Craving a pizza night without the takeout or homemade dough? There's a TikTok recipe for that.
When looking for an easy, 15-minute meal to whip up on a school night, I found Valentina Mussi's pizza baguette. Since she posted it on her TikTok, @sweetportfolio,in November 2020, it has received nearly 3 million likes and is soon to be featured in her new cookbook, "The Unofficial TikTok Cookbook."
"Growing up in an Italian household, my family was always munching on some variation of bread, cheese and cured meats," Mussi told me. "As a result, I am always looking to take classic dishes and comfort food to the next level! I had already made a few 'stuffed breads' before using round sourdough loaves, so I replicated the same concept but using a baguette."
Clearly, I had to test it out.
Getting together the list of only five ingredients was as easy as (pizza) pie. I had everything on hand, except the baguette, which I wanted fresh anyway. I got mine from a local butcher who bakes it day of, which was perfect taste-wise. My only qualm is that baguettes often vary slightly in width and length. Mine was very skinny and very long, which made it a little harder to stuff the ingredients in when sliced. In the future, I'd opt for one that's a bit wider so it's sturdier.
With a sharp bread knife, the slicing part was simple and quick. I used a little more than twice the amount of pizza sauce instructed in Mussi's recipe. Again, my baguette was lanky but if anyone likes their pizza saucy, I'd opt for 1/2 to 3/4 cup instead.
Placing the pepperonis in each sliver looks cute, though I also wanted to see how the recipe worked with a plain, vegetarian spin (also, because one of my kids doesn't like pepperoni and I'm just here to please).
So, I did one half (seven slices) as per the directions and stuffed the other seven slices with mozzarella pearls. One could also use slices of fresh mozzarella or additional shreds.
Next, I sprinkled chunky mozzarella shreds all over the top, sprinkled on the garlic powder and transferred to my baking sheet. I was forced to break the baguette in two so it could fit.
After just 10 minutes of bake time at 375 F, it was time to enjoy the fruits — tomatoes, specifically — of my labor. The result was a crispy, fluffy, pizza-packed baguette that's pretty much foolproof for a quick lunch or dinner.
My favorite part about this recipe was that it's not only super simple and straightforward but also really versatile. Once you've got the baguette and slice it, the options to personalize the "pizza" are endless. It could work well stuffed with small chunks of pineapple and thin slices of ham (if you're one of those people), with fresh veggies or even as a white pizza with ricotta cheese in lieu of tomato sauce, fresh garlic and herbs.
This makes it ideal for entertaining (I'm thinking a pizza baguette bar where everyone gets a loaf and can stuff it with their own toppings), a fuss-free, at-home date night and definitely for a family cooking night.
To validate whether this cheesy bead could standup to the critiques of an avid pizza enthusiast, I asked my four-year-old to taste it.
"Good, very good," he said. And there you have it.