A pizzetta is just a small pizza
This wonderful topping was inspired by one I came across at a restaurant called Polpo in London.
You can make your own dough – for one pizzetta you would only need a ball the size of your palm…but I cheated and used some fabulous round naan breads from a local deli. They worked a treat.
For each pizzetta you will need:
2 asparagus spears
Several slices of the hard style mozzarella
3 or 4 fine slices of taleggio
3 slices of prosciutto, though you could use serrano ham or speck
Extra virgin olive oil
Preheat your oven to 230c.
Slice each of the asparagus spears on the diagonal into about 5 pieces. pop in boiling water for two minutes then drain and rinse under the cold tap.
Evenly distribute the cheeses on the base until more or less covered. …but leave a ring around the edge as the taleggio melt beautifully and oozes outwards. Scatter the asparagus pieces onto the cheese. Pop into the oven straight onto the rack for 5 to 6 minutes – if using your own dough, put the pizzetta onto a baking sheet or pizza stone pre warmed. It should take about 7 minutes.
When the pizzeta is done, you will see the cheese run…remove from the oven and lay the ham slices on the top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a good grind of black pepper….and serve! Great with a crisp green salad or radicchio leaves with a light dressing of oil.
The blend of flavours is fabulous and it makes a welcome change to the usual tomato and moz topping.
Experiment too with toppings – another favourite is a pizzetta topped with green olives, mozzarella, basil leaves and anchovies.
This is a very Venetian dish and I have enjoyed several varieties in the beautiful back street bars of Venice known locally as bàcari…and now my reminiscing has made me want to check out flights back to that most magical of cities!
Give this a go…please!
Friday night. Valentine’s. So had to be something red on the go! And I came across these stunning sweet baby red peppers in our local grocers and there was no looking back. I will not bore you too much with the recipe as I am sure all you wonderful cooks out there do these sort of dishes blindfold. Suffice to say I made the meatballs from minced lamb, black pepper,lots, chopped fresh rosemary and a pinch of smoked paprika and a grind or two of sea salt. Simple.
I knocked up a tomato sauce with a base of chopped basil stalks, a crushed garlic clove, a splodge of oregano and a sprinkle of dried crushed red chilli. Then 2×400 gm cans of finest Italian tomatoes.
I brought this to a simmer and left for around 40 minutes to thicken and get….err…. more saucy!
Meatballs meanwhile were pan fried in a little olive oil for 15 minutes until browned. I pan fried the peppers in a little olive oil until starting to blacken just a touch and put them to one side. The meatballs went into an oblong casserole dish and I then added the sauce. I placed as artistically as I could (!) the peppers in between and then dotted 20 mini mozzarella balls here and there.
An additional grind of black pepper, a drizzle of oilve oil, a few more basil leaves and then a good grating pf parmesan and it was ready to go in the preheated oven (160c) for 40 minutes until lovely and browned.
Served with pasta, ’twas a veritable Valentinian feast!
Well, yes, odd I know, but I had to give it a go – and I didn’t get it quite right but I will next time – if there is one – which there may well be. I have read of places like Jamie Oliver’s Union Jack messing about with pizzas, topping them with English style food, and I know of the porchetta pizza which is topped with cooked slices of stuffed roast pork. Anyway, I sallied forth yester eve with my own version.
My kids loved them – especially my son who rolled his and sliced it into pizza pork rolls! I used ready made pizza bases as time was of the essence last night.
250 gm of stuffing
4 pizza bases
A little melted butter
Tbsp of finely chopped parsley
4 slices of belly pork
A small quantity of runny apple sauce
Fresh sage leaves
I brushed each pizza base with a little melted butter in which I had stirred some finely chopped garlic and parsley. I grilled 4 slices of seasoned belly pork til just done, then sliced each one; though next time I would slice them finer. I placed 4 pieces of mozzarella on each pizza and then added the sliced pork. i then dotted some crumbled stuffing around, followed by a drizzle of apple sauce over plus some chopped fresh sage.
