Meatzza

Gluten! It seems that everyone is talking about this protein lately… a segment on CBC’s Marketplace last Sunday, an article in the latest New Yorker magazine and in this bit from Jimmy Kimmel Live!: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/jimmy-kimmel-asks-what-is-gluten-23655461

I wonder why so many people are restricting their diets by cutting out gluten? From what I’ve heard and read lately there is only a small percentage of people who have an allergy to gluten.

As I am firmly on the same side as Jimmy Kimmel – pro-pizza – here’s a recipe from Nigellissima for the people who have decided that gluten is evil, but that pizza is not.

It goes like this.

Get the ground beef, Parmesan and bread crumbs into a bowl.

Ground beef, Parmesan and bread crumbs.

Ground beef, Parmesan and bread crumbs.

Add the garlic.

Add the garlic.

Add the garlic.

Add the eggs, salt and pepper too.
I mixed them together at once instead of in the steps suggested in the recipe to diminish the amount of handling.

Don't forget the eggs. And the salt and pepper.

Don’t forget the eggs. And the salt and pepper.

Here’s what’s going to be the base layer.

Mixed together. But not overmixed.

Mixed together. But not overmixed.

Tomato purée instead of chopped tomatoes. More pizza-ish.

Tomato puree.

Tomato puree.

Grated the mozzarella instead of slicing it. Again, more pizza-ish.

Grated mozzarella.

Grated mozzarella.

Start building the meatzza. Press the meat layer into the bottom of the pan.

Meat layer in the bottom.

Meat layer in the bottom.

Next, the tomato layer.

Then the tomato layer.

Then the tomato layer.

Finally, the cheese layer.

Topped with cheese.

Topped with cheese.

Baked for 25 minutes.

Out of the oven, resting.

Out of the oven, resting.

A slice of meatzza pie.

Meatzza.

Meatzza.

Here’s the original recipe:
http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/MEATZZA-5546

Meatzza
Serves: 4-6

Of all the recipes in Nigellissima (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 favour.) 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 tin, rather like a juicy disc of meatloaf, or polpettone.

Ingredients

500 grams minced beef
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs (or porridge oats, not instant)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
1 clove garlic (peeled)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
butter for greasing
1 x 400 grams can chopped tomatoes (drained)
1 teaspoon garlic infused olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
125 grams ball of mozzarella (not buffalo) (drained weight, halved then sliced)
1 small bunch fresh basil


Method

Preheat the oven to 220ºC/gas mark 7/425°F.

In a large bowl, using your hands, combine the mince, Parmesan, breadcrumbs or oats, 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 tin of about 28cm/11″ diameter and turn the meat into it, pressing the mixture lightly with your fingers to cover the bottom as if the seasoned minced 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 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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