Two classics come together to make these hearty and delicious pizza pot pies. Baked in individual ramekins, they are covered in a crispy, golden crust made of pizza dough brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Tucked inside are some of my favorite pizza toppings including sliced Italian sausage, black olives, onions, and peppers doused generously with tomato sauce and plenty of mozzarella cheese. Like ‘deconstructed’ pizzas.
By improvising on the filling ingredients they can be easily personalized to suit any taste or craving. They are a great vehicle for reinventing leftovers whether it’s using traditional pizza toppings or more creative and modern ones. Some ideas to get you started: meatballs, chicken and broccoli, pepperoni, salami, ham and pineapple, bacon, chorizo. cooked ground beef, roasted vegetables, eggplant, artichokes, cubed potatoes, roasted red peppers, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. You can even play around and use different cheeses like provolone or ricotta and use an alternative sauce like alfredo.
These will become a favorite for everyone! Especially kids, who will have fun digging a ‘hole’ through the crust to get to the
toppings filling below. Homey and comforting, these will fill your home with mouth-watering smells and put an entirely new twist on pizza night.
Pizza Pot Pies
(inspired by Giada De Laurentiis)
16 ounces Italian sausage links, hot or sweet
olive oil, for sauteing and brushing over top
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 can black olives, chopped
2 + 2/3 cups tomato sauce
2 + 2/3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 pound pizza dough, recipe to follow, or store-bought
olive oil, for brushing over top
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling over top
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and add sausage links. Roast for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove to cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut into thin slices.
2. To a large skillet add enough oil to thinly coat bottom, add onion and green pepper. Saute until tender. Add oregano, salt, pepper and the sausages, combine well and remove from heat.
3. On a floured counter top or cutting board divide dough into 4 pieces, stretch or roll out with a rolling pin into circles an inch or two larger than the ramekins.
4. Grease 4-10 ounce oven-proof ramekins including outer rim. Add 1/3 cup sauce to bottom of each, followed by 1/3 cup mozzarella. Divide sausage mixture evenly between them. Cover with a 1/3 cup sauce, followed by 1/3 cup cheese. Divide olives evenly between them. Place dough circles over top and stretch over the sides pressing down to seal them.
5. Brush tops with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan. Cut slits in the top for steam to escape. Bake 20-25 minutes until tops are golden brown. Let set for five minutes before serving.
2 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoons sugar
2 and 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and add sugar. Place in a warm spot for a few minutes then check to make sure the yeast is active. It should be bubbly – leave it until it has doubled in size about ten minutes.
2.In a large bowl add the flour and make a well in the middle for the yeast mixture and water. Add the other 1/2 cup of warm water, oil, the yeast mixture and the salt. Stir until everything is incorporated and then start working the dough using your hands. Knead the dough on a floured board until smooth and elastic about three minutes.
3. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with saran wrap or a thin kitchen towel. Set in a warm place to rise about 1 and ½ hours or until dough is doubled in size.
4. Punch down and knead the dough again for a few minutes on a floured board. Use your hands/fist to stretch the dough to fit your pizza pan, if you have trouble stretching the dough let it relax for ten minutes.