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Video: Making meat pizza

TODAY recipes
updated 1/26/2009 12:34:48 PM ET 2009-01-26T17:34:48

Recipe: Pizza di carne (meat pie, "pizza" style)

Here is a tasty, ingenious ground beef dish that looks and tastes like a pizza but has no dough. It has the traditional elements of an Italian pizza Margherita, tomatoes, mozzarella and oregano. But here they provide the topping for a ground beef mixture. It is as if you had a round flat meatloaf topped with pizza seasoning. This dish can be served as part of a buffet, as a hearty appetizer, or for a light lunch along with a salad.

  • 2 slices white bread
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Butter (for greasing the baking dish)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup canned whole peeled tomatoes drained of their juice, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried whole oregano leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 425°.

2. Cut the crust away from the slices of bread and discard it. Put the 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 and the eggs.

3. Chop the sliced pancetta and add it to the bowl. 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 (I like creating the spokes of a wheel with them.) Sprinkle the dried oregano on top and bake in the preheated oven for 20 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.

Serving Size

Serves 6 to 8 people  Preparation time: 15 minutes  Total time from start to finish: 35 minutes

Recipe: Polpettone ai funghi (Meatloaf with mushrooms)

In a typical Italian fashion, this meatloaf is cooked over the stove instead of in the oven.

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion,
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 ounces white mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 slices white bread
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons fresh sage
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 pound ripe tomatoes

1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Trim the bottom of the stem of the shiitake mushrooms, wash, and thinly slice. Brush away any dirt from the white mushrooms and thinly slice.

2. Trim the crust away from the bread and put the bread and milk in a small bowl. Mash the bread with your fingers until you have a smooth pulp. Put it in a mixing bowl with the ground beef, egg, nutmeg, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper and mix everything together thoroughly with your hands.

3. Put the butter and vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed braising pan and place over medium high heat.

4. Spread the breadcrumbs on a plate. Shape the meat into a loaf 3/12 to 4 inches thick. Roll the loaf over the breadcrumbs until it is coated all around.

5. When the oil and butter are hot and the butter is just beginning to turn color, gently lower the meatloaf into the pan. Once it has browned on the bottom, carefully turn it over with two spatulas to brown the other side. Use the spatulas to lift the meatloaf out of the pan and set it aside on a plate. Be aware that since the loaf is not cooked through yet, it can come apart if you are not careful.

6. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until it turns a rich golden color, 3-5 minutes. Chop the sage and stir it in. Raise the heat to medium high, add the wine, and let it bubble away until it has completely evaporated. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

7. While the mushrooms are cooking, peel the tomatoes (see page 000) and coarsely chop them. Add the tomatoes to the pan, season lightly with salt, and put the meat loaf back in. The easiest way to do this is to hold the plate over the pan and slide the meatloaf into the pan. Once the tomatoes have started bubbling, lower the heat so that they simmer. Cover the pan and cook for 45 minutes, turning the meatloaf every 15-20 minutes, until it is cooked through. Remove the cover and, if the sauce is still somewhat watery, raise the heat to medium high and cook, stirring often, until the sauce has reduced down enough to coat a spoon. Take the meatloaf out of the pan and cut into 1/2" slices. Place the slices on a serving platter and pour the sauce over them. Serve hot with some good crusty bread.


Note: This is a dish that will be still very good 2-3 days after it's made. Slice the meatloaf when you are ready to serve, then reheat it in its sauce over the stove, in a 350° oven, or in a microwave.

Serving Size

Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as part of a multi-course Italian meal  Preparation time: 30 minutes  Total time from start to finish: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Recipe: Pork and porcini "burgers"

Porcini, pine nuts, garlic and parsley give these tasty pork patties a distinctly Italian flavor. As an alternative to breading and sautéing, omit the last 2 ingredients and cook on a hot grill. Serve either American style, on a bun, or Italian style with crusty bread on the side.

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1/2 small clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt
  • 1 ounce pancetta, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 325° on the convection setting, or to 350° on regular bake.
2. Put the dried porcini in a medium bowl, cover with water and soak for 15 minutes.
3. While the porcini are soaking, peel and finely chop the garlic. Finely chop the parsley.
4. Put the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

5. Lift the porcini out of the water, squeezing the excess back into the bowl; do not discard the water. Rinse the mushrooms under running water, then chop them coarsely. Put 1/2 tablespoon of the butter in a small skillet and place over medium high heat. When the butter is hot add the porcini. Season lightly with salt and stir until they are well coated with the butter then add the water they soaked in. Be aware that there may be some sand at the bottom of the bowl so pour carefully or strain through a paper towel the water they soaked in. Cook until all the water has evaporated.

6. While the porcini are cooking, finely chop the pancetta and put it in a medium bowl with the pork, garlic, parsley, and egg. Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly with your hands. When the porcini are done, transfer them to the bowl. Mix at first with a spoon so you will not burn yourself, then with your hands until the mixture is homogeneous. Form the meat into 6 patties about 1" thick. Put the breadcrumbs on a small plate and coat each patty on all sides with the bread crumbs.

7. Put the vegetable oil and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a 12" skillet and place over medium high heat. When the oil and butter are hot and the butter is just beginning to turn color, put in the pork patties. Cook about 2 minutes on each side then lower the heat to medium and cover the pan. Cook until just barely pink inside, about another 2 minutes on each side, then remove them from the pan and serve hot.

Serving Size

Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as part of a multi-course Italian meal  Total time from start to finish: 45 minutes


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