A friend of mine recently sent me a picture of a tart she’d made from The Green Roasting Tin cookbook - it looked beautiful and I immediately questioned why I hadn’t made any of the tarts from the Roasting Tin cookbooks I own.
This Quick Meatball Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella is a spectacular tart (to me, puff pastry makes it a tart, not a pizza) and the only one I’ve made to date that I believe truly feeds four people. Every time I top and bake a Jus-Rol pastry sheet I have a small battle with myself when it comes out of the oven. I know I should eat one quarter with a side of salad or veg and have leftovers for lunch the next day but it never happens. Well, until this pizza-tart. We like big portions but a quarter of this tart is definitely enough (with sides of course).
I make a slightly different pizza sauce than the one listed in the book as I find that tinned, chopped tomatoes can be watery if they haven’t been cooked (I've put the original recipe in the notes). If you buy really good quality tinned tomatoes (I mean the fancy Italian ones that cost at least £1 a tin) it’ll be fine but I hardly ever do. The tomatoes I buy are decent enough but on their own they're too bland to stand in as a pizza sauce (I discovered this the hard way when making Anna Jones’ Cauliflower Pizza). Instead, I make my own sauce just after I’ve taken the pastry out of the fridge to warm up for 10 minutes or so before cooking. I realise that this extra step takes away the ‘quick’ aspect of the recipe but not only does it make the house smell heavenly, it stops the tart from becoming waterlogged and it yields leftovers, which can be used to top pitta bread or bagels. Just add cheese, pop under the grill and you have a great lunch.
I should mention that I mostly use pre-made meatballs. I know. It doesn’t take long to make them but Ocado sells 24 M&S Aberdeen Angus mini meatballs as part of their 3 for £10 range and I can’t resist them.
Whatever you choose, chopped tomatoes or pizza sauce, home-made or lazy meatballs, you really can’t go wrong with this recipe. The pastry struggles to contain the ingredients and one side always seems to collapse, the mozzarella releases water and the meatballs run amok, but I like that it’s haphazard and rustic. We usually have garlic pitta bread and salad on the side and the tart tastes great warm or at room temperature, making it really good for picnics too.
Original pizza sauce recipe: Mix 3 tablespoons of chopped tomatoes with 1 chopped clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon of nigella seeds and ½ teaspoon of sea salt.
If you don’t have a food processor for the meatballs, finely chop the shallot and mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.
The Quick Roasting Tin (affiliate link) by Rukmini Iyer
- 320g ready-rolled puff pastry sheet (I use Jus-Rol)
Pizza sauce (see intro and notes)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
- handful of fresh basil, leaves and stalks sliced
- salt and black pepper
- 400g minced beef, lamb or pork
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp nigella seeds
- 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 100g broccoli florets
- 150g mozzarella, torn
- ½ tsp nigella seeds
- small handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)
- Pizza base: Take a 320g puff pastry sheet out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before cooking.
- Pizza sauce: Place a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 3 chopped cloves of garlic. Fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes then add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g) and a handful of sliced basil leaves and stalks (I use frozen basil). Turn the heat up and let the sauce bubble furiously for around 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated and you have a thick, concentrated sauce. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
- Meatballs: Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Add 400g of minced beef, lamb or pork, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, 1 peeled and roughly chopped shallot and 1 teaspoon of nigella seeds into a food processor and blitz until the ingredients have combined. Wet your hands and roll the minced meat into 18 meatballs.
- Pizza base: Unroll the pastry sheet onto a baking tray, leaving the pastry on the greaseproof paper that it came wrapped in. Score a 1cm border around the edge of the pastry using a sharp knife but try not to cut through the pastry.
- Toppings: Spread half of the pizza sauce over the puff pastry (store the leftover sauce in the fridge for up to 48 hours) and top with 100g of halved cherry tomatoes, 100g of broccoli florets, 150g of torn mozzarella and the meatballs. Scatter over ½ teaspoon of nigella seeds. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pizza is golden brown and the meatballs are cooked all the way through. Scatter with basil (optional) and serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 48 hours.