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Pizza is very old, and not even the Italians can lay claim to it with absolute certainty. The word "pizza" appeared at the end of the first millennium, and it has a clear lexical relationship with pitta and with pissaladière, or parathas and naan. Origins aside, what we can be certain of, is that the humble piece of dough and whatever graces its base, is one of those quintessential, hard to disappoint things to eat. I’m not sure what the Australian stats are but our USA friends chug back on 350 slices per second.  Impressive.

The key thing to a good pizza is a blistering hot oven; the sort of eyebrow singing, ready for Hansel and Gretel kind of hotness. So for this recipe, turn the oven dial all the way, turn your kitchen into a sauna and get ready for deliciousness.

There are more meatballs than pizza here but I like to think the larger quantity makes this recipe the gift that keeps on giving; polpette being perfect in a sandwich, with pasta, or eaten on their own in all their meaty glory. By using a good quality store bought pizza base, this is one easy dinner/lunch/brunch/hungry afterthought.

Pork polpette pizza with fennel and mint salad

Ingredients

Meatballs

500g pork mince

2 eshcallot finely chopped

A generous pinch ground fennel

A generous pinch dried mint

A generous pinch chilli flakes

50g sourdough breadcrumbs

1 egg

Salt and pepper to season

Sauce

2 tins chopped tomatoes

250g cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to season

1 1/2 cups white wine

Brown sugar to taste

Fennel salad

1 head of fennel, finely sliced (use a mandolin, its easier)

1/4 cup mint leaves, coarsely torn

1/4  cup flat leave parsley, coarsely torn

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to season

Shaved parmesan to taste

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 250C

To make the meatballs, combine all ingredients in a bowl and massage until thoroughly combined. Roll into walnut sized meatballs and set aside.

Add all sauce ingredients to a high-sided fry pan, place over a low heat and stir to combine. Once warmed through, add the meatballs and allow to gently cook for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on your sauce and if it is cooking down too much, add additional chopped tinned tomatoes or more wine. Continue to taste your sauce, the sweetness will vary depending on the ripeness of your tomatoes and add brown sugar to taste if it tastes too tart. 

Smear the tomato sauce over the pizza base and top with meatballs. Be careful not to laden the pizza too heavily or the dough won’t cook properly and will be soggy in the middle. Cook for ten – twenty minutes. Continue to check on your base and when crisp remove from the oven. The cooking time is going to vary depending on the thickness of your base.

While the pizza is cooking, prepare the salad by tossing all the ingredients in a bowl. Serve the pizza topped with salad and shaved Parmesan if using.