Lots of love out there for thin crust pizza but we really like these cheese crust pies with plenty of toppings. This one has sausage, prosciutto, onions, mushrooms, and pepper rings. We use the snack type string cheese to roll in the edges, it comes in various flavors and types but get the good stuff to be sure it melts nicely.I like to brush garlic infused olive oil on the crust edge and then give it a generous sprinkle of kosher salt.
Mrs J called for pizza and because it’s been a while since we had a white pizza, this broccoli/chicken/roasted garlic pie was just perfect. I rolled some string cheese into the edge of it and made a sauce from Monterey jack and a basic white sauce. I added two heads of roasted garlic to the sauce and troweled it on then added the par-boiled broccoli and the grilled chicken breast. Brush some olive oil on the crust and add a good sprinkling of kosher salt. It spent about 17 minutes in a 350 oven while in the pizza pan but still wasn’t quite there. I managed to get it out of the pan and onto a peel without mishap for transfer to the pizza stone that pretty much lives on the bottom rack on my oven. I kicked the dial up to 500 and kept an eye on it, giving it an additional 5-7 minutes.A cheese crust seems like overkill, given the cheesy nature of the sauce but I find myself eating the crusts apart from the rest of the pizza, saving them for the last. They eat like a big soft pretzel – a cheese stuffed pretzel.I placed the uneaten slices back into the pan for flash freezing in the big box. When they’re frozen solid I’ll vacuum seal the slices, they make great lunches for Mrs J to haul with her to the shelter on her volunteer days.
These may be my favorite pizzas. For today, anyway. I roasted three heads of garlic and squeezed them into the white sauce along with fresh grated pecorino. The dough used up 3-1/4 cups of bread flour so there was plenty for a 14″ pie. The edges puff up so that they are like soft pretzels, especially when they are brushed with butter and sprinkled with kosher salt. I rolled string style mozzarella into the edge to make it a cheese crust. I gave the crust five minutes in a 400 oven before I added the toppings. I’ve done it both ways, par-baked and not, and I have yet to decide which method works the best, my practice hasn’t really been rigorous enough and the time between pies is playing a role.I par-boiled the broccoli for a couple of minutes and cooled it in running water prior to assembling the pie, the chicken was sauteed to just barely done as well. The completed pie baked for about 12 minutes then finished under the broiler until it looked good enough. I like to see a little crust on the cheese topping and the edge should be browned nicely. Let the finished pie sit for a few minutes before slicing to give the cheese time to settle a bit.I have to wait to get my slice to the plate before I can add the red pepper flakes. I usually give it a grind of black pepper, too.
This one is a cheese stuffed crust pie with my own homemade Italian sausage. I added a caramelized sweet onion along with a few dried tomatoes atop a base of awesome sauce. Plenty of cheese over all of that.The cheese in the crust is a string style snack mozzarella blend. The cheese on top is a packaged “Italian blend” along with additional fresh mozzarella and grated Parmesan.I like to trick my platter out with garnishes and extra pepper flakes. These are marinated garlic stuffed olives along with a few baby kalamatas. The marinade is olive oil and red wine vinegar with rosemary and lemon peel and pinches of dried basil and oregano.Leftovers! I slide the extra slices around so they aren’t touching and place the whole thing into the freezer. In the morning I’ll pop them loose from the pan and seal them into freezer bags.
This one has ham, my own Italian sausage, paper thin slices of hard salami, pickled cherry tomatoes from the patio garden, and pickled pepper rings, again from this year’s garden. It’s full of cheeses and my awesome sauce.Did I mention cheese crust? Full of provolone and hot pepper cheese (1/2 and 1/2). This was a huge pie, I used 3 and 1/2 cups of bread flour in the crust. The pan is 14″. It will freeze on the pan, I will slice it into wedges, and when it’s solid tomorrow they’ll go into a freezer bag.
We like the thin crispy crust pizzas that we make but now and again we crave one of these balloon tire looking things with mozzarella rolled into the edge and coarse salt sprinkled on like it was a huge pretzel doughnut. This iteration has Italian sausage, ham, three colors of fresh garden peppers, string style mozzarella in the crust, more shredded mozz on top and a final grating of Asiago.The crust is almost a meal in itself. I often take a section and stuff it with the toppings that go astray. There are always leftovers. I make sure the slices are separated, let them cool a bit, then put the whole thing into the big freezer until they are solid, and then bag them, individually, in plastic zip bags. To reheat them I most often thaw the slices in the microwave, then place them into the toaster oven to keep the crust from getting soggy.
Not sure why but I got a notion to build a pizza with a white sauce today. I surfed around looking at recipes and went with what I would call a Mornay sauce if it was over pasta. Just a basic white sauce, a roux of flour and butter with milk added and cheese stirred in as it thickened. I grated some Parmesan and Romano for this one, about 2 cups. The white sauce was 2T each of butter and flour and a cup and a bit of milk. I splashed in a wee bit more milk when it looked like the sauce was a bit thick. I ended up troweling it onto the pizza dough. I stirred in some dried basil, was really wishing I had some fresh, and five cloves of smashed and minced garlic.I layered in slices of mozzarella, and added blanched broccoli and diced grilled chicken. Grated some more Parmesan on top but I don’t think it was needed.This went into a 375 oven. I looked in after 12 minutes and saw that it wasn’t even close yet. I took the opportunity to brush some olive oil onto the crust. The sauce and the mozzarella combined into a roiling bubbly sea with islands of green dotted about and I was worried that the pizza would be a bust. It was smelling great, at any rate. I lost track of the time but I’d guess it was in there for another 20 minutes. I pulled it out when the top was showing some nice color.The sauce was still very liquid as it came out but it set up nicely as it cooled a bit and wasn’t runny, relieving me of that particular worry. Makes for a poor picture! LOLSome salt and fresh ground pepper, a generous sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and it was ready. I was starved and the pizza did not disappoint me at all. Great garlic and cheese flavors, and there will be a rematch tomorrow: