Taco Bell "Pizzazz" Mexican Pizza


When I was little, my grandmother would take me to the Taco Bell in Oregon, Ohio. My favorite thing on the menu was something called a Pizzazz pizza. This was before talking chihuauas, fire sauce, or value meals. We'd roll up in our land yacht, drop a huge fiver on lunch (getting three dollars back) and chow down into a double-stacked tostada of Mexican-food-confusion. Is it an Italian pizza or is it Mexican food? Some individuals would be quick to point out, that there's no pizza in Mexican food, but the truth is, they'd be wrong. It's called a(n) (open face) Tlayuda (sometimes spelled Clayuda), and they're popular in southern Mexico. (Oaxaca) Just like Taco Bell's Americanized Mexican pizza they're topped with salsa, cheese and various toppings depending on the region (cabbage, chorizo, grasshoppers). They're a popular snack food that found its way into American palettes when the fast-food taco giant attempted to compete with similar offerings from McDonald's. (The McPizza was test marketed in the 1970s). While the competitors products faded away, the Taco Bell Pizzazz Pizza became a cult favorite, and was later rebranded (likely due to the cost of Zs) simply as the name given by mumbling stoners through the drive-thru at 2 AM: Mexican Pizza.

Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza isn't a difficult thing to make. In fact you can go out and buy almost everything at the store. The real trick is the sauce. Taco Bell did something different with their pizza sauce that most people don't realize, they sweeten the mild salsa and add chunks of tomatoes. It's very similar to how you make Italian marinara, and according to Taco Bell ingredients, the secret is corn syrup. Of course you can use honey, or sugar if you prefer, but it's really that simple:

The original Pizzazz had olives, but was later replaced with green onions. 

Taco Bell Mexican Pizza Sauce Recipe:

1 cup of Taco Bell (or your choice) mild salsa . (I get mine at Wal-Mart)
1 Tablespoon of corn syrup.
1 tomato chopped.
Place it all in a small sauce pan, heat over medium heat till it thickens, and slap some on your pizza.

The fried tortillas give it an
 addictive chewiness that adds
both texture and flavor to the
home-made Mexican pizza.
...and that's really all there is. I personally prefer my "shells" in the more authentic manner, by deep frying a couple flour tortillas till crisped, but you can equally buy pre-bought tostada shells similar to Taco Bell. I simply assemble everything on a cookie sheet, (usually with some leftover and reheated  taco meat between the two crisp tortillas,) top it with some white and yellow cheese, the pizza sauce, and bake in a pre-heated oven at 450F for about 4-5 minutes.

This recipe should come in real handy when I get to Brussels and find myself void of Taco Bells. Either way, I'd say this one of the funnest Mexican foods you can make at home, with very little fuss. For the record, I think it's time Taco Bell returns to its roots and bring back the Pizzazz name. It's just to fun to say.

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