Many people – myself prime amongst them – would tell you that I am not the perfect human being. I have many foibles, many of them culinary. Mainly manifested in a weakness for cheese, a love of gin and the pretensity for rubbish food when hungover; the other thing I cannot resist is pizza.
Yes, whilst this is eminently judge-able and many a foodie will doubtlessly scoff, I love pizza and I don’t care what you think. There’s something about the soft, melted cheese, the thin (preferably slightly crunchy) base, tomato layer and then the topping (salami is the king topping – that’s just a fact) that just makes me smile. Often times a food more of convenience [READ: Laziness], the pizza is a treat; be it from the supermarket, takeaway or (best of all) homemade there is nothing that is quite so satisfying. Sure it’s not exactly part of ‘Healthy 101’, but no one can be good all the time, can they?
But there’s a little twist in this tale. A short cut for home-made pizza that I like to call Fake Pizza.
Whilst I’ve made pizza from scratch many times, it does take a while and if you need dinner in a hurry then you’re more likely to go to the shop, or call for a takeaway. This is where this little cheat comes in – you use puff pastry.
OK, so by using pastry it’s not really a pizza, but they look sort of similar and it both smells and tastes delicious. Next time you’re not going to make it from scratch, don’t reach for the Domino’s menu, go for the pastry.
This is an original recipe for The Usual Saucepans, and whilst it’s for a pepper and salami pizza, the basic principle works across many different flavours. I also used shop-bought puff pastry – life is too short for making puff pastry, and in this case it would rather defeat the purpose of a quick dinner. It makes dinner for two.
1/2 a packet of puff pastry
1 small red onion
1 red pepper
1 ball of Mozzarella
6 slices of salami
4 tbsp pest
1 tbsp olive oil
Turn the oven on to heat up – 190º is about right – and finely slice both the onion and pepper into long, thin strips. Heat the oil up in a frying pan, then soften the onions before adding in the peppers to slightly soften them as well.
Cut the pastry into four squares, then score a smaller square onto each, leaving about 2cm round each edge. Take a spoonful of pesto and spread it over the middle of the square (inside the scored lines, so it is framed) then add the pepper and onion mix in on top. Cut the salami and mozzarella into pieces then layer those over the top – ensuring the cheese goes on last, so as to melt over everything.
Place on a baking sheet – or better still, a baking stone if you have one – and put in the centre of the oven for about 18-20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the pastry is golden. Serve with a salad and a drink!