I’m a huge Pizza Hut pan pizza lover, but Jim’s not, so we rarely ever eat it. That’s why I got so excited when I saw a recipe to make it in my own kitchen. Around the same time, I watched an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives where they featured a sandwich pizza, and that totally pushed me over the edge. Pan pizza, here I come.
Well, as it turns out, my life was probably a little happier before I realized that pan pizza pretty much cooks itself in a puddle of oil. How could I not know that? Is it weird that I’m sad? I am. I won’t ever be able to just enjoy a pan pizza with reckless abandon ever again. Sigh.
Picture my favorite sandwich in pizza form. Thin slices of roast beef on garlic bread, smothered with cheese, then warmed up until it’s nothing but toasty goodness. Great idea, right? My problem came when I was planning to brush garlic butter onto the dough, but all the stinkin’ oil came up and flooded the top. I did the best I could and dotted the dough here and there with garlic butter, layered a big pile of deli roast beef on it, then topped it with provolone and sharp cheddar cheeses. It was tasty, but it’s a lot easier to use a loaf of garlic bread. Duly noted.
I think I’ll try a lighter version of pan pizza another time by just spraying the pans with nonstick cooking spray and maybe adding a smidge of olive oil in the bottom for flavor. I know it wouldn’t be the real deal, but I bet it would be close enough.
Recipe: Pan Pizza
(from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
3/4 cup skim milk plus 2 additional tablespoons, warmed to 110 F
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
pizza toppings of your choice
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 200 F. When oven reaches temperature, turn it off. Lightly grease a large bowl with cooking spray. Coat each of two 9-inch cake pans with 3 tablespoons oil.
Mix milk, sugar, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a measuring cup. Add the flour, yeast, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix briefly just to combine the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low, slowly add the milk mixture to the bowl. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is shiny and smooth, about 5 minutes. Turn the dough onto your work surface, gently shape it into ball, and place it in the greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the warm oven until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, divide in half, and lightly roll each half into ball. Shape each half into a 9 1/2-inch round and transfer to one of the oiled cake pans. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm spot (not in the oven) until puffy and slightly risen, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F.
Remove plastic wrap from dough. Ladle sauce on each round, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges. Sprinkle each with your favorite cheese and top with your favorite toppings. Bake until the cheese is melted and the crust has puffed and is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let pizzas rest in pans for 1 minute. Using spatula, transfer pizzas to cutting board and cut each into wedges.
Makes two 9-inch pizzas