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Double Stuffed Pizza

I can never have enough cheese in my pizza. When stuffed crust is available, I order it. I always order extra cheese on my pizza. I love the stringy, melty white ropes of mozzarella (with provolone, if I can add it) stretching between my slice and the remaining pizza. But adding extra cheeses and “fancy” options like stuffed crust can get expensive, especially if you like to add meat toppings (and I do).

Therefore, I like to make my own pizzas best; I can slather the crust with butter, bedazzle the top with meat and drown my poor crust with cheese. Unfortunately, the crust suffers from sogginess when coated in too many toppings and cheese.

I got to thinking the other day- how can I ensure a super cheesy pizza and a crispy crust? Stuff the whole crust and bake it in two stages. This pizza is like a garlic butter stuffed crust, sauceless calzone with pizza on top. The entire crust is stuffed with cheese, baked, topped with sauce, cheese and toppings and baked again, ensuring perfectly cooked crust filled with stringy cheese. 

Feel free to omit the spinach when you make this for yourself if you prefer; that little bit of greenery was the only salve to my conscience after so much garlic buttery, cheesy, meaty goodness. 

For the Dough
3 ½ cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 1/3 cups of warm water, about 110 degrees
2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast

3 cups of spinach
2 links of sausage, removed from casing and browned, hot or mild
Pepperoni slices
1/3 cup marinara sauce
shredded mozzarella
grate parmigiano reggiano, pecorino romano
mozzarella sticks
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tablespoon parsley, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
Red pepper flakes
Dried oregano
Olive oil

Standing Mixer method:

Add the sugar to the warm water to a bowl and mix. Add the yeast and set it aside until it has activated. You want to see bubbles and foam.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, salt, and olive oil. Add in your activated yeast mixture.With the speed on medium, mix until everything is combined. Once everything is combined, reduce the speed to low and mix for 10 minutes.

Oil a bowl with olive oil and set aside. For the dough into a ball and place i in the oiled bowl, coating all of the dough with oil to avoid the formation of a crust. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of each bowl and place the dough into a warm place. Let rise for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.

Bread Machine method:

Add the sugar to the warm water to a bowl and mix. Add the yeast and set it aside until it has activated. You want to see bubbles and foam. Bowl this into the bowl of your bread mixer.

Add your oil, to the yeast mixture, then add your flour and salt. Select the dough function on your bread maker. Walk away until you hear the ding.

Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a skillet over medium heat, breaking apart the meat with a wooden spoon to form small crumbles. Remove from the pan and drain the pan of excess grease. Over medium heat, wilt the 3 cups of spinach. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, parsley, salt and minced garlic. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Flour your counter generously; roll the dough pieces into thin 12 by 12 inch squares.

Oil a 10 by 10 inch pan. Drape one dough square into the pan. Spread with mozzarella cheese and spinach. Lay mozzarella sticks along the border on the pan. Drape over the next dough rectangles. Pinch the dough together to form a mozzarella stick stuffed crust and shredded mozzarella and spinach stuffed base.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven. Brush the garlic butter on the stuffed crust. Spread the marinara over the pizza center. Top with more mozzarella, grated parm and pecorino, crumbled sausage and pepperoni. Return to the oven and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, the cheese is bubbling and the pepperoni is crisp.

Let the pizza cool in the pan for 10 minutes before slicing. Dust with red pepper flakes and oregano. Enjoy!


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