The first time I had Zacchary’s pizza, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. For those of you who aren’t East Bay locals, Zacchary’s is a deep dish pizza joint that people have been known to drive *three* hours to visit. Yes, it’s that good. There is so much garlic in the sauce that you will ward off vampires for weeks. And the basil! And the crust! And… oh my goodness. I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you.
Unfortunately, Zacchary’s pizza is also rather expensive, which has hitherto relegated this amazingly delicious pie to special-occasion pizza. I could eat it almost weekly if I had unlimited money, but our budget doesn’t allow for that, so we have traditionally only picked up a pie to celebrate special events, pay raises and birthdays.
A couple of months ago, I was perusing Craigslist for Pampered Chef items and came across a used stoneware muffin pan and stoneware deep dish pizza combo for $20. I didn’t really want the deep dish pizza pan (stoneware or not, I wasn’t sure that it would ever get used) but the muffin pan was a great deal so I bought the pair. Once I owned the deep dish pizza pan, I figured I might as well find a recipe to test drive it, and I found one on Food Network that looked promising. As I was making the sauce, I could tell that it was good, but not quite perfect. Using my nose as a guide, I added in a few more heaping tablespoons of garlic, tossed in a bunch of extra basil, and mixed in a bit of shredded chicken toward the end. This was it – the real deal, a Zacchary’s knock off that rivaled the goodness of the original. And the price of the ingredients is only $5! Budget friendly is one thing, but the best part is just how easy it is to make! Saute garlic in olive oil, add some spices, simmer this in some diced tomatoes, and ta da! Sauce is done! Simply toss some shredded mozzarella on top of your dough, pour the sauce over the top, and bake. So simple, so delicious, so affordable, *so* my go-to meal.
Heavily adapted from a recipe on Food Network
- Prepare the pizza dough if you have not done so already.
- While the dough is rising, make the tomato sauce. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the herbs, seeds, salt, and peppers and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and sugar and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 20-25 minutes. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes more. Add reserved tomato juice as needed to make the sauce the consistency you like. Remove from the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
- If your deep dish pizza pan is not non-stick, oil it with a tablespoon of olive oil. Roll out the crust to 1/4-inch thickness and place in pan and along the sides. Press the dough into the pan. Spread the mozzarella cheese over the bottom of the crust. Top with the sauce.
- Bake until the top is golden, the cheese is bubbly, and the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice and serve hot.