Don’t swirl it with a fork, instead, cut a slice and take a big bite. A pizza of a different kind, with cooked spaghetti as base, topped with basil pesto, fresh mozzarella and roasted tomatoes. A foolproof combination of ingredients that makes every bite of this spaghetti pizza quite mouthful!
Back in US, we had a Friday evening ritual that included a cheese platter, merlot or pinot noir followed by homemade pizza. The cheese platter was never exotic but we always had some fresh mozzarella with lemon pepper dipping, Arvind’s favorite! Out here, none of that happened for a long time until we visited Foodhall, my currently preferred gourmet store. We went straight to the freezer section and almost squealed with joy on seeing a box of fresh mozzarella. The wine collection was equally good and we re-lived our Friday evening after a long gap. One thing that was missing though, was the homemade pizza.
Last month, when Foodhall announced Italian festival, I just knew exactly what to prepare to showcase their lovely ingredients. A pasta-pizza combination that I once saw in one of Rachel Khoo’s episode! Loved the idea. Since I had to do the entire thing on stovetop, getting the perfect disc shape and flipping it was a little tricky. Other than that, it’s quite an effortless dish. Treat the spaghetti pizza base as an empty canvas and go wild with the toppings.
Not that I don’t miss my homemade yeast dough pizza but until I get back to that, we have a fun pizza to include in our Friday evening ritual.
for basil pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup walnut, roughly chopped
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
for roasted tomatoes
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon dry herbs of your choice, I used herbs provence
- olive oil
for cooked pasta
- 500 g dried spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons roasted tomato pesto, optional
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 large eggs
- fresh mozzarella, or any other melted cheese
- few basil leaves for garnish
- parmesan cheese for garnish
- Boil enough water to cook the spaghetti. Once done, pour couple tablespoons salt and drop the dried spaghetti. Let it cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.
- Save 1 cup of the pasta water from the saucepan and drain the cooked spaghetti in a bowl. Add roasted tomato pesto and parsley to the spaghetti and give it a mix. Sprinkle little bit of pasta water, if it gets dry. Crack eggs into it and mix once again.
- Heat a non-stick pan and pour a little bit of oil in it. Now, drop the pasta to the pan and spread it evenly. Press it firmly on top using a spatula and let it cook in medium heat for a few minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. At this point, you could add your toppings and put it in the oven for a few minutes. Or you could flip it using a big spatula, which was quite difficult. The safest way of flipping it was to put a plate on top of the pan and flip the pan upside down to drop spaghetti pizza on the plate. Then, add a little bit more oil to the pan and slide the spaghetti pizza back to crisp the other side.
- To make the roasted tomatoes, heat a pan that’s large enough to hold the tomatoes in one layer. Scatter the cherry tomatoes, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with herb, salt and give it a toss to mix it all together. Reduce the heat to minimum and cook for about 10 minutes, tossing couple of times in between.
- For the basil pesto, put everything in a blender except oil and give it a mix. Once it’s combined to a coarse paste, pour oil along with 2 tablespoon pasta water and give it another mix.
- To prepare the final dish, put the spaghetti pizza on an oven/microwave proof serving plate. Spread pesto on the top followed by fresh mozzarella slices and finally, scatter the roasted tomatoes. Either microwave it for a couple of seconds to melt the cheese or broil it in an oven until the cheese melts.
- Scatter some fresh basil leaves and shave some parmesan cheese on top. Serve warm.