Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mama Cozzi's Chicken, Spinach and Garlic Rising Crust Frozen Pizza (Aldi)

"Rising crust" is right...you'll be chewing on it longer than you do the rest of the pizza.
It probably doesn’t take long to realize that I eat a lot of frozen pizzas.  I know they’re bad for you, but they’re so easy to make, and many of them taste good, so we (or I) tend to eat at least one per week.  This week, with my wife’s weird work schedule, I was left to fend for myself for a couple days, and so I picked up a Mama Cozzi’s Chicken, Spinach and Garlic Rising Crust Pizza from Aldi.  If you remember, my wife is a vegetarian, so I made sure to grab something with meat in it, since I would be enjoying it without her.

I like a lot of Mama Cozzi’s frozen pizza offerings, but the last “rising crust” one I had was hugely, disgustingly underwhelming.  It was a four cheese, that both my wife and I denounced; I will never pick that one up again.  Truth be told, I didn’t really have high hopes for this one, either, but the ingredients made the pizza unique enough that I hadn’t had it a million times, and that was good enough to get me to pull the trigger on the purchase.

I burnt it a bit, but it was the good kind of burn: where the outer edges and some of the middle got a little charred, but the rest was perfectly cooked.  I like the charred flavor, especially on cheese, so if anything, I actually did this pizza a favor by giving it a little extra taste.  The garlic sauce, which replaces typical pizza sauce, is pretty good for a frozen pizza; it’s not at all overwhelming, and becomes the dominant flavor in this whole shindig.  The cheese and spinach are just there for support, and while they only slightly add to the taste, they’re welcome additions.

The chicken, on the other hand, is completely unnecessary.  They’re just small, white chunks of dry, bland chicken that adds absolutely nothing of value to the mix, besides a soft, chewy texture.  This is by far the weakest link; I think the pizza could benefit a great deal from substituting the chicken with some kind of crumbled cheese--feta springs immediately to mind--which could really take this whole thing to the next level.  But alas, I don’t work for Mama Cozzi, and so we must deal with it the way it is.

The second problem is that the crust is way too big; it feels like it overwhelms everything else.  Like a lot of crusts, it’s dry although I must admit it has an unexpected hint of sweetness in it that makes it surprisingly good for the first few bites.  However, there’s so much of it that one can’t help but grow tired of it; it seriously feels like you get a side of breadsticks with your pizza, that’s how much crust there is.  I never leave crust, but I had to on occasion simply because I got sick of chewing it so much.

The upside to all of this is that I must confess this is a pretty filling pizza.  I’ve been known to devour entire frozen pizzas all in one sitting, but I left half of this one for later, and ended up eating it for dinner the following night.  That has never happened to me--usually, the leftovers are just an after-work snack, since there is so little left.  I have to also admit that I won’t be getting this again for a long time, simply because the crust has me absolutely burnt out on these rising crust pizzas.

Overall: 5/10.  The crust is overwhelming; you’ll spend more time eating the crust then you will the rest of the pizza.  At first, it’s surprisingly sweet, but once that novelty wears off, it’s just a dry hunk of bread.  The garlic sauce is the best part of this whole thing, and thankfully it’s the dominant flavor, although the spinach and cheese offer up some decent support.  The chicken, however, is completely unnecessary; they’re just dry pieces of chicken, with absolutely no flavor besides the faint taste of “default chicken”.  I think this pizza would be a lot better if they just plucked off the chicken and replaced it with some kind of crumbled cheese (i.e. feta or maybe even blue); it would also give it the added benefit of being vegetarian.  But I don’t make these decisions, and so what Mama Cozzi’s has here is a woefully average frozen pizza that could be a whole lot better.



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