Attempting A Pastizza
I made this dish because of a reader’s comments on my Review of Rachel Ray’s book, “Just in Time.” (Hi Natalie!) It was one of the recipes in the book that really stood out for me so I thought I would try a version of it. The idea of the dish is to take pasta, coat it in some flavorful oil, make a crust out of it and fill it with cheese. Then you bake it and eat it like pizza.
I ended up with this baked dish:
When I pulled this out of the oven I was really hopeful. The cheese was melted beautifully, the pasta was perfectly baked, and I could see lots of spice and flavors poking out. I cut two big slices for me and Betsy and we sat down and had our first bite. After that bite, we both looked at each other…
That’s the sound of disappointment. The dish just didn’t quite do it for me. I want to go through the process I used though and if anyone has any tips or notices any errors, I’m all ears.
Before I give my recipe though, I should note a few things I changed from the original which possibly led to disaster:
– I didn’t use pancetta. I can see how this could lend some needed flavor.
– I used whole wheat pasta instead of normal. I don’t think that hurt it.
– I didn’t use red pepper flakes.
– I added to the dish a whole red pepper for flavor and sun-dried tomatoes mixed in with the ricotta.
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Also get a large pot of salted water simmering and chop all the ingredients.
2) Cook pastas according to package and sautee peppers and garlic for a few minutes in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.
3) Add pasta to pan with veggies. If it’s dry, add a drizzle of oil.
4) In a bowl, whisk together your eggs and cream and then pour that mixture into this pan. Stir quickly to combine. I tried to kind of burrow out the center to resemble a “crust” on a pizza. Then into the oven for 5 minutes.
5) Then put on a layer of all your ricotta, sprinkle your mozzarella and parm on top and hit it with plenty of pepper and, salt and any extra parsley you have.
6) Bake this for 10-12 minutes and you will be all set. Let it sit for a few minutes before cutting into it or your ricotta will just run all over the place. Slice and serve.
Ok. I started by preheating my oven to 425, putting a large pot of salted water on to boil, and prepping all of my ingredients. I mixed my ricotta with half of the chopped parsley and the sun-dried tomatoes and grated my cheese.
So these are the basics of the dish:
Then I got out my trusty skillet and sautéed the peppers and garlic in the olive oil.
When they were about done, I tossed in all of my pasta and cooked it in the water for 3-5 minutes. Rachel says three minutes exactly, but I found I needed to give mine another minute. You want the pasta flexible but still with some bite to it. Definitely undercooked. It will finish cooking in the oven.
Then toss all of your pasta in the pan and stir it well to combine with the veggies and oil.
In a bowl, whisk together your eggs and cream and then pour that mixture into this pan. Stir quickly to combine. I tried to kind of burrow out the center to resemble a “crust” on a pizza. Then into the oven for 5 minutes. No more. No less. You’ll pull out something similar to this:
Then put on a layer of all your ricotta, sprinkle your mozzarella and parm on top and hit it with plenty of pepper and, salt and any extra parsley you have.
Bake this for 10-12 minutes and you will be all set. Let it sit for a few minutes before cutting into it or your ricotta will just run all over the place. You’ll end up with slices like this:
I’m not sure if it was my changes to the recipe or that it just wasn’t to my liking, but this was definitely not my favorite dish.
Ultimately, I think this was my problem with it: It was more work than either pasta or pizza and I would rather eat either of them apart then try to combine them in some weird amalgam dish.
I’m sure that there are tons of people that love this dish and if any of those people want to comment and give me some pointers, I’m all ears, but I’m just not sure that this dish delivered.