Archive for the ‘Pizza’ Category

Steak Wedgie

October 7, 2012 5 comments
Steak Wedgie

Steak Wedgie

The picture above is a wedgie.  Yes, it resembles a calzone or stromboli but rest assured it is not either. You have to trust me when I say it is a wedgie.

What exactly is a wedgie?  In a nutshell, it is sandwich that uses pizza crust to replace the bread or bun.  It is flat, like bread, not puffy and doughy.  Additionally, while I have zero facts to back this up, the wedgie supposedly got its start right here in Pittsburgh back in the late ’60’s.

Just about anything you can put on a sandwich can go in to a wedgie.  The two most common types on the menu’s around here are Italian and my favorite the steak wedgie

Even though the wedgie is rumored to have been around my whole life, the first time I had one was the mid 90’s from Angelo’s pizza shop in Pittsburgh’s Little Italy section of the city, Bloomfield.

Their steak wedgie is PHENOMENAL.  It is one of the tastiest foods to ever find its way in to my mouth.  I’ve seen steak wedgies on other menu’s around the city and I’ve tried a few of them, but nothing comes close in taste and quality of Angelo’s version.  They set the steak wedgie bar high for me.

If you live in Pittsburgh and plan on trying one from Angelo’s, keep in mind their service around lunch time is slow.  If you order one for take out (or sit down – as they have a few tables), order ahead of time and give yourself plenty of time.  I can’t tell you about service other times of the day because that’s the only time I’ve gone.

Wait, you read my blog but you don’t live in Pittsburgh? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with my take on Angelo’s very delicious steak wedgie.  It does take a bit of pre-planning, but this nice pizza or hoagie/sub alternative is worth it.

Here are a few tips to help with this recipe:

  • To achieve the best results for the meat used in this recipe you will want to use thinly sliced steak.  Ribeye tastes best but I find a nice cut of sirloin gives me great results at a fraction of the price.  If you have a deli-slicer, just set the piece of sirloin on the slicer and slice on the thinnest setting.
  • If you don’t, place the sirloin in the freezer for about an hour or two.  Remove and slice as thin as you can until you have about 15 to 20 pieces of sirloin.
  • Another option is to slice the meat and pound it thin between 2 pieces of plastic wrap.
  • No matter how you do it, the key is to make it thin so it cooks quickly.
  • Once the meat is cut, quickly cook the meat in a pan over medium-high heat with a touch of olive oil.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels to remove excess grease.
  • You can also use store-bought steak-like meat, but ummm, please don’t.
  • Caramelized onions take anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes, they can be made well in advance and stored in the refrigerator .
  • The garlic mayo can be made ahead of time also.
  • Make sure you have either a pizza tray or pizza screen (both can be bought for a couple of dollars at local restaurant supply stores) or a pizza stone.



  • Fresh Pizza Dough equivalent to one 16″ pizza  (basic pizza dough recipe)
  • 1 large onion, caramelized ( how to caramelize onions)
  • 15 to 20 pieces of cooked thinly sliced sirloin, then rough chopped (see info above)
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of lettuce, shredded
  • 3-4 slices of provolone cheese (mozzarella would work too)
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  1. Mix mayonnaise and garlic, set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Shape pizza dough to approximately 16 inches (i.e. large pizza size).
  4. Lay out the dough on either a pizza tray/screen and brush with melted butter.  If using a pizza stone, then lay the dough out on a pizza peel and brush with butter.
  5. Place dough in oven and bake for about 2 minutes.  Just enough to start to get the dough firm.
  6. Remove dough from oven and spread the mayo/garlic mixture on the entire surface.
  7. Top half of the dough with cooked steak.  Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Then top with onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese.
  9. Fold the half of the dough that isn’t lined with the ingredients over the half that is.  Do not seal.
  10. Brush top with melted butter.
  11. Return wedgie to the oven and bake about 5-6 minutes or until the top begins to brown.
  12. Flip and brush with melted butter.
  13. Bake an additional 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.
  14. Remove from oven.   Let sit for 5 minutes.
  15. Cut in to wedges and serve.
A wedge of the wedgie

A wedge of the wedgie. Fantastic!


