Down in Austin, there's a restaurant called Mangia Chicago Stuffed Pizza. When Kara and I lived there, we just loved their pizza, and ever since we started our Friday night homemade pizza tradition, I've wanted to try my hand at one of these things.
I started by making the regular recipe of dough and dividing it nearly in half. I took the ball that was slightly larger and rolled it out to about 13 inches. I then laid the dough into a 9 inch pie plate.
I then put a layer of sliced ham on the crust.
Then a layer of sausage - I didn't have quite as much as I wanted, but it worked. (Funny side story: I made Anna brown the sausage. She was totally squeamish about the slimy, squishy stuff. I was so tempted to say "It's just a bunch of ground-up pig," but decided that would be counter productive.)
Next came the cheese. From a logistical standpoint, perhaps I used a little too much cheese, as it ran out the sides after the pizza was cut. However, from a flavor standpoint, can there ever really be such a thing as too much cheese?
Then came the top crust, rolled slightly smaller and laid on top. The edges were rolled together. There was too much overlap - the crust looks okay here, but really grew to be a bit too large by the time baking was done.
And finally, the pizza sauce with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, and into the oven it went.
This is the part where I almost burned the house down - and it didn't have anything to do with the oven.
We don't use our microwave to cook things. If there's a controversy involving food preparation and electromagnetic energy pulses, we're right in the middle of it. So instead, we use it to store our oven mitts. It also functions as a range hood, a clock, and a second kitchen timer.
It was while attempting to make use of this last feature that the trouble began. I punched in the buttons for 25 minutes, but instead of beginning the timer, I hit the start button.
A minute or so later, there was smoke.
The oven mitts got hot - they really were hot pads now. Once we discovered what was going on, I took the whole stack out to the garage, where I noticed one set had melted together and continued to smoke rather heavily.
This is where unlucky could have turned to tragedy, but fortunately I had the presence of mind to take the smoldering mitts out and set them in the middle of the wet grass. The next morning, this is what I found:
Yikes - that could have happened in our garage filled with boxes. Not a good thing.
Still, we managed to get the smoke cleared from the house, and soon we were smelling the delicious Italian dinner instead of burnt polyester.
As for the pizza, it turned out very well. The leftovers aren't as easy to deal with as the traditional pizza, but still an overall success.