Leftover Bolognese Pizza

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

University is supposed to be when you learn to tackle difficult problems, meet exciting people and have adventures. I started every other weekend on the Virgin West Coast from Manchester to London, reading ‘Heat’ and eating a brie wrap from O’Brien’s in Piccadilly.  I had to visit the boyfriend I’d stumbled across at 17 and sort of ended up with. He reminded me to come. He couldn’t come up, of course. Too busy. He and I would spend the weekend walking around the shops, I’d study at the desk in the Volkswagen garage where he worked and, sometimes, I’d even go to my family.

My ex didn’t like how my parents and I ate. We’d go to a fab local, family Italian for pizza instead. I’d watch the pizza chef shape the dough, somehow never managing to get his fingers stuck or pull holes in the dough. It was there that his faddy eating gave me a gift: I learnt about Bolognese pizza.

I don’t know if this recipe is authentically Italian; I know it’s a perfect home for your leftover Bolognese. If you can be bothered to cook the mushrooms then do, it’s heaven. I’d imagine that, using the right ingredients, this pizza is easily adaptable to a vegan diet.

The restaurant has long since closed, along with the Sicilian café where I learnt to adore arancini, how to empty a slop bucket and the rules of scopa. Thankfully I’ve not seen that ex in 16 years, almost to the day, now I come to think of it. Some things haven’t changed.  I spend every other weekend packing up and driving to my parent’s house, so my children can be with their dad. I’m still packing up and tidying up and buggering off for a weekend. But when I can, a pizza feast with every buggering daft leftover, plenty of wine and beer, daft kids and best friends clears out my fridge and warms my heart.

 

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

Ann Storr
Got two spoonfuls of leftover bolgonese? Use this topping to make a zero-food waste pizza. Pizza base based on Rose Prince. 
The time this takes is anything from overnight -  20 minutes - if you want to make your own dough, you're looking at around 8 -24 hours. Pre-made base? 20 minutes. The choice is yours.
Servings 1 pizza

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons leftover bolognese this can be a traditional, vegan, anything
  • 50 grams Parmesan/Italian hard cheese
  • 50 grams mushrooms
  • oil to cook mushrooms
  • 1 sprig each thyme and rosemary (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • white wine a splash (optional)
  • Optional Chilli flakes

Pizza base

  • 1 bought base OR
  • 540 grams plain flour + more for dusting
  • 5 grams yeast if you're using those little sachets and will otherwise bin the 2 grams, just use it all
  • 10 grams salt
  • 250 ml milk (full fat, preferably)
  • 150 ml water
  • polenta or more flour, for dusting baking sheets

Tools

  • Scales
  • Baking tray/pizza stone if you have one (I don't)
  • Cheese grater

If making pizza dough

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Clean tea towel

If cooking mushrooms

  • Frying pan
  • Measuring jug
  • Knife

Instructions
 

If making pizza dough from scratch, the day/8 hours before ...

  • Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the milk and water. Combine.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured counter. Shape the dough into a round.
  • Clean the mixing bowl with a dough scraper and pour in a little oil. Return the dough to the bowl and turn around in the oil a couple of times so that the dough is covered. Take your clean tea towel and cover.
  • You can either leave the dough to rise in your fridge for up to 24 hours or for about 6 hours; if the dough reaches double size more quickly than you like, just gently deflate it ("knock it back") and return to the bowl.

Cooking the mushrooms (these can be cooked ahead and left to one side)

  • Slice the mushrooms and turn the pan to about medium. Pour in a few tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms. Stir every couple of minutes to evaporate all water. Season well.
  • When the mushrooms are nearing done, crush/finely slice the garlic
  • Optional: add in the whole springs of rosemary and thyme and stir around. After a couple of minutes, add in the garlic and stir - don't allow the garlic to burn
  • Optional: if you have some white wine open or in the freezer, add it now and allow to cook off

Rolling out fresh pizza dough

  • When you're ready to eat, turn your oven to full blast. If you like, leave baking sheets in the oven to get nice and hot, which helps to make a crispier base. If making these with little ones/you're new to pizza, don't worry so much (as the burns up my wrists tell ...)
  • Grate the cheese, find the mushrooms and oil
  • Lightly dust your counter with flour. Using a large knife or dough scraper, cut the pizza dough into 4 pieces. Shape each quarter into a ball and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. 
  • Roll out one base at a time (this topping is enough for one pizza only). I allow the dough to fall over the side of the counter as gravity help to stretch the gluten structures
  • Dust a baking sheet with polenta or flour (polenta helps to get a crispier base but isn't essential). 
  • Place the dough on the tray, not minding about holes here and there. If you like, stretch the dough into corners of the tray
  • Spread the bolognese around the dough, using your hands if the dough rips (if your bolognese is v dry, it might -don't worry). Add the mushrooms, dust with cheese. Take the olive oil, use your thumb as a light stopper and drizzle oil over the top - if your sauce is quite dry, be generous with the oil
  • Bake for between 7 & 10 minutes, depending on your pizza base and oven Add chilli flakes if you like (I do)

