Spaghetti Pizza

This is not, as you might fear, spaghetti on top of pizza. It’s spaghetti turned into a pizza–sort of. There is no bready crust. The spaghetti itself forms the crust. The idea comes from a cooking show my son Jude co-produced in Los Angeles a few years ago. I didn’t catch the details, but when I improvised it from what I remember it came out good enough to share.

This is one of the rare dishes in which you should cook the pasta a bit beyond al dente. We want it to stick together a bit. It also helps to use thin spaghetti.

Pizza di maccheroni

  • Sauce:
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled Italian tomatoes, juice reserved
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic (or more, if you love garlic)
  • 6-10 leaves fresh basil, chopped finely
  • 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped finely
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1 lb. thin string pasta (vermicelli or angel hair)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cups shredded Romano cheese

1. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and process to a rough puree. Pour it into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir every couple of minutes.

2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil with the tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 6-7 minutes, until it’s sticky. Drain the pasta well and allow to cool until it’s no longer steaming.

3. Dump the pasta into a large bowl. Add the mozzarella and 3/4 cup of the sauce. Toss to distribute the cheese thoroughly through the pasta.

4. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat (the degree of heat is critical), heat a half-tablespoon of olive oil until aromatic. Add half of the pasta, stirring it with a kitchen fork to get a uniform thickness (about three quarters of an inch thick). Then leave it alone and cook until the bottom browns a little.

5. With a spatula (or a deft flick of the wrist, if you can manage that) turn the pasta over like a pancake. Spoon just enough of the sauce over the top that it doesn’t sink through to the bottom. Brown the bottom side. Slide onto a pizza pan or a large platter.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the second half of the pasta.

7. Spoon a little more of the sauce over the tops of the two spaghetti pizzas, and top with the Romano cheese. Cut into wedges and serve with forks. (You might be able to pick it up with your fingers, but you might not.)

Serves 8 appetizers or 4 entrees.

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