Stuffed Pizza

Having grown up in Chicago, we missed the stuffed pan pizza of our youth. This recipe approximates those pizzas. I use red pepper, mushrooms, and onions, but you can choose zucchini, eggplant, or many other vegetables. Be sure to keep the vegetables dry so that the crust does not get soggy. In fact, if you are using mushrooms, you might want to use reconstituted dried mushrooms to keep down the moisture.





About 1 1/2 cups chopped vegetables (select among zucchini, green or red bell pepper, eggplant, onions, mushrooms), sauteed in olive oil. About 8-12 ounces grated mozzarella cheese

Dissolve sugar and yeast in water. Set aside.
You can either mix this dough by hand or use a food processor with the plastic blade. Mix flour and salt in a large 4- to 5-quart mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour; add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix and knead thoroughly until a rough mass of dough is formed that cleans the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface; knead for 5-6 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft. Dust with flour if the dough sticks to your hands. Dust the dough lightly with flour; place it in a lightly floured mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Set it in a warm place to rise for 1-1/2 hours, until doubled in bulk.
Punch down the dough; turn it out onto a work surface and knead for about 1 minute Divide the dough into two unequal pieces. Roll out the larger piece until it is about 3 inches larger than the pan and 1/8 inch thick. (12-inch pizza pan, 2 inches deep). Oil the bottom and sides of the pan. Place the dough in the pan; push it into the bottom and sides. The dough should overlap the pan by about 1 inch. Trim off excess overlap with a knife. Set the pan aside. Roll out the second piece of dough until it is about the same size as the pan.


Mix all ingredients except cheese.


Saute vegetables and mix with cheese.

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Put the stuffing on the bottom layer of dough. Lay the second piece of dough over the vegetable-cheese mixture. Crimp the 2 edges of dough together with your fingers to form a thick border. Press down on the filling with your hand. Cut a 1-inch slit in the center of the top crust to allow steam to escape.
Spread the sauce on the crust. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake in preheated oven, on lowest rack, 10 minutes. Move the pizza to an oven rack 2 slots above the lower rack and bake 25-30 minutes, until brown.
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