Go Beyond Just The Crust And Taste The Possibilities Of Stuffed Pizza

slice of stuffed pizza
slice of stuffed pizza - Ja Crispy/Shutterstock

If you think deep dish is as thick and cheesy as pizza gets, then you need to be introduced to stuffed. Over the last few decades, pizza chains have been trying to fit cheese into pies anywhere they can, from Domino's stuffed cheesy bread to Pizza Hut's enduringly popular stuffed crust. That quest for the cheesiest of dinners has led them to try out thick-crusted regional variations like Detroit-style, but so far none of them have dared go all-in and produce an actual pie filled with cheese. For that, you need to find a place that serves stuffed pizza.

Stuffed pizza is a variation on Chicago-style deep dish, but it makes the unfair comparison between its relative and casseroles actually seem a little more reasonable. While deep dish is usually pretty thick, stuffed pizza towers over it, and one slice is usually a full meal. Like deep dish, the tomato sauce goes on top of a stuffed pizza, but it gets its name from a second layer of crust that separates the cheese filling from the sauce. It's essentially a huge sauce-topped pot pie, with the crust made of a crunchy, buttery pizza dough, and filled with mozzarella and toppings. The extra layer of insulation from the second crust means that stuffed pizza's cheese is even more melty and molten than deep dish.

Read more: 30 Popular Frozen Pizzas, Ranked Worst To Best

Stuffed Pizza Is A Double-Crust Variation On Deep Dish That's Overflowing With Melted Cheese

stuffed pizza in box
stuffed pizza in box - Villa Italian Kitchen / Facebook

As a take on Chicago deep dish, stuffed pizza hasn't been around as long as its progenitor, but it still has some history behind it. It came about in the early 70s when two Chicago pizzeria's Nancy's and Giordano's started serving it. It's not clear who "invented," the pizza or started serving it first, both claim to have done so, but stuffed pizza was directly inspired by the Italian dish scarciedda, which is a meat pie served on Easter. Topped with sauce like the pizzas they were already serving, and combined with a deep-dish style crust that is extra crunchy and firm to support the weight and moisture of the fillings, the creation took on a life of its own as stuffed pizza.

The fillings for stuffed pizza don't differ much from a deep dish pie, but they always need to be hearty and flavorful to stand up to all that cheese. The classic meat is crumbled sausage, sometimes paired with peppers and onions, which is layered on top of the cheese before the pizza is baked. Spinach is also a popular veggie variation for its strong, mildly bitter flavor that can balance out the fat of the cheese. But pretty much anything you like on a pizza, from pepperoni to mushrooms, will work in stuffed pizza. You just need a lot of it, because stuffed pizza is made to stuff you.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.