After an afternoon of hockey playing my clan wanted pizza for dinner.  Now in our little town of 7000 people we have over 7 pizza shops. I say over 7, because I’m not including the 3 sit down restaurants that also serve pizza. That’s a lot of pizza; one take-out pizza joint per thousand. Come to think of it, my town may need a pizza intervention. With all these choices, you might expect that I would be able to find a pizza that suits my tastes, but I can’t. They are all pretty much the same and when you don’t eat meat on your pizza your options are limited.

I am totally bragging when I tell you that my 7-year-old said “but I want to make my own pizza, the pizza man (apparently the pizza makers in our town are always male…I hadn’t noticed) never has broccoli for ours.”  (I did a little cheer in my seat.)  So we needed dough and wouldn’t you know, that out of the 7 pizza places in our town, only ONE, and yes we tried all 7, only ONE would sell us pizza dough.  Can I get an “R” for Rizzo’s!

After some discussion and planning, pizza turned into panzerottis a.k.a. stuffed pizzas.  The kids stuffed theirs with broccoli, mozzarella, (some goat cheese for my daughter), mushrooms and olives, and basil for my son. My husband’s – the works – all of the above with onion and green peppers too.  Mine was a bit different, stuffed with garlicy greens….. and let me tell you, I’m lucky I got a bite.  It was that good. The recipe is below.

Make sure you have extra pizza sauce on hand for dipping.  Be sparing with the sauce inside your panzerotti, pour most of it into a small bowl and dip as you eat.

If you never tried pizzeria pizza dough at home, I highly recommend it.  It is far superior to anything you can buy from the freezer section of your local grocery store.  Of course you could make your own dough.  If you got the time, I applaud you. I’m a new hockey-mom, so give me a break.

It’s cheap too. We normally ask for enough dough to make a large pizza. For panzerottis for the 4 of us we just cut the dough into 4 almost equal pieces. The kids could easily share a 1/4 but they love choosing their own toppings so we just save the uneaten portions for later. Left over panzerotti is just as good as leftover pizza.  You could easily cut a large pizza into 6 if you needed to.

Through trial and error I have learned that it is much easier to just roll out the whole pizza dough, as if you were making a large square-ish pizza, and then cut it.  Cut dough does not roll very well and you may need to let it rest again. This is also much easier when the kids are “helping”.  Giving the kids a ball of dough to flatten and then fill usually means squidgy, slimy tough little balls of dough with some sauce and cheese pushed in.  If you are doing this with kids, give them a flatten piece of dough and then let them loose – spreading the sauce and choosing their filling.

Here is my versions of stuffed pizza

Kale and goat cheese stuffed pizza

This will fill 1/4 of the dough for a “large” pizza.

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2-1/2 – 3 cups, washed, chopped and packed kale
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup button mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. goat cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. mozzarella, divided
  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. sundried tomato pesto (I’m sure any other pesto would work just as well)
  • your favourite jar of pizza sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 425.

We use a perforated round pizza pan, non-shiny aluminum.  Every time we use it my husband says “That’s the best 7 dollars we ever spent!”  And I totally agree. I’ve wanted to purchase a second and I can’t find another like it. The holes throughout the bottom guarantee a crispy bottom crust.  I don’t usually grease the pan, but I do sprinkle it with cornmeal.  Which is somewhat redundant because of the holes, but I’m convinced prevents the dough from even thinking about sticking.

In a small skillet heat oil over medium heat.  Add kale and garlic and sauté until kale is wilted.  Add chilli flakes and salt to taste.  At a tablespoon of water if needed to keep the kale from sticking while it cooks.  Cook 5-10 mins.

Remove from heat and set aside.

Chop mushrooms and spread pesto on one half of your flatten pizza dough.

Once the kale is cool to the touch, mix in the goat cheese, oregano and 1 tablespoon of mozzarella. You may need to use your fingers to distribute the goat cheese evenly. Mix in the mushrooms.

Stack the kale on top of the pesto.  Top with the remaining mozzarella. Fold over the dough to form a pocket.  Pinch and fold over the edges to create a seal around the pie.  Place the panzerotti on your prepared pizza pan and bake until the crust is nicely browned and you can hear the filling sizzling. About 15 mins.

Warning these will be burn-your-mouth-off hot when first out of the oven. Slit the top to let some heat and steam out and let it sit for a few minutes before digging in. Serve with pizza sauce on the side.