Leftover bolognese

Leftover bolognese

Leftover Bolognese Sauce

Ragu, or Bolognese, was Monday night supper. After school mum or I would fry up a double pack of Sainsbury’s mince plus one bottle of Ragu sauce. Monday night meant spag bol because it was efficient. Parmesan or cheddar on top. Lots. It fitted in, we ate, it was simple. These days I slowly cook everything, and I learnt from one of my brothers to add a good slug of milk before the tomatoes. Simmer it for hours. Cover it in cheese.

If you’re a Ragu fan, a lentil demon or a slow cooked beef and pork mince cook, when there’s just a couple of spoonfuls leftover it’s tempting to scoop it into the bin/your mouth. Still both wasteful, still both

We’ve talked about this before but it’s worth remembering – carbs and veg have been used to pad out meat for generations. So, make a little extra tomato sauce, stir that little spoonful or two of Bolognese through it and you’re there. This isn’t the fanciest idea in the world, but it’s the price of a tin of tomatoes for dinner for two. And lots of parmesan, or ‘Italian hard cheese’ or cheddar. And never a leftover.

Leftover Bolognese pizza

Leftover Bolognese pizza

Bolognese sauce takes a while to make and is so, so good and strong in flavour that a little can go a long way.
A Neapolitan restaurant at the bottom of Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells, introduced me to this pizza. The restaurant is long gone, but I still make this pizza every couple of months.  For my melty-cheese loathing 9 year old, it’s a favourite.  If it’s not an authentic recipe, well, it’s not the end of the world.
Pizza can be a cracking way to use up those last few leftovers – a slice of ham, a few onions – whatever your topping.  I’m on a pizza hut vegetarian tip these days, all fried red onions, green pepper and sweetcorn.  I know.
This is my favourite recipe for pizza dough, but you could easily use a bought pizza base or roll it back to the ’80s and make french bread pizza (if my darling Italian proto-nieces ever read this, they may dis-own me).
Honestly, making pizza bread takes a few bashes to get right, but if you like pizza and don’t like spending loads of money, it’s worth having a few goes.  Or, you know, don’t if you can’t be arsed.  Just don’t waste your wonderful sauce.

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Bolognese & tomato sauce

Bolognese & tomato sauce

Bolognese sauce takes time to pop and simmer away; or you’ve bought a jar with it pre-made because life is busy and you prefer jarred sauce.  It’s your dinner, not mine!

Whatever type of sauce – if there’s meat, lentils or quorn in there – that food was grown, harvested, packed and picked.

So what are *you* going to do with that handful of leftover bolognese?  May I suggest making a simple tomato sauce and just adding your strong, delicious, bolgonese to it?  Hardly the thrill of the century but not every meal has to be an event.

A tin of tomatoes costs anything from 40p to around a quid (50C – $1.50), depending on your budget and preference.  So 40p could stop you from chucking out perfectly good food.  Nice!

Finely dice an onion, fry it in a little oil, add the tomatoes.  Turn the heat down and let them bubble and pop, gently.  Once the sauce is nice and thick (around 20 minutes), add your leftover bolognese.  Got some rogue mushrooms in the fridge?  In they go.  Some roast cougettes.  Nice.  Bacon- amazing!

Enjoy a meal that is tasty, has saved food waste and cost you very little cash.  Nice!

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Leftover Bolognese wraps

Leftover Bolognese wraps

Bolognese is a traditional English meal, right?  Like chicken korma, sweet & sour pork, anything with any spices ever, English people have been learning/appropriating flavours and meals for forever.  And this was Monday night supper at my house, as a kid.
To get another meal out of your few big spoons of bolognese, just … chuck in some more tomatoes.  Some red or white wine, if you have any sitting around.  Okay it won’t taste the same, but why is that a bad thing?  It’s just a little different, and you’ve not wasted meat.
Seriously.  Just make a plain tomato sauce, add in some bacon if you’ve got committed carnivores to feed/avoid those sad “I feel hard done by” faces.  Or hungry veggies could go for an extra packet of mushrooms.  This way, a 60p tin of tomatoes and an onion (maybe a £2 packet of lardons/£1 packet of mushies) will stretch your bolognese sauce over another meal. Win win.
Make your new sauce and stir the bolognese through at the end, bring back to the boil and simmer for a few minutes to make sure that it’s all hot right through (just so you know: I use way more cheese than this.  I just didn’t want to embarrass myself.  Oh wait …)

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

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