Tex-Mex Nacho Pizza

Hiver 2008
food and drink

BY: Marilyn Bentz-Crowley

This is a giant hot nacho―actually two giant hot nachos―with plenty of meat and cheese to satisfy the heartiest appetite. Control the amount of spicy heat by the salsa you buy ―mild, medium or hot.

1 recipe cornmeal pizza dough (recipe follows) or purchased pizza dough, about 1 lb (500 g)


1 tbsp (15 mL) peanut or canola oil
1 lb (500 g) extra-lean ground beef
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp (10 mL) chili powder
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
2 cups (500 mL) thick chunky-tomato salsa


1 small green pepper
1½ cups (375 mL) cubed orange cheddar cheese, about 8 oz (250 g)
1½ cups (375 mL) cubed Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese, about 8 oz (250 g)
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced sweet white or red onions
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped fresh
coriander or parsley
One 125 mL container sour cream, about ½ cup
1 medium bag tortilla chips
Black olives

1. Divide and pat out dough in 2 oiled 12-inch (30-cm) round pizza pans. (Toppings are thick so 2 smaller pizzas are better than 1 large one.) Form a rim around edges. Dough resists flattening so let rest between patting while continuing with toppings.

2. To make sauce, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Crumble in beef; sauté, stirring often for 5 to 8 minutes or until browned. Drain off any accumulated fat. Add garlic, chili powder and cumin; sauté 1 minute. Stir in salsa; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool until lukewarm or cover and refrigerate for up to a day.

3. Seed and thinly slice green pepper. Arrange oven racks with 1 on lowest level and 1 just above oven centre.

4. Preheat oven to 475°F (240°C) at least 15 minutes before baking.

5. Dividing equally, spread dough with beef sauce. Scatter top with cheese cubes; top with tomatoes, onions and green pepper. Let rise, uncovered, for 10 to 20 minutes or until dough has almost doubled.

6. Place pizza on lowest rack. Bake 5 to 10 minutes. Use a spatula to turn up 1 corner of the dough to check for browning. When nicely browned, move pizza to top rack for 5 to 8 minutes or until top is golden.

7. To preserve crispy bottom, slide onto a cooling rack; cut with kitchen shears. Serve slices with a sprinkling of coriander, a dollop of sour cream and an upturned tortilla chip or 2. Pass additional salsa and tortilla chips―and a bowl of black olives.

Serves 4 to 6

Pizza Dough

Basic Dough

1 to 2½ tsp (5 to 12 mL) bread machine or instant dry yeast
2½ to 3 cups (625 to 750 mL) bread (hard) flour or all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1¼ cups (300 mL) water
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

1.    To make dough in bread maker, use 1 tsp (5 mL) bread machine yeast and 2½ cups (625 mL) flour. Layer into canister along with salt, water and oil, using manufacturer’s directions; use dough mode. (Use the programming device so the dough is ready at suppertime.) Check at the beginning of the cycle. If dough seems too wet to form a soft ball, add some flour and if already a firm ball, add some water. When cycle is finished, place dough on oiled pans. Let rest 10 minutes, then pat out.

2.    To make dough by hand, stir 2 ½ tsp (12 mL) yeast with 2½ cups (625 mL) flour and salt in a large mixing bowl; make a well in the centre. Set remaining flour aside for use in kneading. Add water and olive oil. (Water should be very warm to the touch, like bath water.) Stir until all flour is incorporated into dough. If dough seems too wet, add some flour and if too dry, add some water.  Turn out on floured surface. Knead 8 to 10 minutes using small amounts of remaining flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Place dough ball on oiled pizza pan; flip over so dough is coated with oil. Let rest, uncovered, 10 minutes―this is the first “rise.”

3.    Arrange oven racks with one on the lowest level and one on the upper level.

4.    Preheat oven to 475°F (240°C). Pat out dough in oiled pan(s); form a rim around edges. Spread with sauce; then sprinkle with toppings. Let rise, uncovered, for 10 to 20 minutes until dough has almost doubled in thickness.

5.    Place pizza on lowest rack. Bake 5 to 10 minutes. Use a spatula to turn up one corner of the dough to check for browning. When nicely browned, move pizza to top rack for 5 to 8 minutes or until top is golden. Ovens with exposed heating elements brown crust fastest so watch carefully; then adjust baking times for future pizzas to suit your individual oven.)


Extra Crispy:

Add ¼ cup (50 mL) fine cornmeal to water; let soak at least 15 minutes before making dough to prevent graininess in baked crust.


To add a whole-grain flavour, substitute 1 cup (250 mL) spelt flour for same amount of  bread flour. Spelt is ancient, low-yield wheat popular in Europe and has a fine, almost nutty, taste.


Soak 1 cup (250 mL) fine cornmeal in 1 ¼ cups (300 mL) water for 15 minutes. Reduce bread flour to 2 cups (500 mL). Use a bread machine or mixer with dough hook to keep dough extra-moist.

Pizza stone:

To replicate a pizzeria oven, buy a ceramic “stone” or enough unglazed tiles to snugly line oven rack. Long cotton sleeves and long oven mitts prevent burns when using this technique. Place stone or tiles on lowest rack; preheat oven to 475°F (240°C) at least a half hour ahead of baking. Make a pizza with a medium to thick crust for easier handling until you become proficient. Place prepared pizza in pan or baking sheet on heated ceramic area. Bake 5 to 10 minutes; then peek at bottom. If somewhat browned and stiff enough to lift, remove pizza from oven. Loosen pizza completely, open oven and slide pizza minus pan onto hot stone. Continue baking another 5 minutes or until bottom is richly browned. Position original pan or a wooden peel next to pizza and slide on baked pizza. To preserve crispy bottom, slide onto a cooling rack; cut pizza with kitchen shears.

What to Serve