Meatzza



My husband has never been able to pronounce things correctly. So much for his university education. When I met him he would say burlesque to rhyme with barbecue, it was only a couple of years ago I sorted out the Arkansas problem for him and literally months ago that we had a sit down discussion about reneged having a hard ‘g’. I thought it was all over but no, thanks to Nigella and her lovely new book Nigellisima I now have to deal with regular requests for the ‘Meatatza’. He means Meatzza. 

On second thoughts maybe this annoying inability to pronounce quite a simple word was a deliberate ploy to get me to cook it so we could move on. It worked. I cooked it for our romantic Friday night that I’d been planning involving booze and a new Midsommer Murders that actually ending up being me and Most Haunted while Joe wolfed his Meatzza and returned to his computer to get his award for slowest. Worker. Ever.

A quick word on Nigella’s latest series – loved it. Far less simpering and saucy sideways glances, amazing figure, amazing clothes, updated fab makeup and yummy recipes. A big improvement (although I did watch and love Kitchen she was a bit OTT wasn’t she?). And the accompanying book is just lovely – completely different to her usual look and easy to follow.

Now for the Meatzza which she says is the most requested recipe in the book. It was delicious and very simple to make but kind of hefty. Admittedly the recipe is for 4-6 people and there are only two of us, and yes we did finish it (see my constant twitter complaints about how I’m not losing weight even though I’m breastfeeding). But on its own for 4-6 people I feel it would need something with it – salad or tagliatelle perhaps?

Also would like to add that mince doesn't photograph well... I tried.

Meatzza

Serves 4-6

500g minced beef
3 tbsp grated Parmesan
3 tbsp breadcrumbs or porridge oats (not instant)
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic, peeled
salt and pepper to taste
butter, for greasing
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp garlic oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 x 125g ball of mozzarella (not Buffalo), halved then sliced
few leaves fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7. You'll need a large mixing bowl and a round baking tin,  although I used a round Le Creuset, about 28cm in diameter. I didn't add enough salt, do not be afraid of salt in this recipe, it is your friend, if in doubt heat up a small frying pan and fry off a tiny bit of the mince mixture to try it for seasoning.

1. In a large bowl, using your hands, combine the mince, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley and eggs. Grate in the garlic and add some salt and pepper. Do not overwork it, just lightly mix together, or the meat will become compacted and dense. 

2. Butter your dish or baking tin and turn the meat into it, pressing the mixture lightly with your fingers to cover the bottom of the dish. 

The mince base

3. Make sure you've drained as much juice as you can from the chopped tomatoes, then mix the tomatoes 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.



4. Cook for 20-25 minutes by which time the meat should be cooked through and the mozzarella melted. 

5. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes then cover with the basil leaves and cut into wedges like a pizza to serve.


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