Saturday, March 21, 2015

Roti or Naan Bread Pizzas: Fast & Fun!

My son preparing his "Pizza Roberto" for the oven! 

Frozen pizza, with very few exceptions, is fairly terrible. We buy it, when we do, usually because it is fast and easy. When it is on sale it can be affordable, but it is often not. Moreover, it is often made with inferior toppings and sauces that, especially after freezing, just don't taste that good.

While it is not entirely true, many feel that making a pizza from scratch is simply too daunting, especially after a day of work.

But today we are going to do a fast and very fun alternative that uses any fresh toppings of your choosing and that can involve the whole family. This is Roti or Naan bread personal sized pizzas.

Roti or Naan is Indian style flat bread. This is readily available, with the wonderful rise of multiculturalism, in many standard grocery stores or can be sought out in specialty ones.

While store bought roti or naan does not hold up to homemade, of course, it makes an excellent thin style pizza crust.

I like to use Pesto Sauce as a pizza sauce, and if you do you do not need to oil the bread. But if you are using a traditional pizza sauce, passata  or tomato sauce, you should brush on about a half teaspoon of olive oil over the side of the bread you are going to top. If  using the thicker naan, brush the edge of the bread as well.

Then top with your sauce, toppings and cheese or cheeses of choice. I like to spread a nice layer of pesto, top it with spicy soppressata (a type of Italian salami), anchovies,  some unpitted black olives and feta cheese.

Pictured here is a roti pizza with pesto, pepperoni, green olives, mushrooms and topped with mozzarella. But the options are endless. Top with whatever you like. It is really great to use seasonal vegetables, sliced thinly and brushed with oil as toppings. Zucchini for example!

One brand of roti or naan bread
The best part is that it is a great way to involve kids or friends in the making of the dinner. As long as you have a variety of toppings to chose from, everyone can make something they like.

Once you have assembled your pizza, place it directly on the oven rack and place the rack in the middle. If you can cook convection preheat to 375 degrees and cook until the roti or naan is golden brown (or, if you like, a slightly darker brown for a well done, crispy crust) and the cheese nicely melted.For the roti this will take about  3-5 minutes. The slightly thicker naan will take 5-7 minutes.

If you do not have a convection option on your oven, preheat conventional to 400 degrees. Either option, monitor the pizzas closely. Individual appliances really do vary. There is a world of difference between golden brown and black and burnt! After the first couple of pizzas, you will know your oven. As always, practice will make perfect.

So next time you want some fast, fun and actually delicious pizza, with the toppings you want, try this! And watch for a future blog on BBQed pizza!

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