Pizza: leftovers velcro

TagizzaIf you think pizza and pasta are strictly Italian fare, you’ve never eaten at our house. We treat both starchy staples as blank canvases upon which to paint all manner of culinary concoctions.

A simple pizza dough is relatively quick and easy to make and absolutely begs to be dressed up with whatever you’ve got. Chez nous, leftovers very often end up as pizza toppings. We save the last dribs and drabs of order-in curry or Chinese; fruits and vegetables pushing the ends of their edible lives; whatever we didn’t finish the night before. Most recently, our leftover tagines — yes, two separate tagines married as one, lamb and beef forever locked in delicious matrimony — found themselves laid bare and roasted atop a sea of dough. And very good it was indeed. Though I couldn’t help but think, gee this would have been good as a pasta sauce.

We used to order from one Chinese restaurant that did really excellent fake meats; delicate, crisp fried balls of mystery gluten puffs that were satisfyingly chicken-like. In order to preserve this delicate texture through the rigors of delivery, each element of the dish was packaged separately: The crispy puffs, the stir-fried vegetables, and a nice container of sauce. There was always twice as much sauce as you ever needed, and the remaining halves invariably ended up on a pizza. Of particular interest was the lemon sauce from lemon chicken, a total guailoh dish. But that sweet-tart lemon sauce would melt down to a glaze on the pizza dough, developing heavenly caramelized waves of sauce crashing on the shores of beachy pizza crust.

Leftover mutter paneer is another fave, as are the tamarind and cilantro chutneys that come with pakora. Peanut sauce from a local Thai joint’s param pak, ideal. Call it fusion if you must. I call it delicious, sustainable food.

  • Ha. Here every thing left over gets turned into burritos or fried rice I think. If I stick it in a tortilla and top with beans and cheese, the kids will eat it. RYC: Just cook up the red peppers for chermoulah. They’re actually my favorite. Mmm… Had some for lunch today next to some leftover pasta and then it all got swirled together. Heavenly.

  • Grills night out

    Mom had a craving for pizza, but we wanted to stick around the house to be with Dad. It was way too hot to turn on the oven, so we considered the grill. Cooks Illustrated had a grilled pizza recipe that sounded pretty good (and less elaborate th…

  • Thai chili sauce is one of the best pizza sauces ever (just add julienned carrots and peanuts), and I made this fab tomato cream curry that turned into the best pizza ever a day or two later. You are not the only one who would give the Italians a heart attack if they knew we were calling it ‘pizza.’

  • You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten Zante’s Indian pizza! But I suppose you could make your own with pizza dough and takeout leftovers….