Somehow the day got away from me yesterday and I needed to get dinner on the table in a hurry, or at least in under an hour. Once again I turned to Giuliano Hazan’s Every Night Italian for his recipe for an exquisite Meat Pie “Pizza” Style. This is the second time, I’ve prepared this dish. I’ve made some modifications to the original recipe, adding a little nutmeg, increasing the amount of mozzarella, and adding a few minutes to the original cooking time.
This “pizza” consists of beef, pancetta, pecorino Romano, bread, eggs, seasoning and is topped with mozzarella, basil, and oregano. It’s essentially a meatloaf topped like a pizza Margherita. A wonderful supper in 35 minutes about from start to finish. In case you didn’t know, Giuliano is the son of Victor and Marcella Hazan.
Meat Pie, “Pizza” Style Adapted from Every Night Italian by Giuliano Hazan
2 slices white bread, trimmed of crusts
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 pound ground beef 85% lean
1/2 cup pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
2 tablespoons plain fine bread crumbs
2 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced and chopped
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
Butter (for greasing the baking dish)
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, shredded
3/4 cup canned whole peeled tomatoes drained of juice, coarsely chopped
4 to 5 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried whole oregano leaves crushed between thumbs
Olive oil for drizzling
1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
2. Put the trimmed bread and the milk in a small bowl and mash it with your hands until you get a smooth pasty mixture. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl and add the beef, the grated pecorino, the bread crumbs, the eggs, the chopped pancetta, and ground nutmeg.
3. Season lightly with salt and pepper, then mix everything together thoroughly with your hands.
4. Grease the bottom and sides of a round pie dish approximately 10 inches in diameter. Put in the ground beef mixture and push it down with your hands until it is evenly spread out. Cover with the tomatoes. Cut the mozzarella into strips and arrange them over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the shredded basil and dried oregano on top, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
Let the “pizza” settle for about 5 minutes after you take it out of the oven, then transfer it with two spatulas to a serving plate. Serve it hot or lukewarm.
Wine Pairing: Chianti, Zinfandel