Every home cook has those go-to meals that their friends and family can’t get enough of. For me, it’s my Italian meatballs that I learned in the kitchen with my mother. While standing at my mother’s side, she would fry batch after batch of meatballs. But only after taste-testing the first one to make sure it was seasoned correctly.
I love carrying on this tradition, and relish sharing this special meal with my loved ones. When my close friends hear I am making spaghetti and meatballs for Sunday night dinner they will drop everything to come join us for dinner. The husband isn’t always so eager to share this coveted meal.
Last week for the first time I served up spaghetti and meatballs for my pasta-loving daughter. She typically gobbles up pasta with sauce pretty quickly, but this time she voraciously ate 5 entire portions of chopped up spaghetti with bits of meatballs. I was a proud mama.
One of my favorite parts about whipping up a large batch of meatballs and sauce on a Sunday is having leftovers for the rest of the week. The husband and I often buy a crunchy loaf of fresh bread the next day and make meatball subs. It’s such an easy weeknight meal, especially when paired with a side salad or steamed broccoli.
But even after heaping bowls of spaghetti and meatball subs there were still more meatballs to be had. What to do with those last precious meatballs?
A light bulb went off and I thought: pizza! I have made non-dairy pizza with meatballs before, and it was good enough. But I wanted to make something really special. As I was mulling over what I had in my fridge and what might combine nicely with the meatballs I thought….eggs….arugula…and another great non-dairy pizza combination was born in my humble kitchen.
Tip: don’t skimp on the extra drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt – it really brings out the flavor of the unique pizza. And don’t worry if you don’t have a pizza stone – you can also use a baking sheet.
To make the meatballs:
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground veal
2 large eggss
1 1/2-2 cups unseasoned bread crumbs (preferably fresh)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
vegetable oil for frying
small bowl of cold water
tomato sauce of your choosing
To make the pizza:
1 store-bought pizza dough, left at room temperature 1 hour
flour for dusting
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup fresh arugula
olive oil for drizzling
thick sea salt
Special equipment: pizza stone
To make the meatballs:
In a large mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, basil and garlic powder.
Add meat and eggs and mix thoroughly, but lightly, with hands; do not overwork the meat. Set the small bowl of cold water next to your working station.
Prepare a platter lined with paper towels and place next to the stove as you prepare the meatballs.
Working with just the palm of your hand, and not packing too tight, make fist sized meatballs and place on unlined platter. Use cold water to wet hands in between each meatball. Place meatballs in skillet, and brown on all sides until even.
When meatballs are all fried, put into a slightly simmering pot of tomato sauce to finish cooking through and absorb the tomato sauce flavor.
To make the pizza:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Once oven is fully heated, place pizza stone in oven for at least 30 minutes, or up to 60 minutes.
Working on a lightly floured surface, stretch pizza dough using hands and rolling pin until desired thinness and shape.
Using pastry brush or fingers, spread 2 Tbsp olive oil all over pizza dough.
Cut meatballs into rounds. Spread sauce evenly over dough. Place on pizza stone and cook 6 minutes.
Crack eggs into a bowl while pizza is cooking.
After 6 minutes, open oven and carefully spread eggs over pizza a few inches apart from one another. Put back into the oven for another 5-6 minutes.
Remove pizza from oven. Allow to cool 2-3 minutes.
Sprinkle fresh arugula over top of pizza. Drizzle with olive olive oil and sprinkle thick sea salt.
I love making pizza at home, and especially enjoy trying new flavor toppings. Some of our favorites include white pesto pizza with spinach, butternut squash and kale pizza and white pizza with fennel and kalamata olives. Ok, so I veer off a little from the “traditional” when it comes to my at-home pizza experimentation. My sister loves penne vodka pizza, and I have even tried that! Probably not the healthiest meal I have ever prepared…
During Passover I was thinking about Shakshuka, and what a great, versatile dish it is when it hit me: I needed to try shakshuka pizza!
When I eat shakshuka, I like to add feta and have a plate of hummus with tahini on the side so that I can take a nice hunk of warm pita, dunk it into the tomato sauce, a bit of the egg, cheesy feta and tangy hummus. So that was the combination of flavors I was aiming for with this pizza.
This shakshuka pizza is the perfect dish to serve in honor of Israel’s 65th birthday this week. Serve it with some salatim, like Israeli salad and baba ganoush for a complete meal. Don’t feel like making your own tomato sauce? Swap the homemade tomato sauce for a chunky store-bought variety!
1 store-bought pizza dough
12 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
pinch red chili flakes
salt and pepper
olive oil for brushing
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
tahini sauce (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If using a pizza stone, place in the oven to heat up.
In a large saute pan, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and saute until they start to get soft. Add garlic and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
Add bell pepper, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes and tomato paste and saute another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add can of tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface.
Remove pizza stone from oven and place dough on stone. Lightly brush olive oil over dough. Spread tomato sauce over surface of pizza dough, leaving 1 inch border for crust. Crack eggs on pizza and sprinkle with feta cheese.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Drizzle with prepared tahini sauce if desired.
The Prime Restaurant Group is really on a roll lately – they are opening a new location for Prime Grill this Spring, changing the menu of Solo from meat to dairy and they just opened their Neopolitan-style pizza spot with Pizza da Solo, located conveniently for the midtown working crowd at 55th and Madison in the Sony building.
Being half Italian, I do consider myself somewhat of a pizza expert. I also worked at a pizzeria during high school, yet another credential which establishes my expertise in pizza consumption. And I have to say, kosher or not, Pizza da Solo was great – super thin crust, balanced flavors and a good selection of interesting topping combos. To achieve an authentic Neapolitan-style pizza, they have brought in Giulio Adriani, pizza exert who is the chef and owner of the Forcella restaurants, to serve as a consultant chef to the pizzeria.
I had lunch yesterday a the pizzeria where I chatted with Chef David Kolotkin who shared that even he can’t stop eating the delicious pizza!
Pizza da Solo features a perfectly simple menu of pizzas, calzones and salads. I got to taste three different pizza varieties while I was there, but hands down the standout was the Pizza al Tartufo Olio, a white pizza with truffle oil and arugula. Their sweet tomato sauce is made with San Marzano tomatoes and their mozzarella and ricotta is made in-house! In case you were worried, Pizza da Solo has separate kitchen facilities from Prime Grill and Solo, as well as a separate mashgiach. All the dairy used is cholov yisroel.
Ever heard of salad pizza? It’s one of my absolute favorites, and their take includes brie cheese, apples, walnuts, balsamic vinegar over a foccacia pizza. They also have a smoked salmon pizza and a piccante pizza, made with ricotta, mozzarella, jalapenos and cherry tomatoes. Not quite so adventurous? Fear not they have classic margherita pizza and marinara pizza too.
Single Jewish ladies in midtown: you should get yourselves over for some pizza ASAP – during the time I was there the clientele was almost exclusively Jewish men. But maximize your time in line, because even while the place is popular, the wait wasn’t oppressive – the pizza took just 5-10 minutes on average. I’ve waited much longer for a latte at Starbucks.
Overheard from the men next to me? “This is going to be such a hotspot for lunch!” My thoughts exactly.