Why This Recipe Works
- Constructing a quesadilla in a cast iron skillet that just barely fits it helps create an extra-crisp bottom crust.
- Cheese spread out to the very edges crisps up, creating a browned, flavorful crust.
- The pizza is cooked with a combination of the stovetop and the broiler to deliver results in under 15 minutes.
Last week, I posted a quick-and-dirty recipe for making world-class bar-style pizza out of a flour tortilla and a cast iron skillet. And, while I may have been a little hyperbolic about it, it's still a fan-freaking-tastic snack that is definitely gonna get a bit more late-night circulation at my place.
But it wasn't until user rickjamison posted it over on Reddit that the following suggestion was made by user StrungoutScott:
"My god, this looks incredible. For the extra lazy, couldn't i just fold this mother f*&ker in half, and have a crispy, pizza, mother-f*&king quesadilla??"
Now that's a good idea if I ever saw one, and I figured it'd be even better if we took that idea and tweaked it just a bit to give birth to the pizzadilla (or is it a quesadizza?). This is what happens when a pizza and a quesadilla make sweet, sweet love: cheesy, greasy, crisp-edged glory.
Okay, so maybe not quite sweet, sweet love. This is more like down-and-dirty, one-night-only, in-a-van-by-the-river, bashwing!*-style, take-no-prisoners getting it on.
That's Daniel's patented randy-lovemaking noise.
Of course, I quickly found out that this idea is far from new. There are literally hundreds of thousands of similar recipes out there on the web. That said, it's the cast iron skillet, the crisp-cheese edges, and the broiled top that separate this one from the pack.
It starts just like the tortilla pizza recipe, with a tortilla in the bottom of a hot, oiled cast iron skillet that barely fits it, topped with a thin layer of sauce—I used my New York–Style Pizza Sauce, but you can use any sauce you'd like—and a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella cheese. Instead of broiling it, we add a second tortilla to the top.
I cook the tortilla in the skillet over low heat, swirling it occasionally, until the bottom side is completely crisped up. Then I very carefully flip it over.
This is the trickiest part of a really, really easy recipe. Just do it fast, and try not to let too much cheese drip out as you go.
Next, we top it. I use more sauce, more shredded low-moisture mozzarella, a few little chunks of torn fresh mozzarella, some shredded Parmesan, some slices of a fancy-pants pepperoni that I found at Whole Foods, some torn-up chunks of raw Italian sausage, and some torn basil leaves.
Under the broiler it goes. You want to blast it with heat so that it browns quickly. As the cheese melts, it should collect around the edges of the quesadilla and crisp up into a substantial brown crust.
Once it's out of the oven, I use a little offset spatula to gently release the crisp cheese edges from the skillet until the pizzadilla can slide around freely. If you lift it with a spatula to peek underneath and find that it's still a little soft on the bottom, just throw it on top of a burner over medium heat until it crisps up to your liking.
What slides out of the pan is the very opposite of an exercise in restraint. The bottom tortilla is crisp enough that you can pick up a slice and hold it out horizontally, but the upper tortilla softens up to the point that it's almost indistinguishable from the cheese, much like the upper crust in a stuffed-crust Chicago-style pizza. It's really just there to allow you to fit more cheese on top without losing all structural integrity.
I felt dirty while making it, and when all was said and done, it was both gross and awesome at the same time, like all of the best flings.
How to Make a Pizzadilla
Pizzadilla (Quesadilla Pizza) Recipe
Make a pizza quesadilla, then flip it, and top it like a pizza.
1/2 teaspoon (3ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 large flour tortillas that just fit inside your cast iron skillet
3/4 cup (180ml) store-bought or homemade pizza sauce
5 ounces (140g) shredded whole-milk low-moisture mozzarella cheese
2 ounces (55g) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 basil leaves, roughly torn
Additional toppings (such as crumbled Italian sausage mix), as desired
Adjust oven rack to 6 to 8 inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over high heat until shimmering. Reduce heat to low and wipe out excess oil with a paper towel.
Place tortilla in skillet with the rougher textured-side facing down. Spread half of sauce evenly over tortilla all the way to the edges. Spread half of mozzarella evenly over tortilla all the way to the edges. Place second tortilla on top. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until crisp on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip with a large spatula.
Spread remaining sauce evenly over tortilla all the way to the edges. Spread remaining mozzarella and half of Parmesan evenly over tortilla all the way to the edges. Scatter with basil and add toppings (such as sausage) as desired.
Place skillet under broiler and broil until toppings are cooked through and cheese is melted and starting to brown in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Using a small metal spatula, gently pry edges of pizza, releasing the cheese from the skillet. Peek under bottom. If more crispness is desired, place skillet over medium-heat and cook, swirling pizza and peeking occasionally, until desired crispness is achieved. Slide pizza out onto a cutting board. Cut and serve immediately.
Cast iron skillet, large spatula, small offset spatula
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 1 to 2|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 23g||30%|
|Saturated Fat 10g||50%|
|Total Carbohydrate 79g||29%|
|Dietary Fiber 6g||20%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 11mg||54%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|