Pasta alla pizza is pizza pasta, made with any pasta shape you favour and dressed with pizza-flavoured toppings: mozzarella, tomato purée and pepperoni.
A tale of empty fridge
This is an every time winner, a crowd pleaser and unfailing success. What can you expect if you combine two of the most beloved dishes ever, pasta and pizza? The only thing to beat this would be a pizza dressed with spaghetti Bolognese.
Joking aside, this is a dish that came to me in a desperation of an empty fridge. By the end of the week, as I’m sure everyone can sympathise, you run out of options. The vegetable drawer is empty bar a wilted half-bunch of spring onions, and your brain even more devoid of ideas.
That’s how the best dishes come about, to tell the truth.
What’s so pizza about this pasta?
Be forewarned: this isn’t an authentic Neapolitan masterpiece. It’s more spag bol than tagliatelle al ragù. The pizza elements are: slices of pepperoni, tomato purée out of a tube and grated mozzarella that strings through the pasta just like al telefono.
But, if I say so myself, the result is more than the sum of its parts.
The bog-ordinary (though always buy decent quality) tomato purée in a sensible quantity gives an impression of a proper tomato sauce. The crisp pepperoni breaks into shards amongst the pasta strands and provides awesome texture, and the telefono cord (who even knows what I’m talking about?) of mozzarella strands is just good fun.
What type of pasta?
Any type is good, absolutely any old shape, be it long spaghetti or fat penne.
I personally prefer long strands in this dish because the mozzarella ‘telefono’ stretch and loop alongside them, thus giving the expression ‘to string along’ a fresh new meaning.
But personal preference, and especially the cupboard contents are king here.
How to cook pasta alla pizza?
Depending on how long your pasta packet says to cook it, that’s how long the whole process is going to take.
Put a pot of salty water on and get a large frying pan. Place the pepperoni slices in the cold pan because, like bacon, it needs to gradually crispen and caramelise.
Besides, by the time the water comes to the boil, the pepperoni will have long been ready and off the pan, onto paper towels. But of course the nice rendered fat stays in the pan to flavour pasta.
To make the simplest of sauces, you just need to add the tomato purée to the fat in the pan, whisk it in with perhaps a pinch of dried oregano, and dilute with a ladleful of the pasta cooking water which as every Italian knows, sauces up a sauce beautifully.
When the pasta is ready, you can either scoop it out of the boiling water straight into the sauce, or drain it first and then dump in. Reserving some cooking liquid might be prudent in the latter case.
Lots of freshly ground black pepper will be needed for seasoning, the crumbled cooked pepperoni and finally the mozzarella, to melt in the warm pasta and form strings. That’s all, bar some grated Parmesan if you like, because why not.
I’ll tell you that writing about it now has made me crave it so much, I think that’s what I’ll have for supper today!
More easy pasta recipes
Bucatini pasta with creamy Alfredo sauce, peas and spinach. Bucatini is thick spaghetti-like pasta shape and it goes well with Alfredo sauce, a sprinkling of Parmesan and a handful of peas.
Pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil is the perfect summer pasta. Pappardelle with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil and lots of Parmesan, ready in minutes and better than a cooked tomato sauce.
Pasta with asparagus and lemon is a light and simple dish. Lemon asparagus pasta recipe, ready in 10 minutes or however long your pasta cooks for. This recipe uses calamarata pasta combined with asparagus in a lemon and butter sauce.
More pizza recipes
The genuine article: pizza made from scratch but with minimum effort. No-knead dough fermenting over three days produces sublime results. Best baked on a stone or steel!
Pizza bianca recipe, Roman flat bread with topping of just olive oil and salt flakes. Pizza bianca is the traditional Roman street food, sometimes stuffed with prosciutto and cheese.
Tomato and cheese scaccia, Sicilian flatbread filled and folded, is as much fun to make as delicious it is to eat. See the accompanying video showing how to fold thinly rolled out pizza dough.