Doesn’t this look like a deep-dish pizza you’d get straight out of the oven at your favorite hometown pizza joint? Who can imagine that this is a hot pizza DIP that will rival any craving for the best pizza in town. Plus, you get to make it at home and let me tell you, it is GO-OOD!
Starting with a standard 9-inch pie plate, layer cream cheese mixed with classic pizza seasonings of oregano, basil and garlic, then topped with jarred pizza sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan and whatever other toppings you love on your own pizza. I’ve heard appetizer connoisseurs call this “the best dip I’ve ever had!”.
One of the best things about this dip is you can customize it to fit your favorite toppings, plus you can lighten it up easily for a healthy-ish option.To lighten up the recipe, you can completely skip the cream cheese layer and cut back on the other cheese a little as well. Leave out the meat for a vegetarian option. Or you can go the other direction and pile on the meat and cheese for a meat-lover’s paradise.
No matter what you pile on top of this amazing dip, or what type of bread (or not bread) you serve with it…
…the most important thing to remember is,
…you really MUST make it! Truly, if you’re looking for the ultimate appetizer to please both kids and adults, and you want it to be super easy to put together…look no more.
- 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened (Use neufchatal for less fat and calories, if desired)
- 1 Tablespoon freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup mozarella cheese, shredded and divided
- 1 cup good quality jarred pizza sauce
- ½ cheddar cheese, shredded
- ½ cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 Hot or Mild Italian sausage, removed from casing
- 10 fresh mushrooms, sliced
- 20-30 mini pepperoni or 10-12 regular size pepperoni slices
- ½ green bell pepper, diced
- 10 black olives, sliced
- ½ small onion, diced
- Crostinis or sliced baugette for serving
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, 1 tablespoon Parmesan and spices. Spread mixture into the bottom of an oven safe 9-inch glass pie plate.
- Top cream cheese mixture with ½ cup mozzarella and spread pizza sauce over it to edges. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup mozzarella, cheddar and Parmesan cheese over the sauce.
- In a small saute' pan, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking up into small pieces. Remove sausage from pan with slotted spoon and spread over top of cheese in pie plate.
- In same pan you cooked the sausage, add the mushrooms and cook until just golden (add a little oil or butter if needed). Remove mushrooms from pan and spread over other ingredients.
- Sprinkle the pepperoni, bell pepper, black olives and onions over top, adding more if desired. For a little spicier dip, sprinkle with extra red pepper flakes before baking.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
- Serve immediately with crostinis, garlic toast or sliced baugette.
- Cook's note: You can assemble the pizza dip ahead of time and then refrigerate it up to 24 hours before baking. I found that serving it fresh the first day it's baked was the best and gave the freshest flavor. Personally, the flavors were not as prominent when I reheated leftovers the second day.