#SamLikesItHot: Pizza pot pie

Sam Oh
I love pizza so much, even uttering the word 'pizza' elicits a tsunami of affection for me

COMFORT FOOD SERIES. Sam begins the month with her favorite comfort food — pizza. Photo by Sam Oh

MANILA, Philippines – Hello, dear reader and hello, September! The beginning of another month full of yumminess is always exciting but this one is particularly so because I am dedicating September to the gastronomic equivalent of love — comfort food. 

I did a quick survey on Twitter and Facebook on what people consider comfort food and came up with 4 broad categories:

  • The carbs + cheese combo
  • Breakfast food
  • Soupy noodles 
  • Chocolate-y dessert

I plan to tackle one dish per category every Friday of this month so come join me and let’s get comfy!

Our first comfort food is my personal favorite: PIZZA. I love pizza so much, even uttering the word “pizza” elicits a tsunami of affection for me.

I love it ALL: thick crust or thin, hot or cold, gourmet or fakey-bread-with-sauce-pretending-to-be-pizza pizza. One love!

I trace back my immense love for this dish to my childhood. My Mom used to make pizza on white bread in a large saucepan when I was a kid and it was always an event. When I missed school because I was sick, my Dad would order pizza for me. Pizza had no choice but to be my comfort food.

So here we go.

As much as I am mad about it just the way it is, I wanted to do something slightly different with the dish today. Bust out the ramekins, we’re making pizza pot pie!

I saw a feature on pizza pot pie on some TV show not so long ago and I’ve always wanted to try it at home.

This recipe yields about 8 of these babies and we start with the dough using:

  • 3 ½ cups flour (all-purpose is fine)
  • ½ T salt
  • 2 ¼ t active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ t sugar
  • 1 t Italian seasoning
  • ¾ t garlic powder
  • 2 T olive oil + extra for greasing
  • 1 ¾ cup warm water

1. The first thing to do when you’re working with yeast is to make sure that it’s alive and well. To do this, put a tablespoon of your yeast with a teaspoon of sugar in warm water and let stand for 10 minutes. You’re good to go if this mixture starts to foam. 

As for this dough, add the yeast, sugar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and olive oil to the warm water and let stand for 10 minutes.

Photo by Sam Oh

2. While waiting, take the flour and salt to a medium bowl and whisk with a fork. Whisking flour has similar effects to sifting, only without the hassle. By the way, check out the pizza flour I picked up at my grocery store. There’s not a lick of English on the packaging so I don’t know how it’s different from all-purpose flour but it does feel a lot grainier. 

Photo by Sam Oh

3. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture. The yeast mixture should be foamy and creamy by now. Pour it into the well and start whisking with a fork, working the flour little by little into the well. You will eventually end up with a mound of dough. This dough should neither be too wet nor too dry and only slightly stick to the bottom of the bowl.

Photo by Sam Oh

4. Grease a large bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough into this bowl and cover with cling wrap. Let rise someplace warm for 2 hours.

Photo by Sam Oh

While the dough is busy doing its thing, we can get to the other elements of this pizza pot pie, namely the sauce and toppings. 

For my pizza sauce, I used:

  • About 2 T olive oil
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 200 g pack tomato sauce
  • About 1 t dried oregano
  • ½ t onion powder
  • About 1 ½ t sugar or to taste
  • About ½ t salt or to taste

1. It helps to get diced tomatoes that already have flavor going on like this one. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan on medium heat and pour in the contents. Canned tomatoes tend to taste a little tinny so we’re gonna cook that off for about 5 minutes.

Photo by Sam Oh

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Turn down the heat to a simmer and let cook for an hour. When done, taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

Photo by Sam Oh

You can absolutely go wild with the toppings. That’s kind of the point with homemade pizza. I chose to build mine with:

Smoked Italian sausage

It’s absolutely delicious!

Photo by Sam Oh

Sauteed shitake mushrooms

Photo by Sam Oh

I used the fat rendered from the sausage to sauté some sliced shitake mushrooms seasoned with salt, freshly ground pepper and thyme. Thyme and mushrooms are BFFs. 

A little note on preparing mushrooms: do not wash them with water. Instead, wipe thoroughly but softly with a paper towel and only if you must. If there are traces of dirt still, well, you’ll live. 

Aside from mozzarella, parmesan and goat cheese, I also decided to top my pizza pot pie with a salad of shaved asparagus and red onions. It was a little ridiculous trying to shave thin stalks of asparagus but it’s doable! 

Photo by Sam Oh

I dressed the shaved asparagus and paper-thin slices of red onions with a vinaigrette made with olive oil, cider vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper. I left this to sit for about 10 minutes because the light pickling that occurs takes the edge off the onions.

Photo by Sam Oh

And now we can finally assemble! First, a look at the risen dough. The dough should’ve at least doubled in size.

Photo by Sam Oh

1. Preheat your oven to 200 C/390 F. Grease the bottom and rim of your ramekins (or in my case, shallow all-purpose bowls). Take the dough to a floured surface and push down several times to deflate. 

Photo by Sam Oh

2. Roll out portions of the dough. Each portion should be enough to cover the top of your ramekins. Layer the cheese, sausage, mushrooms and sauce in your ramekins and in that order — we’re basically building a pizza backwards.

Photo by Sam Oh

3. Cover ramekins with rolled out dough and press down the sides of the rim to secure. Brush the top with olive oil and pop in the oven until golden brown, about 11 minutes.

Photo by Sam Oh

4. Let cool for a few minutes when done. To serve, place the ramekin upside down on a plate and run a knife around the edges.

Photo by Sam Oh

Photo by Sam Oh

5. Top with shaved asparagus and red onion salad. And that, ladies and gents, is our pizza pot pie from scratch!

Photo by Sam Oh

This is a really novel way of enjoying an all-time favorite and it would be great if you need to make single serving pizzas or just want to have some fun with the kids. However, if you want to go the regular flat pizza route, you can absolutely do that, too! Just make sure to bake on parchment paper.

Photo by Sam Oh

Be still my heart. Isn’t it beautiful? I love the flavors of this pizza — smoky sausage, woodsy mushroom, pizza sauce that’s tangy with a hint of sweetness all engulfed in warm, gooey cheese. The asparagus and onion salad on top adds acidity, crunch and freshness to balance out the richness. It’s all made even more delicious by the love that went into it!

I know making anything from scratch can be a little bit intimidating but I really hope you give this a try. Practice makes perfect! It’s also loads of fun and well worth it. Buon appetito! – Rappler.com

Check out our other recipes:

Sam Oh

Sam Oh is a professional TV and events host, radio jock and foodie. Catch her on radio at First Thing In The Morning with Sam and Gibb on Magic 89.9, Monday to Thursday, 6am to 9am. She is also a food blogger at Sam Likes It Hot. If you have questions or recipe requests, email desk@rappler.com with subject heading SAM LIKES IT HOT.



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