Last week, a very special delivery arrived at my doorstep: a Styrofoam cooler filled with products from Formaggio Cheese, a company owned by the patent holder for stuffed crust pizza. Judging by the fact that Anthony Mongiello, or the "Big Cheese," has owned the patent since 1987, I had no doubts that this guy was the real deal, or that his cheeses would be delicious. I also knew that my collaborative post with his company would obviously involve a stuffed crust pizza recipe. (I mean, really . . . twist my arm!)
First, I watched this video of Mongiello in his pizza-making glory. Then I dug in and sampled a little of each product they sent me. Pre-sliced fresh, handmade mozzarella—both plain and rolled in pepperoni. Mini mozzarella balls marinated with oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and herbs. And the pièce de résistance—Artisan Wraps—sticks of handmade mozzarella wrapped in three different cured meats. All real ingredients. The stuff of stuffed crust pizza dreams.
The process was easy (and the result was much better than the stuffed crust I made last year). Just roll out the dough and put it on an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. Make a ring of mozzarella wraps just inside the perimeter, pull the dough up and over them, and press on the seams to seal.
Once the stuffing is secured, spread on some sauce, add cheese, and bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Because it cooks at a slightly lower temp for longer, the cheese has a chance to melt inside the crust. Thanks for the inspiration, Formaggio Cheese! Keep scrolling for the recipe, below.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (14 to 16-ounce) ball [url href="http://www.thursdaynightpizza.com/the-basics-the-only-pizza-dough-recipe-youll-ever-need-2/" target="_blank"]Basic[/url] or [url href="http://www.thursdaynightpizza.com/slow-rise-pizza-dough/" target="_blank"]Slow-Rise[/url] Pizza Dough (or pre-made pizza dough)
- 9 Artisan Wraps (or sticks of low-moisture mozzarella rolled up in prosciutto, pepperoni, or other cured meat)
- ½ to ¾ cup [url href="http://www.thursdaynightpizza.com/super-easy-marinara-sauce/" target="_blank"]marinara[/url] or other pizza sauce
- ¼ pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn, for finishing
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rub a pizza pan or rimmed baking sheet with a little olive oil.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 14-inch circle; transfer to the prepared pan or baking sheet.
- Arrange the meat-wrapped mozzarella sticks in a circle about ½ inch inside the edges of the dough, leaving ¼ inch of space between each one. Pull and fold the dough over the wraps, pressing the edges into the dough to make sure the wraps are completely enveloped.
- Spread the sauce in the middle of the dough, all the way up to the stuffed crust, and tile on the sliced mozzarella.
- Brush the dough with olive oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese begins to brown.
- Remove the pizza from the oven, let it cool for a few minutes, then scatter on the basil and finish with some salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil; slice and serve.