Enjoy! Because life is too short to deprive the palate!


Crusty Stuffed Crust Pan Pizza with Ricotta, Gouda, & Manchego Cheese

As per request of my darling boyfriend Tom, I decided to try my hand at making homemade pizza- dough and all! The results were absolutely divine.

I adapted a basic recipe for the dough that produces focaccia-esque results, that is very simple and requires minimal kneading. I chose to pair this dough with a neat trick I had seen on The Food Network: using string cheese to make stuffed crust!

The speciality
cheese section in the grocery store is definitely one of my weaknesses and with all the local farms producing fresh, limited and seasonal cheeses, I've gone a bit wild. I used a Noorda Cow's Milk Gouda, which has a very sharp, nutty flavor and is neatly paired with the mellow taste of the Ricotta. With kudos to my Mother for sharing the first bite, I recently discovered my new favorite cheese: Manchego. This delectable bite of heaven is Spain's Most Famous Cheese and while on the pricier end, the intensely creamy after taste is well worth the extra change. Plus, if you shell out to make this pizza you can also put the Manchego to good use making my Sliced Tomato Summer Salad- that is assuming you haven't already devoured it all!

Crusty Stuffed Crust Pan Pizzas

To Make the Dough:
  • 3 1/2 Cups White Unbleached Flour
  • 1 1/3 Cups Warm Water
  • 1 Packet of Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 
*In a large bowl mix the flour and the salt. Using your hands, hollow out the center of the flour, forming a well, with the mixture as walls. Pour the warm water into the middle, add the yeast and allow to foam. After a few moments mix all ingredients in the bowl together, adding the sugar, and kneading the dough into a ball until it is sticky and well mixed. Coat the outside of the ball with the Olive Oil and cover with a moist cloth. Let sit for 1 to 1.5 hours to let rise. The dough should double in size during this time. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees about 30 minutes before the dough is set to finish rising. 

Making the Sauce:
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes, 14.5 oz
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Basil (Or save time using an Italian Seasoning that combines all 4 of these spices but does not have added salt!)
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Pressed
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tsp. Corn Starch, to thicken
  • Salt, to taste
  • Crushed Red Pepper
*When the dough has about 10 minutes of rising time left begin the sauce. Add the tomatoes to a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil, mashing the tomatoes with a fork and stirring frequently. Add all spices and the garlic. After 2 minutes reduce heat to medium and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the butter and the corn starch stirring rapidly. Reduce to a simmer. 

*Once the dough has doubled remove it from the bowl, gently roll it out with your hands into a thick log and separate in to two appx. 9inch parts. Roll into balls. 

Depending on how many people you are feeding you can chose to freeze one of these balls of dough or use it to make two pizzas. Tom and I enjoy different toppings so I made two personal pan pizzas and then we swapped slices. I also made his with Stuffed Crust and mine without. It is always nice to have leftovers for lunch the next day! 

Making the Pizza
  • 2- 9x5" Pie Dishes, sprayed with Canola Oil
  • Dried Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Marjoram (Italian Seasoning!)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Seasoned Salt
  • 3 sticks of String Cheese, halved vertically
    • I used Trader Joe's Fresh Mozzarella String Cheese, it is very mild and unsalted.
*Stretch the ball of dough, pulling on all edges in a circular motion. Press it into the sprayed pie dish, pinching up the edges. If you are going to make the Stuffed Crust, press the dough up higher on the edges, place the halved piece of string cheese along the edge of the pie dish and curl the dough down around it, pinching it closed with the dough at the base of the dish. Repeat this with all six halves, making your way around the pie dish. 

*Sprinkle the spices, the garlic powder, and the seasoned salt across the bottom of the dish. Rub the dough, the base and the edges with a small amount of olive oil, spreading the spices across the entire surface. 

*Spoon the sauce into the center and spread out to the edges of the pizza, also in a circular motion. Repeat for each pie dish if you are going to make both pizzas. 
Now for the toppings!!

For Tom's Pepperoni, Black Olives, & Bell Peppers Pizza
    • 1/4 cup Cow's Milk Gouda
    • 1/2 cup Manchego (Plus extra to grate over the top)
    • 2 Tbsp. Ricotta
    • 1/4 cup Black Olives, diced
    • 1/2 of a large Green Bell Pepper, diced
    • 10 Pepperoni Slices
*Grate the Gouda and then the Manchego freshly on top of the sauce. Spoon the Ricotta on to the pizza and crumble with you finger. Pinwheel the Pepperoni's into the center starting at the inner crust. Sprinkle with the Black Olives and Bell Peppers and finish with an additional grating of Manchego

    • 1/4 cup Cow's Milk Gouda
    • 1/4 cup Manchego 
    • 2 Tbsp. Freshly Grated Parmesan
    • 2 Tbsp. Ricotta
    • 2 large Cremini Mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 3 pieces of Fresh Basil
    • 4-5 Artichoke hearts, halved
*Add the cheese in the same manner as above. Tear the basil into small pieces and sprinkle across the pizza. Lay the mushroom slices and the artichoke hearts generously on top. Top with the freshly grated parmesan. 

*Place both pizzas into your preheated oven and bake at 500 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the crust turns a rich golden brown. Serve with crushed red peppers, parmesan, and a nice cold drink. 

Of course you can always just use the dough and sauce recipe and then top your master creation with whatever tasty temptations please your palate best!

Enjoy :] 
<3 Marea


  1. Marea, you are an amazing and accomplished cook. I am the lucky neighbor who you can borrow a cup of sugar from...as long as you bring the cup back filled with a taste! Love, Mommy xxoo

  2. Delicious! You should also link this to my Fat Camp Friday!

  3. Those pizzas look so delicious. When my wife and I want cheese, we go to Kensington Market (in Toronto). The smellier, the better. She says that a good cheese smells like "ze feet of angels" (using a French accent).

  4. Georgeous pizzas. We're going to have to give your dough recipe a try. Hubby loves "deep dish" style pizza. We don't go out for pizza anymore. Why bother when you can make it better at home than most take outs. Newest follower.. I'll be back often to see what you're cooking up.

  5. Thank you so much for the comments!

    @Miranda- I'm probably too late to link but thank you so much for the invite, I will definitely check it out next friday!
    @Dan I like your wife! What good taste :]
    @Carla and Michael Thank you so much for the following. I am excited to go check out your blog! And let me know how the recipe works out for you :]

    Happy Thanksgiving Week!!

  6. @Miranda I take it back!! I was so excited to see I didn't miss this week's deadline :] #20 but instead of this recipe I went with my Four Layer Red Velvet Chocolate Cake with Mascarpone Frosting. *Thought I'd start off my first Fat Camp Friday submission with a true fat kid favorite :]


  7. wow, great choice of pizza...all looks delicious and healthy. happy weekend! :)

  8. Marea, I'm featuring you this week! I can't decide which Pizza recipe I love more!!! :)


Leave a comment and let me know what you think! I'm always eager to absorb your input :] Thank you for reading!

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