A dash of black pepper then into the hot oven for 8 minutes.
Next time I would add more mozzarella.
They were fun to make and interesting. Worth giving a go and altering to your own tastes. Warning – very filling! Christmas experimentation over – now back to my shopping list – though why I bother I am not sure as I never stick to it!
Last night’s supper was a new version of an old classic – melanzane parmigiana – my wife’s favourite. Like so many popular Italian dishes there seem to be a hundred different versions. I read about this a while ago in a book on Italy but the other day saw a recipe in a Jamie Oliver magazine I was browsing through. Had to give it a go. The key difference here is the treatment of the aubergine slices and the addition of mortadella sausage. It produces a wonderfully unctious and filling sauce.
Ingredients for 6
olive oil / 4 garlic cloves peeled and finely sliced / bunch of basil, leaves picked and stems finely chopped / 2 medium aubergines / 2 x 400gm chopped tin tomatoes / 150 gm mozzarella torn into pieces / 8 slices of mortadella a bowl of flour / 3 eggs beaten / handful of breadcrumbs
Oven set to 180c. Lightly fry the garlic and basil stalks in olive oil in a pan until lightly golden. Add the chopped toms, a little salt and black pepper and a dash of tom sauce or puree. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes until thick.
Slice the aubergine into 5mm rounds. Heat more olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Dip each aubergine slice first into the flour then into the beaten egg. Pop straight into the frying pan. Cook in batches – be patient! Each slice will take around a minute per side to brown up. Set to one side on kitchen paper.
In a deep ovenproof dish layer up your parmigiana.A layer of sauce, a few basil leaves and then a layer of aubergine. Top with 4 slices of the mortadella. Then more tomato sauce. Pop in half of the mozzarella and more basil leaves. Then another layer of mortadella. Then more sauce over this and another layer of aubergine. Finish with the remaining tomato sauce. Cover the dish with foil and pop in the oven for half an hour.
Remove fron the oven – remove the foil – add the remaining mozzarella and scatter over the breadcrumbs and a grating or two of parmesan. Drizzle over some olive oil and pop back in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes til golden and bubbling.
I served it with lamb meatballs – though it is a meal in itself. And i also fancied some white asparagus in lemon juice and oil so we had that too! Greedy, eh?!
A Tune A Day was a popular guitar tutor book when I was knee high to a grasshopper…by an old guitar player called Bert Weedon if I recall…anyway…tuna is supposed to be good for you like all oily fish so I guess eating it should keep the doc away! Look, I’m rambling…so…Tuna…what can one say..the tinned variety does not always get a good press…but I have a phenomenally simple recipe that our family loves. Tis cheap as chips…and yet satisfying, vibrant and malleable. My wife does a version of this pizzaiola sauce mixing it all up cold first then adding it to the hot pasta. Delicious. Love it. But….I have to…it is in my nature….be different…and so I have taken her dish and cooked it! So…in a frying pan – I use a wok because it is easy to add the pasta to at the finale- I drizzle some olive oil, a chopped clove of garlic, a whole pierced red chill, and a good sprinkle of dried oregano. Get it warm and cosy…not fizzing. Then add 800 grams of your best chopped tinned tomatoes, a dash of tomato puree or a good tom sauce, and a handful of chopped fresh basil leaves and stalks. Bring it to a gentle simmer. Add 2 teaspoons of rinsed capers, a good handful of black olives – if tinned rinse! – and I added 6 mozzarella pearls halved – though you could just add a sliced ball of mozzarella. Sprinkle in some ground black pepper and a little ground rock salt. Add a tin of tuna..stir it gently in. It should look like this!
Put on 400 gm of rigatoni pasta – best for soaking up the juices – and let the sauce simmer whilst it cooks. The mozzarella will become unctuously runny and the whole thing will make you want to pour a good glass of red in celebration. Drain the pasta. Add it to the sauce carefully and stir it all together. Add a few more torn basil leaves, a drizzle of oil and serve. This is soooo easy and soooo terrifically delicious. Cheers!