Of all the recipes in this book (and, of course, this statement is made prior to publication) this is the numero uno so far, in terms of repeat requests and general all-round joyous reception it gets at home. (I concede that since my on-hand sample demographic is the teenage market, factors are skewed in its favor.) It amuses. But then, a culinary pun, it is intended to amuse: it looks like a pizza, but its base is made out of meatball mixture, moreover a meatball mixture you don’t have to roll into balls but can simply press into a pan, rather like a juicy disc of meatloaf, or polpettone. All in all, it is just about the perfect children’s supper. My own children favor a Meatzza Margherita so I’ve kept it simple, but of course you could add any other toppings you like.
Reprinted from the book Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson. Copyright © 2012 by Nigella Lawson. Published by Clarkson Potter
|1 pound ground beef||Butter, for greasing|
|3 tablespoons grated Parmesan||1 can (14 ounce) diced tomatoes, drained|
|3 tablespoons bread crumbs or quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)||1 teaspoon garlic-flavored oil|
|3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley||1 teaspoon dried oregano|
|2 eggs, lightly beaten||4 ounces fresh mozzarella, halved then sliced|
|1 clove garlic, peeled||Few leaves fresh basil|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a large bowl, using your hands, combine the beef, Parmesan, bread crumbs or oatmeal, parsley, and eggs. Grate in (or mince and add) the garlic and add some salt and pepper. Do not overwork it, just lightly mix together, or the meat will become compacted and dense.
Butter a shallow, round baking pan of about 11 inches diameter and turn the meat into it, pressing the mixture lightly with your fingers to cover the bottom as if the seasoned ground meat were your pizza crust.
Make sure you’ve drained as much runny liquid as possible out of your can of diced tomatoes, then mix the tomato with the garlic-flavored oil, oregano, and some salt and pepper, and spread, using a rubber spatula, lightly on top of the meat base. Arrange the mozzarella slices on top, and then put in the oven for 20–25 minutes, by which time the meat should be cooked through and lightly set and the mozzarella melted.
Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes, then adorn with some basil leaves and bring it to the table before cutting into wedges, like a pizza.
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