You really have to taste how good this is to know why it’s one of our most popular recipes of all time.
As promised, here’s another recipe to get us through being stuck in the house. It’s unorthodox for sure. It’s basically a giant hamburger patty that’s topped with tomato pizza flavor and gooey mozzarella cheese. When I first discovered the recipe in 2013, I hesitated to write about it. I worried that it came dangerously close to Frito Pies and a 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 that both Frito Pies and Camp Nominingue’s Hash Mash aren’t delicious. It’s just that we like to think we’ve outgrown these campfire concoctions. When I first made Meatzza, I discovered I hadn’t. And apparently, I am not alone. This is one of the most popular recipes on Chewing The Fat.
A favorite of its creator’s teenagers…and long-ago former teenagers.
The recipe came from Nigella Lawson’s “Nigellissima” (Clarkson Potter 2012). If the title of the cookbook, which was Ms. Lawson’s 8th, isn’t a giveaway, it’s Ms. Lawson’s take on all things Italian. There’s not an Italian alive who ever made anything close to “Meatzza” but never mind. What sold me on it was it’s a special favorite of Nigella’s teenagers. And Pizza itself is my idea of the perfect food. It hits every element in the food pyramid—protein, dairy, vegetables and those carbs in the crust. Well, at least that was the excuse Andrew thought I could use when I included it here.
You likely have everything you need to make this tonight…except for one ingredient which you can live without.
What this dish comes down to is a hamburger patty serving as the “crust” for a Margherita topping. It takes no time to make or to cook. The patty itself is enhanced with meatball-like add-ins of parmesan, parsley, breadcrumbs or oatmeal (the latter making it gluten-free!) and eggs. Molded 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. While the basil flavor is great, it’s not essential to the dish. 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:
Nigella Lawson's Meatzza
The great taste of Pizza without the crust.
- 16 oz ground beef (80/20 lean)
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs (or porridge oats, not instant)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Butter for greasing
- 1 - 14 oz can diced tomatoes (drained)
- 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- 1 clove of finely minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 oz ball of mozzarella (not buffalo) (drained weight, halved then sliced)
- 1 small bunch fresh basil
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Step 2 In a large bowl, using your hands, combine the mince, Parmesan, breadcrumbs or oats, parsley, and eggs. Grate in (or mince and add) the garlic and add some salt and pepper. Do not overwork it, just lightly mix together, or the meat will become compacted and dense.
- Step 3 Butter a shallow, round ovenproof skillet about 11 inches in diameter and turn the meat into it, pressing the mixture lightly with your fingers to cover the bottom as if the seasoned minced meat were your pizza crust.
- Step 4 Make sure you’ve drained as much runny liquid as possible out of your can of diced tomatoes, then mix the tomato with the oil, the minced garlic, oregano, and some salt and pepper and spread, using a rubber spatula, lightly on top of the meat base.
- Step 5 Arrange the mozzarella slices on top, and then put in the oven for 20-25 minutes, by which time the meat should be cooked through and lightly set and the mozzarella melted. If the cheese hasn’t developed some nice brown bits, put the pan under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to brown up.
- Step 6 Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes, then adorn with some basil leaves and bring it to the table before cutting into wedges, like a pizza.