Stuffed Pizza (a la Zachary’s or Giordano’s)

Zachary's Pizza

Stuffed Pizza

One of the great joys of living in Berkeley, California, is the opportunity to eat at Zachary’s Pizza. There is always a wait for a table (they don’t take reservations), but that’s part of the fun.  Put your name on the list, order your pizza (which will take 30 mins) and grab a cold beer for the wait.  If you are not up for bonding with the denizens of Berkeley, call in your order for a half-baked pie.  Then pick it up and finish baking it at home.  After we moved out of California, I was known to take half-baked pizzas back on the plane with me.  Here is our (humble) version of this great pizza.  For those of you from the Chicago area, you will be reminded of Giordano’s.

Crust:
16 oz. flour
1 C warm water
1.5 t instant dry yeast (or 1 cake fresh yeast)
2 t sugar
2 t salt
2 t olive oil
8 oz crushed tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
1 T basil (preferably fresh), chopped
2 cloves minced fresh garlic
¼ t yellow cornmeal
Filling:
Shredded cheese (usually mozzarella)
Choice of fresh ingredients

Creating the Perfect Crust:
Pour warm water into a large mixing bowl and dissolve in sugar and yeast.  Add flour, salt and oil and mix until the dough forms a ball.  You can add more flour or water to adjust the consistency.  Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Place dough back in bowl, cover with a damp towel and leave in a warm spot to rise (while the dough is rising mix the sauce – see below).  When dough has doubled in size, repeat kneading and rising.

After the dough has risen a second time, split off 1/3 of the dough.

Mixing the Sauce:
Mix tomatoes and tomato sauce and add the chopped garlic and basil. Mix.  The sauce should stand for awhile, so I suggest preparing it during the first dough rising.

Putting it All Together:
Preheat oven to 475°F (245°C) (use a baking stone if you have one).  Grease and cornmeal a deep baking pan.  Take the larger piece of dough and roll out to fit the pan with dough coming over the edges.  Add your ingredients for the filling, starting and ending with a layer of cheese.

Roll out the smaller piece of dough to cover the pizza.  Tuck in the edges of this piece between the filling and the side.  Now fold the remaining crust down.  Keep top of crust below the edge of the pan.

Place in oven and bake for approx. 25 min.  Carefully remove pizza from pan and place on a large cutting board.  Bon appetite!

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