I first learned about “pasta pizza” from Leslie Glover, one of Gourmet’s test cooks, who developed it for “In Short Order.” It is ridiculously simple and so tasty. Anytime you make angel hair pasta, just cook double the amount you need. The leftover pasta, recast as the star of this recipe, can provide you with the base for dinner the next night. To make your “pizza,” press the pasta into a round in a nonstick pan and crisp it on both sides to form a “crust.” Then top it off with anything you have kicking around in the fridge, including leftover meats and vegetables. Just glue down whatever it is with some cheese. This dish can be dressed up for guests (artichoke hearts, olives, shrimp) or dressed down for kids (plain, with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano). If you don’t want to make a tomato sauce from scratch, use your favorite bottled variety. Serve with Summer Salad (Sara Moulton Cooks At Home, page 58) or a simple tossed green salad.
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer
Kosher salt to taste
1/4 pound capellini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small green bell pepper, sliced into thin rings
1/2 cup Quick Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, or your favorite store-bought tomato sauce
1/4 pound Italian fontina cheese, thinly sliced
2 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
Fresh basil sprigs for garnish
- Bring a large kettle of salted water to a boil. Add the capellini and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well. Heat the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the bell pepper and cook 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the capellini to the skillet, distributing evenly and pressing down hard. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, until the bottom is golden, about 25 minutes. Invert the “crust” and cook the other side, covered, for 10 minutes longer.
- Spread the tomato sauce over the “crust,” leaving a 1/2-inch border. Arrange the fontina on top, overlapping the slices, and top with the bell pepper rings and prosciutto. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and garnish with the basil sprigs.
- Quick Tomato Sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 small onion, finely chopped, and 2 garlic cloves, minced. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Empty one 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, including juice into a large bowl and use your hands or a fork to crush. Add the crushed tomatoes and juices to the saucepan. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste; simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves and 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes.