Meatball Pizza (on a Naan Crust)
Not that making pizza dough is such a big deal now that we have Jim Lahey and no-knead and Smitten Kitchen’s detailed schedule for getting homemade pizza on the table at night, but I do want to point out that there are all kinds of other vessels to carry your tomato sauce, cheese, and toppings than traditional pizza dough, like English muffins, French bread bagels, tortillas, polenta, pita, and naan.
And, if you settle on one of those and keep it in your fridge, then homemade pizza becomes less of a special occasion supper and more of a last-ditch, but still delicious, meal to make on a weeknight.
Because of my collaboration with Stonefire, I had naan in the freezer. I selected a whole grain package, pulled out a can of tomatoes and smushed them into sauce (no need to cook–just add a little garlic, salt, and oil), shredded mozzarella (supermarket style, fresh can make the pizza soggy), and some homemade meatballs. Technically, I wouldn’t make meatballs from scratch just for my weeknight naan pizza, but if you have some lying around, use ’em! They don’t take too long to make, to be honest. Or, use sausages or sliced sausage, extra kale or broccoli rabe, any cheeses you have in the cheese drawer.
I’ll be back later this week to share a more authentic use for naan in the next Indian recipe I developed for you guys!
Naan Meatball Pizza
Makes 2 pizzas, easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled
If you have a favorite store-bought tomato sauce, you can use that instead of crushing the whole tomatoes.
2 pieces naan
3 whole tomatoes, with juices, from the can
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
2/3 cup grated mozzarella
6 meatballs, halved (recipe follows)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parm
Chopped fresh parsley, for serving
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Combine the tomatoes, minced garlic, salt, and olive oil in a mini food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste for salt, adding more as needed.
Place the naan on a baking sheet. Spread the centers with the tomatoes, leaving a 1-inch crust all the way around. Sprinkle each pizza with half the cheese and top with half the halved meatballs. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is very melted and the crusts are golden.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the grated parm. Let rest for 2 minutes, then sprinkle with parsley, cut into slices, and serve.
Makes 16 meatballs
To make fresh bread crumbs, remove the crusts from 2 slices of white sandwich bread, and pulse the bread in a food processor.
1 very small yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1⁄4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon ketchup
1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and set it aside.
Make the meatballs: In a small food processor, pulse the onion and garlic together until finely chopped (or grate the onion and mince the garlic by hand).
Transfer the onion-garlic mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the parsley, cheese, both breadcrumbs, the eggs, ketchup, red pepper flakes, salt, and meat. Fold the ingredients together with your hands, making sure not to overly break apart or mush the meat. No worries if the meat and crumbs are not 100 percent perfectly combined.
Roll the meat mixture into 1 1⁄2-inch balls, and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. They can be fairly close together.
Bake the meatballs in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops have browned and they are cooked through. You can make the meatballs up to several days in advance.