Weirdbook.org

A blog experiment by Brad Mills.

Cloning the Priazzo

The greatest thing Pizza Hut ever made was the Priazzo. After scouring the Internet for a reasonable clone of this classic, finding a lengthy thread discussing the pros and cons thereof, and jonesing to taste it again, I decided to throw some ingredients together and see what happened.

But first, some legalese to protect my butt and yours. I may use trademarked terms in this entry which are the property of Pizza Hut. No harm is intended by this usage, and I use these terms solely to identify the products I'm talking about. Like the rest of this blog, the recipe and instructions I'm posting are released under a Creative Commons license. Basically you are free to copy, use, transmit, and modify this recipe provided I receive credit for creating the original version (linking back to this page will work for this), and provided you don't use it for commercial purposes.

Much like Pizza Hut's current lineup of specialty pizzas, there were several versions of the Priazzo. Specifically, they were the Roma, the Milano, the Napoli, and the Verona. The Roma is roughly equivalent to a Supreme, the Milano is close to a Meat Lover's, and the Napoli is close to a Cheese Lover's. The Verona has meatballs inside and has no current equivalent. The creation I made was the Priazzo Roma.

This is a rather labor-intensive recipe, so make sure you're not on a tight schedule before starting. From start to finish it took me about three hours. Granted, a good portion of this time was waiting for the dough to mix, and I was making some of it up as I went, experimenting a little, and taking notes throughout the process. With practice you can probably get it down to a little over two hours.

So let's get started.

Sauce

  • 12 ounce can of tomato paste
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic
  • ½ teaspoon marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon honey

Cooking the sauce is simple enough — mix everything together in a pot and heat it up. Keep it on a low simmer to keep it warm. The longer it cooks, the more the spices will blend together. This sauce tastes very much like Pizza Hut's current pizza sauce.

Plain white sugar can probably be substituted for the honey with no ill effects. Its purpose is to take a little bit of the edge off the spices. If you like a spicier sauce, feel free to omit it entirely — go wild!

Crust

  • 1½ teaspoon yeast
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2⁄3 cup of corn meal
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup of water

As I've established previously, I use a bread machine pretty frequently. This is the first time I've used it to make dough to be cooked outside the machine. I'm pleased to report it went quite well, and will be doing it again in the future. Just read your manual and put the ingredients in your bread machine in the order specified by the manufacturer, set it for the dough or manual cycle, and start it up. When the dough is finished, get it out and put it in a bowl or something until you're ready to start working with it. Pizza Hut most likely used vegetable oil instead of olive oil, so either should work fine — I really like olive oil so that's what I used.

Toppings

Your choice of toppings depends largely on which kind of Priazzo you're wanting to make. I went with Roma this time, so here's what you'll need for that.

  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of mozzerella cheese
  • 1 cup of mild Jack cheese
  • ½ pound of browned, drained ground beef
  • ½ pound of browned, drained Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 ounces of drained mushrooms
  • 4 ounce package of pepperoni

Assembly and cooking

You're going to cook this in two regular nine inch cake pans. Think of it as a super-deep-dish pizza with two crusts — that's basically what it's going to be. Spray the pans with some non-stick cooking spray. Make sure to get the sides as well, because you're going to fill these babies up.

Divide the crust into four portions, two of them slightly larger than the other two. The larger portions will form the lower crust of each Priazzo. Spread the lower crust out thinly in each pan, and make sure it goes all the way up the side of the pan and hangs over the lip a little.

Now, put the ingredients in. You'll get the best results if the sauce and meats are a little warm when you put them in — it will make the inside cook faster. Sauce comes first. Spoon it in and spread it around. Leave about a half-inch gap between the edge of the sauce and the edge of the pan. Next come the meats (pepperoni, ground beef, sausage), followed by a layer of cheese, then the onions and mushrooms. You should have enough to fill the pan almost to the top. After it's full, cover it all up with the upper crust, hanging it over the side of the pan just like the lower crust. Press the top and bottom edges together, and if there's any excess, trim it off with a knife or kitchen shears. If there's enough crust left after trimming it off you can use it to make a few breadsticks to go with your Priazzo.

When you're done the Priazzos should be sealed up and will resemble pies. If you have any leftover toppings, just throw them on top in the same order as listed above.

Put them in the oven, cook at 375° for 35 to 40 minutes or until the crust turns light brown.

Afterword

Mama-mia! When I made this, I didn't think I'd have enough to make two whole pies and ended up making just one. That sucker was huge, and the crust was very thick. I think my overall results would have been better if I'd rolled the crust out with a rolling pin but we don't have one.

Also, the crust on the original Priazzo wasn't nearly as puffed up as this one got. Using a little less yeast may take care of this issue. Having a thinner crust to begin with may take care of it too. Experiment a little and see what works there. At worst, you'll be able to make one Priazzo and one regular pizza — or one big fat one like I did.

To complete the effect, find an old Pac-Man machine and put it in the corner of your dining room, crank up some old Van Halen, spray a little cooking spray in the air to get that pervasive "we've been making pizza here all day" odor, fill up a lightly-washed pitcher with Pepsi, and serve it on a red and white checkered tablecloth. Enjoy!