Let me just preface this post by saying: high-end, quality pizza, this is not. This is your deliciously cheesy, tasty, greasy, eat-it-in-shame, so-bad-it’s-good sort of pizza. Don’t dive in expecting chewy, crispy, pillowy crust and high-quality toppings.
Now that that’s out of the way, this pizza totally brought back the nostalgia in full force. Rectangle pizza was the highlight of my lunch week in elementary school! Everyone looked forward to Pizza Day, even if most of the kids would most certainly go on to enjoy much (MUCH) better pizza. I still look back on this pizza with a certain rose-colored fondness. I know it’s not good quality pizza, but it gets the job done and it brings back happy memories of careless youth. It’s the perfect final post in my back-to-school series, and if you ever had this pizza as a kid, I urge you to make it now. Relish the nostalgia and the grease.
All month long, I’ll be bringing you some childhood nostalgia in the form of re-vamped — and dare I say delicious? — recipes from those days of eating from plastic lunch trays with your friends by your side.
old school rectangle pizza
recipe modified from NFSMI.org
(note: the original source recipe has been removed, and the website has changed to theicn.org. The pizza recipe listed there is not the same as my original source, but you can also view and download a veritable pile of large-scale cafeteria recipes here!)
scant 2 tsp (6 g) active dry yeast
2 2/3 c (317 g) all purpose flour
3/4 c (52 g) nonfat dry milk powder
2 Tbs + 1 1/4 tsp (34 g) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp (3 g) salt [feel free to increase up to 1/2 tsp salt for more flavor!]
1 1/4 tsp (6 g) vegetable oil
scant 1 2/3 c (384 g) warm water
16 oz part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 c prepared pizza sauce
22 slices (40 g / 1.4 oz) pepperoni, minced
Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Spray a half-sized sheet pan (18″ x 13″) with cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the yeast, flour, milk powder, sugar, and salt. Add the oil and stir to combine.
Add the warm water and stir until a thick batter forms (there will still be lumps remaining, that’s okay!). Spread the batter into the greased sheet pan and let the pan sit for 20-30 minutes.
Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. The crust will probably pull away from the edges of the pan, and that’s fine too.
When the crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle on 4 ounces of the shredded cheese. Spread the pizza sauce over the cheese, leaving a bit of crust showing around the edges. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the minced pepperoni.
Bake the pizza for 12 minutes, until the cheese is melty and the edges are browned. Let the pizza sit 5-10 minutes before slicing into rectangles, two rows of 5 rectangles each. Serve hot! Indulge in the childhood lunchroom memories. Oh, and don’t forget the napkins!
To store any leftovers, layer pieces between parchment paper or foil and store in a zip top bag in the fridge for up to 3 days. It can be reheated in the microwave if you’re feeling extra trashy, or first in a hot skillet to crisp up the bottom, followed by a short stint under a hot broiler to melt the cheese.