When Dean Martin's song hit the top of the charts a few decades ago, you may be old enough to remember it was the kind of tune that would get stuck in one's head and not go away: "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, it's amore . . ."
Meanwhile members of the language patrol were quick to tell us there was no such thing as a pizza pie; it was just plain pizza. Sorry, guys, a Pizza Pie does exist, and here it is
Sauce Fillings Crust Assembly
Sauce: There's enough sauce to make 3 deep dish pies or one large lasagna pan pie. (Note #1) The sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the pizza pie, which makes it a good choice for working parents. Recipes follow for both one deep dish pie or for the larger recipe. Sauce freezes well for future use, or utilize the rest for Sloppy Joes or Coney Islands the next day.
1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat oil on medium heat in a large skillet, preferably non-stick. Chop the onion and green pepper and place in the skillet. Stir. Add ground beef, stirring to break it up as it cooks. A potato masher is excellent for this.
Finely shred or grind the carrot, chop the fig finely and mince the garlic. If you're using a food processor, you can process them all together.
When all the pink is gone from the meat and it is well crumbled, add the carrot, fig and garlic. Continue to cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the white wine, tomato puree and all the seasonings. Stir well and turn heat down to simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes or while you assemble the pizza, stirring as needed. Do not allow to brown
Choose from the following according to your family's preferences. They are listed in the order they should be layered.
Crust: For 1 deep dish pie:
For a large lasagna pan pie:
You may substitute whole wheat flour for part of the white if you wish; it will make a heavier crust. Follow instructions below for using other than self-rising flour.
Beat all items together until well mixed. A food processor does a great job of this; use the bowl you chopped the veggies in.
Assembly: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray the pan bottom and sides thoroughly with cooking spray. Layer the fillings thinly to your taste. Follow with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese (Note #3). Press down on the entire layer to compact it somewhat, to leave room for the next ingredients.
For a deep dish pie, use about 1/3 of the tomato and ground beef filling, probably about 1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cups. For the larger version, use the entire amount of sauce. If you made it up ahead of time, nuke it in the microwave to be sure it's hot. Spread it over the mozzarella. Add another layer of shredded mozzarella over the heated sauce.
Pour crust topping over the pie; you may sprinkle on a little more parmesan if you wish. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden. Do not over-brown.
Serve with a turner or a pie or lasagna server, scooping up filling under each piece.
Note #1: This recipe will simply not fit into a normal size pie pan. If you do not have a large, deep-dish pie pan, use a small lasagna pan or similar heavy dish instead. If you make the full recipe, it will only fit in a large lasagna pan, not the smaller size.
Note #2: You may substitute tomato juice, V-8 or even water for the wine, if desired.
Note #3: Use fat-free mozzarella, low-fat or part-skim, according to your family's requirements. Naturally the part-skim version has a much richer flavor, but also adds some extra fat and calories to the dish.
Note #4: If you don't have self-rising flour on hand, use 3/4 cup of flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Note #5: If you don't have self-rising flour on hand for the larger recipe, use 2 cups of regular flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Note #6: If you don't have ground flax seed, substitute wheat germ, or simply omit this item. Flax has an excellent, nutty flavor and is a valuable source of nutrients.