Grilled Pizza – Part II

August 20, 2012 5 comments
Grilled Pizza Threeway

Grilled Pizza Threeway

With grilling season winding down for a lot of people I thought I’d do a second installment of grilled pizza just to remind people that you shouldn’t be afraid to try this method.

You can find the instructions, as well as some flavor combinations in my original grilled pizza blog entry here.

Here are my 4 grilled pizza promises:

I promise, if done properly, your dough won’t fall through or stick to the grill grates.
I promise that you will have some pretty darn tasty pizza.
I promise you’ll want to experiment with the endless combinations of toppings.
I promise that you will want to have a pizza party and impress your friends.

Because for some, it will become an addiction, I cannot promise a reserved seat in grilled pizza rehab.

Since grilled pizza is somewhat my latest addiction, I thought I’d give a couple of new combinations a try.  Instead of one large pizza, I (with Darcie, my sous chef for the evening by my side) made 3 mini-pizzas (technically 4 which I’ll explain shortly).

The first one was bacon, spinach, mushrooms, and fresh ricotta.  We’ve done a similar version so what made this stand out was the ricotta.  The crust was brushed lightly with a garlic butter. Not a bad combination at all.

The second pizza had the same crust base (butter/garlic) but was topped with prosciutto, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, and fresh mozzarella.  The salt of the prosciutto combined with the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes made this my favorite of the samples.

Finally, for the final pizza I made a Reuben pizza.   Basically, the Reuben pizza was exactly like the sandwich, only in pizza format.

Initially when the Reuben pizza came to my mind I thought it would be as simple as copying the sandwich.  However, I was afraid the Thousand Island Dressing as the base would make the pizza too soggy.  So I talked it over with the wife and she agreed but we couldn’t agree on how to improvise.  So we came up with 2 options (his and hers).

Her version had a plain crust with a very light sprinkle of Swiss to act as the glue.  Then a layer of corned-beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and a drizzle of Thousand Island.

My version used a spicy brown mustard as the base.  Then corned-beef, sauerkraut, Swiss and topped with Thousand Island.

Both were very good in their own ways, especially if you like Reuben’s.  Her version was probably closer to a real Reuben while my version was more like a version you’d find in a good New York Deli.

If I did it again, I’d probably use wheat dough and sprinkle in some caraway seeds.

The Reuben Pizza experiment wasn’t perfect but it still wound up being delicious.  Here is “his” version of the Reuben Pizza.  Enjoy!


  • Basic Dough
  • Brown Mustard (enough to put a thin coat on the crust)
  • 1/2 pound corned-beef, cut in to squares (don’t skimp here — spend a little extra and get the good stuff)
  • Sauerkraut (more or less based on your preference)
  • 1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, grated
  • Thousand Island Dressing

Follow instructions to make pizza dough and shape in to desired size.

Paint the crust a thin layer of mustard.

Top with corned beef, sauerkraut, and cheese.

When the pizza is finished, drizzle the entire pizza with the Thousand Island Dressing.

Reuben Pizza

Reuben Pizza



Deep Dish Pizza

June 3, 2012 2 comments
Deep Dish Pizza

Deep Dish Pizza

In my last blog entry I talked all about pizza.  Locally, pizza is mainly a spin-off of the thin, New York style, which is my favorite.  However, I do like thicker pizza from time to time but I’ve yet to find a really good version in Pittsburgh. Therefore I’ve resorted to making my own and I make it Chicago style.

