Mac and cheese. Pizza. Mac and cheese pizza. Mac and cheese pizza pie.
This was my thought process yesterday morning.
I was hungry, I was sca… no, no, just hungry.
So I’ve had mac and cheese on pizza before, for instance when I went to Chicago last September and tried Dimo’s Pizza. On the same trip I had my first proper Chicago style pizza. I’m not talking one of the thick crust pieces of guff that get past off as chi-town pizza on these shores, I’m talking a proper deep dish pizza pie. High sides with filling rather than toppings. It’s sloppy and messy and the hardest thing to photograph (see below) in a way that can make it look tasty, but damn did I try. At one place (Pequods) they even caramelise cheese around the outside of the crust. I’m going to do this another time, but for this one I felt it had enough cheese already…
The basic make up of this pizza pie is base, thin layer of sauce, generous layer of mac n cheese, thin layer of sauce and then standard pizza toppings (yup, with more cheese). I made you a handy diagram because paint:
I’m so excited about this that I’ve written up the post before I’ve even tried making the thing. It just needs to happen. It’s taking the two best comfort foods and combining them. You can use whatever Mac and Cheese recipe you like and the same with the pizza sauce, I have just detailed below the way I did it. This is also not my usual Mac N Cheese recipe which is usually way more cheesy, and I’ve been meaning to blog that for ages.
Update: I made it, and this is either the greatest thing I have ever made or the most depraved atrocity done to food since the menu at Almost Famous added pop tarts and cheerios to a burger. Also, be very generous with the sauce you stick on top.
- **For the pizza dough**
- 1Tsp active dry yeast
- ¾Tsp white sugar
- 140ml Warm water (aim for about 43°C)
- 190g plain flour
- 60ml Oil (I used vegetable)
- ½Tsp salt
- **For the Mac N Cheese - feel free to use your own recipe**
- 300g Macaroni
- 20g Butter
- 20g Flour
- 400ml (plus more if you prefer your Mac N Cheese to be more liquidy, I like mine quite gloopy)
- 100g Smoked applewood cheddar, grated
- 100g Brie, rind removed and cubed
- 1Tsp mustard (optional)
- **For the pizza sauce - again feel free to use your own recipe or a jar, I winged mine**
- ¼ of a red onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1Tbsp red wine
- 1 handful cherry tomatoes
- 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
- Dried herbs (I used basil) to taste
- **For the toppings - feel free to go for your favourites**
- ½ ball of mozzarella
- Chorizo, thin slices
- Red onion, sliced thinly
- **For the dough**
- Start with the dough as it needs a good long time to rise.
- Dissolve the yeast and sugar with the warm water in a jug and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes until it's gone all thick and creamy.
- Combine this with the flour, salt and oil in the base of a large bowl (I did it in my stand mixer and used a dough hook for the next part). If using a mixer then mix for about 2 minutes until it's formed a dough that's still ever so slightly sticky. If doing it by hand then mix it and knead it for a couple of minutes until you've achieved similar.
- Form into a ball and butter a large bowl to stop it from sticking. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 6 hours, until doubled in size.
- Towards the end of this time make the sauce and mac n cheese.
- **For the sauce**
- Fry the onions until soft, add the garlic and tomatoes and fry gently for a few minutes.
- Add the wine and simmer for a few minutes until the alcohol has cooked off.
- Add the tinned tomatoes and simmer until thick and gloopy.
- I then cheat here and stick this in the blender to make a nice thick pizza sauce and return it to the hob to cook off any excess liquid. Then season.
- **For the Mac N Cheese**
- Cook the macaroni following the instructions on the packet and making sure it's slightly under done as it'll continue to cook in the oven later.
- Meanwhile melt the butter in a saucepan and add in the flour. Combine for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the milk until it forms a sauce.
- Melt in the cheese and keep stirring until it's all melted. It'll be thick and glorious. Add in the mustard if using.
- Mix with the Macaroni and make sure it's all well coated.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C(180°C fan assisted)
- Generously grease a springform cake tin.
- Knock the dough back and stretch (or roll) out the dough until it fits into your tin with nice deep edges. You want the dough to be fairly fin but thick enough that it won't just break.
- Construct the pie as shown in the diagram above. Thin layer of sauce, mac n cheese, a more generous layer of sauce then your toppings.
- Place in the center of your preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes (after 20 check on your toppings and if they look like catching, cover it with foil).
- Remove from the oven and allow to set for a few minutes before removing from the tin and slicing.