Pizza pandemonium

Pizza has recently been a prime topic of political debate! It seems to have started when the Labour Party’s Leader and new Deputy Leader revealed that they chatted about pizza toppings, with the Leader disclosing that he doesn’t like pineapple on pizza because he thinks it makes the base go soggy. Madam Deputy Leader agreed and quipped that the Prime Minister “likes pineapple on everything”!

Not to be outdone, the Bill English waded into the pizza debate with a culinary post on his facebook page saying, “Cooked dinner for the family last night – like if you agree with tinned spaghetti on pizza!” At the time of writing his pizza post – complete with photos of spaghetti pizza adorned with pineapple – had 10,579 likes, 612 shares, 2,259 comments!

The story went global with US TV reporting on our Prime Minister’s pizza preferences. But in the pizza pandemonium, to our knowledge, the most critical question was never asked – what does the PM’s family think about spaghetti pizza? Given politicians care so much about the family, it is surprising that the matter was not raised during Question Time in the House!

From the response to the PM’s pizza post, since there are clearly lots of people who like spaghetti – and pineapple – as toppings, we thought we would add some of the suggestions that have been sent in by readers over the years.

• Our favourite pizza topping is salami – especially pepperoni – but since it can be a bit expensive when the budget is tight, we ask our supermarket deli for off cuts at a frugal price. It works for chopped bacon and ham ends too.

• In season our fig tree is laden, so we cover pizza bases with our favourite pizza sauce, and top it with sliced figs, tomatoes and feta cheese – sprinkled with black pepper and thyme.

• To get our children to eat veggies, we add them to our pizza – on top of the sauce, we sprinkle finely chopped onion, followed by shredded cabbage, grated carrots, sliced tomatoes, topped with cheese and garnished with chopped parsley.

Other readers’ topping suggestions include:

• Finely sliced sausage, or various types of wurst.

• Anchovies, salmon, tuna, sardines, cheap crabmeat or surimi.

• Finely chopped mussels, plus leftover cooked veggies mixed with a raw egg.

• Ham, cheese – and of course pineapple – sprinkled with finely chopped red or green pepper.

PB from Greymouth writes, “I make my pizzas using scone dough. Make as usual (no sugar) roll out as thin as possible and cut into rounds. Put tomato paste on top and cheese. Sometimes I use tinned spaghetti then cheese. Any topping you like – ham, onions, sausage anything you have in. The kids love choosing their own.”

Anneke has this tip about making pizza dough. “I use the bread maker. Put your favourite toppings on the pizza base and cook it in the oven for 30 min on med/high. On Fridays I use leftovers from the previous night or whatever is in the fridge. This is a great way to use up leftover food, eg meatballs, crab meat or leftover cheese pasta.”

A reader recommends this recipe for a crustless pizza. “I saw this on the tellie. We use it when we need to whip something up for the kids fast but I don’t have time to make the base. All you need is an egg, 2/3 cup of flour, a cup of milk, and a cup of grated cheese. Beat the egg and add the flour and the milk to make a smooth batter. Mix in half of the cheese into the batter, then pour it into a round oven proof pie dish about 200mm in diameter. Bake this for about 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 200C. Once cooked, remove it from the oven and add the remaining cheese and the toppings of your choice. Return it to the oven and cook for another five minutes or so. That’s it. Simple as!”

Are you a tinned spaghetti pizza person? Do you think pineapple makes pizza go soggy? What’s your favourite pizza recipe or topping? Share your views and pizza likes and dislikes.