Ridiculous Deep Dish Veggie Pizza Pie

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It’s cold here. I’m not sure where you are as you read this, but it’s in the twenties tonight in Baltimore and we needed a hearty, warming supper to chase away the winter chills. Enter the Ridiculous Deep Dish Veggie Pizza Pie. This is more than just a slice of pizza, it will literally warm you from the inside out. It’s filling, savory and a fun project to boot. And why is it ridiculous? Well, you need to make the recipe and find out!

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We made our own herb dough in this dish, but I want to let you know, it’s not necessary. If you prefer to skip that part, just buy two balls of pre-made pizza dough at your local grocery, Trader Joe’s, or get it from a favorite pizzeria. Then follow the steps for the filling and baking below. Just make sure you are hungry, cuz this meal-in-one will stick to your ribs!

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Ridiculous Deep Dish Veggie Pizza Pie

1 package dry active yeast

1 cup warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 Tbsp. dried basil

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

2 Tbsp. olive oil plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup chopped mushrooms (we used shiitakes)

1 bag frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out

1 jar pasta sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)

1 8 oz. bag of mozzarella Daiya

In a small bowl, combine sugar and warm water with yeast. Allow to sit for five minutes, so yeast can activate. In a large bowl, combine flour, dried basil and dried oregano. When yeast is fluffy and foamy, pour into the flour mixture. Stir together until dough begins to form, then add 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Work oil into the dough, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about five minutes. Dough should be soft and pliable.

Spray the mixing bowl with non-stick spray and return dough-ball to bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm area to rise for about an hour. Dough-ball will double in size.

While the dough is doing its thing, make the pizza pie filling. In remaining tablespoon of oil, saute onions and garlic in a large pan over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until wilted. Add spinach, being sure to break apart any lumpy bits, and 1/2 jar of your favorite pasta sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and when heated through, take off heat and set aside.

Oil a deep-dish, oven-safe pan, such as a large pie plate, deep-dish Pyrex pan or Corningware dish. It should be about 12 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep. This is not the meal for your flat pizza stone or a baking sheet!

When the dough is ready, remove the cloth and punch it down. Really get in there and give it a good whack. This should be fun. It will gradually deflate and make a sound like it’s sighing. At this point, preheat your oven to 400. Next, pull the dough into to chunks, about 1/3 and 2/3. Using your hands or a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, work the 2/3 chunk of dough into a shape that will cover the bottom of your dish and the sides with a tiny it of overhang. Place in the oiled deep-dish and press into corners, making sure the dough covers the bottom and sides, with enough leftover to close the pie at the top.

Pour about half the bag of Daiya mozzarella into the dough, then follow with all the prepared veggie filling from your pan, and top with nutritional yeast if using and the rest of the Daiya. Now, to close the pizza pie, use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten out the 1/3 chunk of dough to a circle slightly larger than your deep dish. Carefully place it on top of the pie and twist or crimp the edges shut using any method you like. Some folks use a fork, some make folds. Really fancy bakers actually make shapes. We like little twists.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 40 minutes. When your pizza pie is ready, the top will be browned and your entire kitchen will smell heavenly. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving. We got 8 portions from our pie, but this may vary depending on the size of the dish you use.

To serve – we liked ours with a little extra warmed pasta sauce for dipping; a crisp green garden salad on the side and red wine.

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