From what I see on Facebook, even though I don’t “get” it personally, everyone in Wesley Chapel is completely insane about the crustless pizza being sold in our area for those who are on the Keto diet.
Yes, Keto pizza is all the rage, even though I can’t personally eat more than one small ”slice” of it, but not because it isn’t tasty. All I can tell you is that if I ate more than one slice of Keto pizza at a time, I might not go to the bathroom for the rest of the year. Just saying.
On the other hand, someone very near and dear to my heart is on the Keto diet, so we’ve simply had to try it at a couple of local pizza places. And, all I can tell you is that my fiancée Jannah McDonald definitely has improved on any version of it we’ve tried in our distribution area. And, best of all, this improved keto pizza is something you can make at home yourself, especially if you just happen to have a working toaster oven.
Our story begins (as so many in this publication seem to, John Cotey) at 900º Woodfired Pizza in the Shops at Wiregrass mall, where owner Steve Falabella became a local Facebook sensation when our mutual friend Jennifer Ames, the administrator of the Wesley Chapel Community Facebook group, posted a photo of 900º Woodfired’s Keto pizza.
And yes, Jannah was among the hundreds (thousands?) of locals saying “I have to try that” following Jennifer’s post.
Literally the next day, we were at 900º trying it out and we both agreed that although it did taste like pizza, the “crust” — a double (or triple?) layer of cheese and nothing else to “hold it together” — was not only ridiculously filling, but should also come with a warning about having to have at least a salad (or some other kind of roughage) with it or risk being bottled up like the S.R. 56 exit off I-75 during rush hour.
Before we ever went anywhere else to sample another store-bought Keto pizza, Jannah started working on variations of her own. And, just for the record, I do a lot more cooking in our apartment than she does, so I was so surprised at how charged up she was to cook that I became her sous chef for this adventure.
After a few efforts, Jannah came up with the recipe and procedure and, after the first time it worked to perfection (I preferred it to 900º Woodfired’s and Amici’s), I told her I just might have to write about it in these pages.
So, here goes.
Although we don’t have a fancy new convection oven or any special cooking utensils, Jannah found that making her smaller version of crustless Keto pizza worked best in our toaster oven.
She starts with a layer of the Publix-brand large-size pepperonis and puts them in the broiler for around five minutes, or until the edges get brown and curl up slightly.
One of the keys to the success of this recipe is not to burn the ‘ronis. Then, while preheating the toaster oven (on bake at 450º), she covers the pepperoni “crust” with a layer of single slices of Publix-brand low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella.
She then completely covers the top of the sliced cheese layer with either the tomato basil or vodka sauce from the new Cost Plus World Market, which we have found to have the fewest net carbs per serving of any store-bought brand. Although you can use your own homemade sauce, if you prefer, all I can tell you is that you Keto diet folks out there probably can’t make a sauce with fewer net carbs than World Market’s sauces (although we may have cleaned the store out of both types, because there hasn’t been any of either kind the last two times we’ve visited there).
She then covers the sauce layer with a layer of Publix shredded mozzarella and sprinklings of parmesan, and bakes it in the toaster oven for 7-10 minutes, or until all the cheese gets that golden brown hue.
It still goes against everything I loved growing up to have pizza without a New York-style crust, but hey, we still (in my opinion) have plenty of great options for that in Wesley Chapel — including not only 900º Woodfired, but also La Prima Pizza, NY NY Pizza, Amici’s Pizza, Best NY Pizza and PizzaMania.