MAMA COZZI'S FOUR CHEESE RISING CRUST PIZZA
|Want something with more flavor? Eat the cardboard box.|
There was something that looked kind of…boring in the packaging to Mama Cozzi’s Four Cheese Rising Crust Pizza, which is precisely the reason that I have avoided buying it for several years. There just seemed to be many more delicious options that I never felt the need to pick this up; those options range from their often-excellent take and bakes, to their neverending rotation of frozen pizza Special Buy’s that are always available.
But give it enough time, and under the right circumstances, any of Aldi’s main offerings become a good fall-back plan. In this case, it was most of the Special Buy pizzas involved meat, which my vegetarian wife refuses to eat, for obvious reasons (though we did pick up a deep-dish cheese pizza, as well). So we stumbled on this and decided to pick it up, if for no other reason than to have a simple cheese pizza that we could throw in the oven when my wife didn’t feel like cooking. Works for me.
I will admit that I overcooked it a little bit, completely forgetting to check on it after I set the timer for ten minutes too long. Oops. But if anything, this little problem only gave it more flavor than it otherwise would have had; there’s no excuse for anything with four cheeses to taste so incredibly bland. Especially given Aldi’s propensity to offer generally above-average frozen pizzas. Even in the occasional failure, there’s usually something that stands out, but even the crust is listless, boring stuff. I received no joy out of taking a single bite, and we ended up letting just slightly less than half of it go to waste (and we usually down our frozen pizzas).
I was also expecting the crust to rise a little bit more, or to at least look more inviting than it actually is. But it’s just a tasteless ring that surrounds the largely listless cheesy center. Adding insult to injury, this pizza is, if I remember correctly, $3.99. I’ve had far better pizzas for around the same price. Hell, even their cheap national brand knockoffs (which retail for a mere $1.99 last time I checked) still pack way more flavor for a third of the price. If I ever walked into an Aldi store, and discovered this was the ONLY pizza they offered, I would turn right back around, drive to a Little Caesar’s, and be much, much happier.
Overall: 2.5/10. An offensively listless, tasteless pizza. How can something with four cheeses be so incredibly bland? I’d actually put off buying this because even the packaging made it look boring, but when it was one of only a couple options that my vegetarian wife wanted, we decided to give it a shot. I did overcook it, admittedly, but I’m honestly convinced the charred cheese actually gave off more taste than it normally would have had had it been properly cooked. If this was a $2 pizza, it would still suck, but at least a case could be made for it being an “entry level” pizza. But no, this is a $4 pizza, and all it had my wife and I thinking was, “For another dollar, we could have had Little Caesar’s”. This is a complete waste of money, plain and simple.
MAMA COZZI'S CHICKEN, SPINACH, AND GARLIC RISING CRUST PIZZA
|"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.