One of my New Year’s resolutions is to make better use of leftovers, to regularly scan the refrigerator, take stock of what we have, and then use what’s there before it goes bad. Filled with the energy that comes from a new resolve, a few days ago I rummaged through the refrigerator and found a jar of pizza sauce that Shannon had brought for New Year’s. It was one-third full, not enough for a pasta meal, especially not for my husband, Clif, who could fairly be classified as a pasta hound. That much sauce on pasta would be the merest appetizer for him, and there would be nothing left for me. But I thought there would be enough for a small pizza, which doesn’t need as much sauce as pasta. However, on the day I was considering the sauce, I had many errands to do and not much time to make pizza dough. Then I spied a carton of milk, also about one-third full. “What about biscuit pizza?” I asked myself.
What about it? Certainly, it’s not as good as one with traditional pizza dough, but it’s not bad, either. In fact, it’s pretty tasty. And quick, which on that busy day was a plus. Biscuit pizza it would be, then. All that was left to worry about was the cheese. I didn’t have mozzarella or any other kind of mild cheese. Instead, I had a leftover block of cheddar, which was getting a little hard and needed to be used. Again, not necessarily the first choice, but in the spirit of using leftovers, it was a good one.
Because biscuit dough is softer and more absorbent than pizza dough, I decided to cook it in stages rather than put it together all at once, the way a traditional pizza is assembled. I made a batch of biscuits, using my mother’s recipe. (Oh, she was a great biscuit maker! Mine are good, but they don’t even come close to hers.) I patted the dough into an 11 x 7 ungreased pan and baked it for 20 minutes at 450° F, just until the top was beginning to brown. Then, I put on the pizza sauce and let it cook for another five minutes. Finally, I added the cheese and baked the pizza until the cheese was nicely melted, another five minutes or so.
Readers, this impromptu pizza came out just the way I had envisioned, with a nice biscuit layer that was moist but not soggy, the right amount of sauce, and cheese that was not too brown. As an added bonus, the cheddar turned out to be a great topping for the biscuit pizza. Somehow, the sharpness worked very well. If I had had mozzarella, then I would have used it, but I have a feeling that in terms of absolutes, the cheddar was a better choice.
Now, I expect no true pizza lover would have gotten excited about this pizza, and it was certainly a humble dish. But, by making biscuit pizza, I used up leftover milk, cheese, and pizza sauce that might have gone to waste. The results were not a gourmet’s delight, but the pizza was hearty and warm, a tasty supper that both Clif and I both enjoyed. It also reheated well when we had the leftovers for lunch the next day. I expect I will be making it again sometime, and when I do, I will probably use a tomato sauce that I make using Muir Glen organic crushed tomatoes with basil, to which I add plenty of chopped garlic and a little red pepper flakes.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 heaping teaspoons baking powder (I use a regular spoon rather than a proper measuring spoon.)
4 tablespoons of shortening
1 cup milk
either a fork or pastry blender, cut into the four mixture until it is crumbly. Add the milk. (Note: biscuits are best when the dough is very moist. I use what old timers would call “1 cup milk, strong. That is, slightly more than a cup.)
Put the dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times. Don’t overknead, or biscuits will be tough.
Then, the dough can be pressed into a pan for the pizza. Or, cut into biscuits for biscuits. If making biscuits, put a bit of butter on the tops and bake at 450° F for twenty minutes or until brown.