I was browsing through the internet the other day, as you do, (Tell me it's not just me!) and I came across a blog hop devoted to Nigella Lawson and food your family would love. The original organizer of the blog hop is Sarah at Maison Cupcake, but the host this month is Sally from Recipe Junkie and the Attack of the Custard Creams. I could appreciate Sally’s attachment to Nigella and baking. She went through a challenging time when her child was quite ill a few years ago and baking from Nigella's How to Become a Domestic Goddess gave her structure and something she could control. While my feeling-out-of-control issues are not on par with hers, with all our moving about, I could definitely relate. If my kitchen is in working order, I am in a safe, familiar place.
I decided to join the blog hop by making a Nigella recipe from her latest book, Nigellissima. Whenever we have pizza, my motto is always the more meat, the better. And the thinner the crust, the better. This recipe goes one step further on both counts. No crust at all and it’s basically all meat. I added cooked lentils because 1. I like them, 2. I knew they would taste good and 3. they would make me feel better about eating what is basically a big hamburger patty with tomatoes and cheese. This is comfort food for sure. If you are trying to restrict carbs in your diet, this is the perfect pizza, or rather, meatzza for you.
1 lb 2 oz or 500g ground or minced beef
3/4 cup or 100g cooked lentils
3/4 oz or about 20g Parmesan
Small handful fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
Black pepper to taste
1 can 14 oz or 400g chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Crushed red pepper - optional
1 ball mozzarella – about 4 1/2 oz or 125g – plain or with basil
1 small bunch fresh basil – for garnish
Preheat your oven to 425°F or 220°C.
Chop your parsley and pour your canned tomatoes into a sieve to drain. (Save the juice for soup or another dish.)
Put your ground beef, lentils, parsley and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Grate in the Parmesan and one of the cloves of garlic and add a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir until just mixed through.
Oil a shallow, round baking tin. For a thinner crust, choose a wider baking pan. Mine was only about 8 in or 21cm so this was definitely a deep pan meatzz. Press the meat mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.
In another bowl, put your well-drained tomatoes, a little sprinkle of salt and the oregano. Grate in the second clove of garlic and give it a good drizzle of olive oil. Mix well.
Spread the seasoned tomatoes onto your meat and then sprinkle with some crushed red pepper, if using.
Slice the mozzarella and arrange the slices on top of the tomatoes.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on the thickness of your meat layer. I was a little bit concerned initially because the meat juices came up and around the tomatoes and cheese, which was not attractive. But at the end of the cooking time, the top was browned and it was all good.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Decorate with the basil and cut in wedges to serve. I served a good wedge along side a salad of arugula or rocket with a simple vinaigrette to complete the meal.
Nigella’s recipe says it serves four to six people but even with a side salad and my addition of the lentils, I don’t think you could stretch this to feed more than four. It was delicious though and I would definitely make it again.
And again, check out the other #ForeverNigella favorites in the blog hop right here.