If you’re not aware, Chicago style pizza is basically the exact opposite of any sort of traditional pizza.  Instead using your hands, this thicker, pie like crust, is often eaten with a knife and fork.  The cheese, followed by other toppings, are on the bottom, closest to the crust, with the sauce being the last layer on top.  It’s a great alternative to your everyday pizza and pretty simple to make at home.


  • Basic Pizza Dough (follow the same recipe in the grilled pizza entry found here)
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Mozzarella Cheese (I use slices for this recipe instead of shredded)
  • Pizza Sauce (homemade preferred or a good quality brand from your store or if you can, an Italian market)
  • Pizza Toppings of your choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray (olive oil spray if you have it).

Take dough and spread it in the pan, making a well to hold the toppings.  If the dough bounces back, let it rest a few minutes then spread it again.  The dough should cover the entire bottom of the pan, very much like a pie crust.

Dough in the pan

Dough in the pan

Sprinkle the dough with Italian seasoning.

Sprinkle with Italian seasoning

This is optional

Top with the cheese.

Top with cheese

Slices from the deli work well here

Add toppings. (This version used pepperoni, mushrooms, and banana peppers)


I like to pre-cook mushrooms for extra flavor and the peppers were not yet added in this picture

Top with Sauce.  Be sure to keep all of the ingredients in the “well” that you made. (I added a few extra sprinkles of Parmesan cheese, but this is optional)


Cheese optional – if you use it just add a little for flavor, not enough to cover the whole thing

Bake approximately 20-25 minutes until edge of dough is golden brown.



Let rest approximately 2-3 minutes and remove from pan. (the pan should be greased enough from the cooking spray plus the olive oil that was on the dough, making the whole pizza slide easily out of the pan which, in my opinion, makes cutting easier).


Grilled Pizza

June 2, 2012 1 comment
Goat Cheese, Spinach, Mushroom, Kalamata Olives and Prosciutto

Goat Cheese, Spinach, Mushroom, Kalamata Olives and Prosciutto

Can you remember the first time you ever had pizza?  If so, it was probably a wonderfully made slice from your local pizzeria.  Just the right amount of sauce, maybe a little grease from the pepperoni dripping down your chin, and of course that long strand of gooey cheese.  Pizza that looks and smells so good that you can’t wait for it to cool and risk burning the roof of your mouth. That’s good pizza!

My first memory of pizza was from a shop on Pittsburgh’s South Side called DeSalla’s which is no longer there.  My mom would often bring some home after a night out at Bingo.  Probably her way of thanking me for putting up with another sitter. DeSalla’s pizza was square and the crust didn’t seem particularly homemade.  The cheese was never fully melted either so I’m not sure it was real cheese.  The sauce was a thin layer with a nice hint of oregano, something I really like.  I ate their pizza on many occasions but looking back on it, it wasn’t really all that good.  But despite my thoughts of it now, I’d still love to have a few slices, just to bring me back to my childhood.  That’s the power of food.

When it was time for me to start high school, the City of Pittsburgh City wanted to better integrate students. So instead of going to a high school in my neighborhood, I was bused about 20 minutes to a neighborhood unfamiliar to me.  I didn’t mind as it allowed me to meet lots of new people and some lifelong friends.  It also allowed me to discover Fiori’s Pizza which remains my favorite to this day.

Fiori’s is located in Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood and the only way to describe their pizza it that it is freaking delicious.  A perfect sauce to cheese ratio and an excellent chewy crust.  Magnificent!!  In a city saturated with pizzerias Fiori’s thrives despite the fact that its in a horrible location (parking nightmare), doesn’t have delivery, and only accepts cash.  If you’re ever in Pittsburgh, you have to stop by and “they fix you up.”

While Fiori’s is my favorite for take out, our family likes to experiment with all sorts of pizza’s at home.  This recipe is my grilled pizza.  You can make it over charcoal or gas but the the key is to make it without using a pizza stone to get those wonderful grill marks.

Grilling pizza is easier than you think once you get the technique down.  And after you taste it once, you’ll want to make it over and over again, experimenting with all sorts of different toppings.

