 1/2 tsp of dried oregano. Once the veggies have softened, add 3-4 garlic cloves, minced. Stir. Once you smell the garlic, turn the heat off and transfer the veggies to a bowl. Add 3 ounces of turkey pepperoni and 1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce, store-bought or homemade. Stir well and set aside to cool a bit while you handle the dough.
-Evenly press 1 pound of pizza dough** into the bottom and sides of a greased deep dish, glass pie plate, (you will need 2 lbs total). It will be difficult and seem impossible to stretch the dough all the way to the edges, but be patient and keep working it.
-Cover the bottom of the dough with an even layer of about 1 cup of shredded cheese (monterey jack, mozzarella, or thin slices of fresh mozzarella would be great…you will need roughly 2 cups or 8 oz shredded cheese total, (more if you like extra cheese like me)
-Pour your cooled filling over the cheese, spreading evenly.
-Cover the filling with your other cup or so of cheese.
-Take your other pound of dough and stretch with your hands to bigger than the size of the pie plate. Just hold it up and keep moving your hands around the edges of the dough and it will stretch. Place the stretched dough over the plate and tuck it in around the edges, making as much of a seal with the bottom crust as you can. Vent the top to allow steam to escape.
-Bake on a foil-lined cookie sheet (just in case it leaks) at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, or until the crust is puffed, firm, and golden brown.
-Cool the pizza pie on a rack for 10-20 minutes before slicing and devouring.
|Mmmm….look at all the goodies!
-This holds up really well the next day too. So you still get to enjoy your cold pizza for breakfast!
(*I made this because I was looking through my ‘recipe ideas’ note app in my smart phone, where I found ‘pizza pie’ and a description of what it should be. I think that note had been there for awhile because I don’t really remember putting it there. So whether or not the original idea was mine or someone else’s, I have no idea.)
(**Buy your favorite brand from the grocery store, go to your favorite pizzeria and ask to buy some of theirs, or use my whole wheat pizza dough recipe. One batch/recipe makes roughly 1 lb of dough, so double it for this Pizza Pie.)