Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mac & Cheese..on pizza?

I was always adamantly against the macaroni and cheese pizza at Cici's. "Macaroni and cheese is a meal in itself! It doesn't belong on a pizza!" Well...I tried it and, like it was the crack of the pizza world, I was hooked. I craved it. But the only downside is Cici's is in the next town over, a trip we can't usually make just randomly, and we can't always afford to go out. We have a lot of kids. And Kyle, who eats like a bottomless pit. So, I had to try and figure out how to make this. I finally attempted it today and, I'm glad to say, I'm fairly proud of the results. I may do some tweaking here and there, but not too much.

At first when I had it in the pan, I swore it looked more like a casserole. But after it was baked...

Yay! It looked like a pizza..kinda!
It's a pretty simple recipe. Definitely something I could do again and again.

Macaroni And Cheese Pizza

1 1/4 c. lukewarm water
1 pkg. dry active yeast
1 tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsbp. garlic powder (this is based on taste, so it can be omitted)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
3+ c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder**

2 jars cheese spaghetti sauce (we used Ragu's cheddar cheese sauce)
1 pkg. (1 lb.) noodles of your choice (as long as their not spaghetti or fettuccine or something like that)
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

**I normally don't really measure. I estimate. I've cooked enough to get good estimates, though.**

So, you (ofcourse) start with the dough. I used my KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer with a dough hook. You can use a hand mixer with dough hook attachment(s) or by hand, but my mixer makes life so much easier. You begin by mixing the warm water and the yeast. The yeast will partially dissolve and foam, the usual. Then pour that into your mixing bowl. Add your olive oil and white sugar and mix until combined. Add your salt and your flour, but go slowly with the flour. I only needed about 3 1/2 cups, plus what I used to roll out the dough. Add in your baking powder** and mix it until your ball of dough is elasticy (is that a word?) and smooth. It pretty must just shouldn't be sticking to the bowl, but partially sticky to the touch. Oil a bowl (I pour about a tbsp of olive oil into a glass bowl and rub the bowl down with it using a paper towel) and put your ball of dough in it. Cover it with a damp washcloth and let it rise until it's doubled in size.

**The baking powder isn't really necessary if your yeast is good and active, but I have a problem with yeast, so I add it as a precaution.
YAY! Your dough rised! Time for the fun part! Punch the crap outta your dough and knead it with your hands on a floured surface. It shouldn't be sticky enough that it's stuck on your fingers. Roll it out to fit your pan to the thickness you want. Poke holes into the rolled out dough with fork tines. I may do this a bit excessively, but I like to be sure.  Pour and spread one jar of the cheese sauce evenly over the dough and then sprinkle some mozzarella over it.
While you're punching your dough and rolling it out, boil your pasta until it's cooked the way you like it (time varies between the type of pasta, but it's generally anywhere between 10-15 minutes). When your pasta's done, drain it and mix in the second jar of cheese sauce. Top your pizza dough with your pasta and then sprinkle it with parmesan and mozzarella. Bake it until the crust is golden brown at 375. I usually just keep checking it, so I don't have a set time. Probably around 20-30 minutes, if I had to guess.

And there you have it! Your very own macaroni and cheese pizza!

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