I’ve hesitated to post this recipe. I worry that it comes dangerously close to Frito Pies or one never-to-be-forgotten summer camp dish: corned beef hash and canned corn mashed up together in a frying pan and covered in ketchup. That’s not to say both weren’t delicious–especially if you were hungry teenager on a camping trip. Although we like to think that as we’ve aged, we’ve outgrown these kind of campfire concoctions, we were drawn to “Meatzza”. It’s from Nigella Lawson’s latest cookbook, “Nigellissima” (Clarkson Potter 2012). “Meatzza”, as you can likely guess, contains some elements of Pizza. Pizza is my idea of the perfect food because it hits every element in the pyramid–protein, dairy, vegetable and those carbs in the crust. That alone might make me want to try “Meatzza”. But to choose it as the first recipe out of the 120 Ms. Lawson’s 8th cookbook contains, requires some further explanation.
I adore the way Nigella Lawson writes. Having seen her any number of times on television, she seems to come into the room in her cookbooks. Her English-ness jumps off the page in her prose. That lovely voice stands next to you in the kitchen as you hear how her recipe came to be and how to put it together yourself. The write up leading to the recipe for Meatzza extolls its pre-publication status as ‘numero uno’ in the Lawson Saatchi household. It is a special favorite of Nigella’s teenagers. Since we are almost at the season where teen houseguests will start to appear in Bridgehampton, it sounded like something I should know about.
Well, at least that was the excuse Andrew thought I could use. How else to explain wanting to cook what basically amounts to a giant hamburger patty serving as the “crust” for a Margherita topping. The patty itself is enhanced with meatball-like add-ins of parmesan, parsley, bread crumbs or oatmeal (the latter making it gluten free!) and eggs. Moulded into the bottom of a non-stick pan, the meat portion is then topped with diced tomatoes ( I used Fire Roasted tomatoes for extra flavor) and slices of fresh mozzarella. Once pulled from the oven, basil leaves top the pie where they stay green for all of about five minutes, turning quite brown as they ‘cook’ on the hot surface. But the basil flavor is fantastic despite how the basil leaves look. You slice the Meatzza into wedges and serve. I think it goes well with a simply dressed green salad. I got 6 wedges out of my skillet. If at all possible, try to eat the whole thing at once. Andrew found the leftovers not nearly as tempting as the first go round. Here is the recipe: