My feelings about ALDI (or as my dad insists on calling it, Al D’s) are very nearly platonic. But if that discount German-based supermarket ever got down on one knee...you’d be reading food reviews by Greg D, I guess.
In the past I’ve reviewed fancy salsas, hot dogs, and smoked salmon (as well as writing the not-even-close-to-definitive guide to shopping at ALDI), but sometimes I just have to feed my kids and kids like pizza.
Mama Cozzi’s Take & Bake Pizzas
I sure do love the weird house brands ALDI comes up with. Appleton Farms. Clancy’s. And, of course, the most Italian of all names: Mama Cozzi’s.
While you can find a few shelf-stable Mama Cozzi’s items, most of this brand’s wares are in the freezer section. (Try the Texas toast, which is both not very Italian and quite tasty.)
But over with the other deli items, which are being marginally refrigerated, you’ll find some take-and-bake pizzas of varying sizes, shapes, and ingredients.
Because I was feeding my kids, I opted for the extra-large Five Cheese pizza, which includes mozzarella, provolone, monterrey jack, parmesan, and romano cheeses, on a traditional crust.
Because I was also feeding myself, I also grabbed an extra-large Mega Meat pizza on thin crust. Mega Meat is not wall-to-wall meats, but I do appreciate its blend of basic and “premium”—Italian sausage and pepperoni are given, but salami, bacon, and beef add some more heft and (especially in the case of the salami) some extra spice.
Crust vs. crust, I have to take the thin crust. It’s not quite cracker-thin, as some thin crusts go, but it was sturdy enough to hold all the toppings. Most importantly, the crust did its job and got out of the way of the cheese, toppings, and sauce.
Maybe that was the issue with the five-cheese pie: because the blend of cheeses, while pleasant, were not the grand distraction needed from the crust. The sauce is a bit one-note (my biggest complaint with most tomato sauces is a lack of depth) and the cheese didn’t have enough oomph to give the sauce much to bounce off of.
I’ll cop to charring the traditional crust on the five-cheese, though. I went middle rack when I guess I should have opted for the top rack, but the amount of time it took to get the cheese on top melty enough to be considered cooked left the crust exposed for too long.
Meanwhile, the thin crust, which was done on the top rack, was ideal. It had a good crunch, but there was still a little flex to it, when I folded a slice up. (Like a true New Yorker, I love take-and-bake pies.)
The nice thing about ALDI pizzas, as with all things at ALDI, is the price. The Five-Cheese pizza is probably $5.50. I think the Mega Meat was only about a dollar more. Maybe $1.50.
“Is it better than a Hot-and-Ready from Little Caesar’s?”
Yes and no. While I’ll certainly eat a few slices of Hot-and-Ready, it’s almost my last choice (though it still comes in well ahead of the worst pizza on the planet, Papa John’s) for mass market pizzas. Also, these are pretty big, so you can feed a lot of people. Or, in my case, I can just eat a lot and not tell everybody about my gluttony. Except for here. On the Internet.
There’s about a 1000% chance that Mega Meat is coming home with me again, but the cheese has, at best, one more shot on the top rack before I call it quits.