The recipe below is for homemade dough, but quite often I’ll go to my local bakery and buy their pizza dough.  It’s only a buck and its very good.  Also, try your local pizzeria, they’ll most likely sell you a ball or two of their dough.

Ingredients (makes 2-12 inch crusts):

Pizza Dough Ingredients

Pizza Dough Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (plus more for brushing on the dough prior to grilling)
  • 2 tablesppons of sugar
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) package of yeast
  • 1 cup of warm water (not hot)
  • Plus ingredients for *toppings

Combine the sugar, water and yeast in a measuring cup and let the yeast “bloom”

Yeast getting their eat on

Yeast getting their eat on

In a **food processor add the flour and salt.  Pulse a few times to combine.

Then, with processor on dough setting, slowly add the yeast mixture until its incorporated with the flour.  Drizzle in olive oil.

Mixing the dough

Mixing the dough

When you have a good ball, take it out and place in a large bowl.

Formed ball

Formed ball

Coat the ball in olive oil and cover with a warm damp towel.  Place the bowl in a warm place (I put it on top of my stove under the lights from the range hood) and let rise until it doubles in size, about 1 hour or so.

The yeast were working overtime on this

The yeast were working overtime on this

When the dough has finished rising, divide the dough in half to form 2 same sized balls.

Working one dough ball at a time, place on floured or oiled surface and work the dough to the shape of a pizza.  It doesn’t have to be perfect — its homemade, it should look rustic.

Beginning to look like pizza

Beginning to look like pizza

Meanwhile, preheat your grill to at least 500 degrees (over direct heat if using charcoal but set it up the grill with a cool zone). After grill is preheated, brush the grill grates with oil to prevent the dough from sticking.



When your dough is ready, place it on a pizza peel.  (if you don’t have one its going to be tricky but still can be done by placing your dough on the bottom of a baking tray pan (i.e. cookie sheet).

Almost ready to grill

Almost ready to grill

Brush the top of the dough liberally with olive oil.

Brushed down with olive oil

Brushed down with olive oil

Place your dough on the grill, oil side down (I do this by quickly flipping my peel over on to the grill – if you don’t have a peel, carefully but quickly lay the dough on the grill by grabbing it by the top and folding it on to the grill).  Immediately brush the top (the dry side) with olive oil.

Directly on the grate oil side down

Directly on the grate oil side down

After about 2 minutes, flip the dough to cook the other side.

Nice Grill Marks

Nice Grill Marks

Add your toppings to the cooked side, and lower your grill burners as low as they will go.  Close the lid of your grill to heat your toppings/melt cheese.  If using a charcoal grill,  you’ll want to cook the second side of the pizza over direct heat then add toppings and move to the cool side to finish.

Topped and ready to finish

Topped and ready to finish. Remember to lower the burners, or even turn 1 or 2 off

Remove from grill.  Wait a few minutes before slicing (you won’t want to wait) and enjoy!


You won’t want to wait

*Pre-cooking any raw toppings such as sausage is essential as grilling pizza does now allow time to properly cook certain toppings.  Veggies such as green peppers would also benefit from a pre-cook.

** If you don’t have a food processor, this can also be done in a stand mixer or old fashioned kneading with your hands.  

When I make grilled pizza’s, the family and I try all sorts of topping combinations.  Our favorites include:

Goat Cheese, Spinach, Mushroom, Kalamata Olives & Prosciutto (pictured at top)

Sausage and Banana Peppers

Sausage and Banana Peppers (only half because not everyone likes the peppers)

BBQ Chicken, Carmalized Onions and Gouda

BBQ Chicken, Carmalized Onions and Smoked Gouda

Prosciutto and Mushroom

Prosciutto and mushroom (we really like prosciutto on our grilled pizzas)

Margherita Pizza

Tomato, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella (Pizza Margherita )