Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Claysburg Pizza

Everywhere you go there are different styles and varieties of pizza . . . from the thin crust pizza of the east coast to the deep dish pizza in the Midwest to whatever passes for pizza on the west coast.  Almost anywhere you go the pizza will be unique to the region.  Where I grew up is no different.

I went to school in Claysburg, PA.  Back in those days, you know when you had to walk to school with paper bags tied around your feet in the snow uphill both ways . . . anyway, way back then the school housed Kindergarten through 12th grade – with the exception of first and second grades which were housed in a two room schoolhouse a town over.  What does this have to with pizza?  Absolutely nothing . . .

Except that the days we had pizza for lunch were the bestest!  Looking back on it now, the pizza wasn’t exceptional, but it was definitely unique.  The pizzas came in cut into rectangles . . . not pie shaped wedges.  The pizza came from  . . . drumroll please . . . Claysburg Pizza.  Claysburg Pizza is made in a huge “pie” and is sold by the “cut”.  A cut is a rectangular slice that sells for $.89 (toppings extra).

We used to go to Claysburg Pizza after football games, softball games and on the last day of school.   It was the place to hang out. 

We went there to grab some ‘za when we went back to Pennsylvania for my sister’s wedding.   There were four of us and we ordered a pizza . . . the response was “You want a whole pizza??”.  Okay, I guess not . . . so we ordered a couple cuts apiece.  That was back in the 80’s and I’m thinking that’s before they changed their menu because they have more options nowadays.  Anyhoo . . . as I recall, it was still good.

Ah . . . the good ol’ days . . . 


So, the region of America known as Cher's condo serves up another style of pizza . . . thick crust cast iron skillet pizza.    It's quite simple, really.  I use the dough I make for my crusty artisan bread ( AKA Magic Bread) . . . which, ironically enough, is made in my cast iron dutch oven.  

What you need:

  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Dough
  • Flour for Dusting
  • Cornmeal
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Toppings of your Choice
I use one Magic Bread dough recipe per pizza.  I use a 24" skillet.  Big skillet = big pie.

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F with the skillet in the oven . . . you want the skillet to be piping hot when you slide the pizza into it.

On a lightly floured surface . . . such as a large cutting board or the back of a cookie sheet because you want to be able to slide the pizza into the pan . . . spread out the dough in a circle.  Psst. . . it's doesn't have to be perfect . . . it will taste good no matter what.  

Sprinkle the top of the crust with corn meal and flip it over.  Reshape the dough, if necessary.  Top the dough with a ladle of sauce, a couple handfuls of cheese and toppings.  

For our pizza I used sweet onions, hot Italian sausage and pepperoni.  I also made a ricotta and mozzarella pie for our less than adventurous son.

Remove the hot skillet from the oven and slide the pizza into the pan.  Carefully make any adjustments necessary . . . remember, it doesn't have to be perfect or beautiful.  

Return the skillet to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and crust is a nice golden brown.

You can cut the pizza in the pan or remove it to slice it.  


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