Friday, July 09, 2010

What was in that Stuffed Pizza again?

While we do the majority of our food shopping over the weekend, lately I've been going out during the middle of the week to refresh produce and either pick up ingredients we forgot to get or if we changed our mind on a recipe and needed other supplies. This also has a wicked bonus - since Jeff is at work, I'm able to sneak certain ingredients into the house that he tends to use "Veto Powers" on. You know, the usual suspects... tofu, mushrooms, anchovies or other interesting condiments that he swears he doesn't like, but enjoys more than he realizes.

This worked in my favor this week in fact, as I needed to pick up one of those ingredients to make this Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Pizza for our weekly Friday Night Pizza. The title doesn't even give it away, which is why Jeff didn't blink an eye as I read the menu for the week to him, but little did he know he was once again going to be eating tofu!

As our whole-wheat pizza dough was off rising, the bulky filling was brought together by tossing crumbled tofu, spinach, soft sun-dried tomatoes, pecorino Romano, mozzarella, fresh basil, a couple cloves of minced garlic and onion powder in a mixing bowl. A couple tips - the tofu you are looking for is packed in water, usually found in a refrigerated case located in the produce department. Drain away the water, crumble the block into pieces (you don't have to go too fine, but try to get the pieces no larger than small marbles) and then pat the tofu dry with a couple paper towels for added insurance against sogginess. The sun-dried tomatoes we used were soft and very flexible, however not all kinds are the same. If you pick up a pack that are on the drier/hard side, set them in a heat-safe dish and pour boiling water over them - after a twenty minute rest, they will have softened right up.

The dough needs to be stretched or rolled out into a pretty large rectangle for the stuffed pizza - the original recipe called for the dimensions to be around 16" x 18", but our dough was pretty thin at 16" long x 13" wide and I didn't want to risk tearing it by going any thinner. My suggestion is to just work the dough until it has become as large as you can comfortably get it. If it starts to spring back, but you think you can stretch it more, cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes to give the gluten a break, then have at it. Since the assembled pizza is going to be pretty heavy, it is best to go ahead and transfer the naked dough to the baking sheet, then pile on the tofu, cheese and spinach filling.

With the tofu mixture packed onto one half of the dough, the clean side was brought over to meet the other side, enclosing the filling to make a tidy package. To make sure all those ingredients stay inside, take the time to seal the edge closed with a fork - if you find the fork sticks to the dough, lightly wet the tines. Brushed with olive oil, a few slits are made on top of the package to allow steam to vent, preventing any unwanted blowouts.

You may be thinking, how did I manage to get all of this done without Jeff seeing the tofu? That's where Gus came in handy - Jeff was distracted by keeping him entertained upstairs with a new toy, so he didn't notice my secret tofu activities in the kitchen. I figured he would start questioning the filling as soon as we cut into the pizza slab, but the crumbled tofu kind of looked like feta cheese scattered in between all that spinach!

He knew something was up halfway through his piece, probably because I couldn't help myself by watching him eat to see if he started picking at the filling to figure out what was inside. I let him in and he didn't even flinch! He said it didn't scream tofu at all and it came across as more of a soft cheesy texture more than anything. Between the two cheeses, one salty and sharp, with the other more creamy, intense sun-dried tomatoes, fresh garlic and sweet, vibrant-ness of the basil, any concerns of a bland filling quickly flew out the window at first bite. Don't let the tofu scare you away... you might be surprised with just how much you (and your other eaters) like it in this dish!


  1. great stuffed pizza, my hubby would love this..yum


  2. Very sneeky of you! I love the idea of Friday Night Pizza. A day, when your brain is fried from the week, where you don't have to thing..whats for dinner?

  3. I myself haven't learned to love tofu yet. I do keep trying though.
    I love tricky in foods that people think they don't like! The stuffed pizza looks de-lish.

  4. Hmmm I wonder if I can sneak tofu to my parents this way. It looks fantastic!

  5. Yay for tofu! I am happy to hear that Jeff kept enjoying his pizza even after he knew it had tofu :-)