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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pizza-licious!

I love pizza.  Doesn't everybody?  What I don't love is Chicago style pizza.  And wouldn't you know, I just happen to live . . . . never mind.  My favorite pizza is from my home town.  I won't tell you where that is but I will tell you that Little Caesar's and Domino's need not apply.  Pizza Hut?  Well, it'll do in a pinch but the fact is I cannot get my favorite pizza unless I am visiting family that still live in the home place.  Consequently, I end up making pizza at home much of the time.  It's not as good as what I grew up with but it's better than deep dish.  Or pan.  Or (perish the thought) thin crust.

I have a friend who also makes pizza at home.  She is lavish with toppings - lots of pepperoni and enough cheese to keep the dairy business in business.  I favor a more modest approach when it comes to cheese, and the man prefers a light hand with the sauce.  I like to make my crust from scratch - a basic bread recipe will serve, or any of the dozens of pizza dough recipes available in books or on line.  Sometimes I may use a store-bought crust like Boboli, or I may use frozen bread dough.

Those pizza doughs that come in the cardboard tube, like the crescent rolls, are okay but not big enough or hearty enough.  Save them for making breadsticks.  Nor do I advocate using things like English muffins or pita bread as pizza crust.  Somehow, they just taste like an English muffin or pita bread with tomato sauce and cheese.

But this week I found a new way to make pizza at home quickly and easily.  This is one of those recipes that I wish did not taste good.  I saw it on a television commercial and actually made fun of it until I decided to give it a try.  The crust was made using a cardboard tube of biscuits.  I had ham, sauce and cheese on hand so I decided to give it a try.  Wouldn't you know, I did not have a can of biscuits?

Luckily, they appeared on the next grocery store sale paper and we were in business.  Also on sale was a package of pepperoni.  Now I have nothing against ham on a pizza but if you want to get down to basics, pepperoni is definitely the way to go.

Next time they are on sale, pick up a tube of those biscuits.  Likewise some sauce, cheese and pepperoni or other toppings - or use what you have in the fridge.  Here is the basic recipe with some variations.

Open the package of biscuits and separate them - most seem to come 8 to the package.  Flatten the biscuits, gently stretching and pressing with your fingers, to approximately 6 inch circles.  Organic shapes are also appropriate - the biscuits will take on a life of their own during baking.  Place the "pizza dough" on a greased baking sheet.

Top each with a spoonful of tomato sauce, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce or whatever is on hand.  Plain tomato sauce can be helped with a pinch of basil, oregano, garlic powder and/or crushed red pepper flakes.  Or make your own sauce from scratch if you are of a mind to.

Now add toppings of your choice - a few slices of ham or pepperoni, and a scattering of cheese.  Pop the pizzas into a preheated 375f oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.  Ours were perfect at 13 and 14 minutes.  Remove to a board to cool for a few minutes before serving.  That's it!  Little pizzas with a buttery, flaky crust and tasty toppings, made in just a few minutes and (depending on your sauce and toppings) very little clean  up! 

Give these a try.  If you are more adventurous (or maybe a vegetarian) try these variations.  Use ham, Canadian bacon, pineapple, any kind of cheese, black or green olives, peppers and onions, sliced tomato, garlic, spinach, or just check out the menu from your local pizza place for inspiration.

These little guys would be great for a party appetizer (everybody can make their own) or to make with kids for a quick supper for a party or sleep-over.  Or just any time you want pizza and can't wait the 30 minutes for delivery.

One note - those canned biscuits sometimes come in a "buttery" variety.  I think the plainer versions may be more appropriate, or you may prefer a different cheese and assortment of toppings for the butter style biscuits.  Enjoy!

Quotable quotes; in the category Hey, Toss One My Way! 

"Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around."  Anna Quindlen

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