Thursday, June 03, 2010

English Muffin Pizzas

When I was a kid, one of my favorite lunches was mini pizzas. Mom would pop one or two frozen hockey pucks in the toaster oven and in a few minutes I had what I thought was a crispy, cheesy treat. I can still conjure up the flavor if I reminisce hard enough. Then my Aunt Stasia (she was quite the culinary instigator in our family) introduced us to English muffin pizzas: nooks and crannies topped with jarred pizza or pasta sauce (Ragu was pretty much all we had available back in the day) and some bits of Mozzarella cheese, baked until gooey in the toaster oven. Mom perfected the recipe by pre-toasting the muffins slightly so there was no pocket of soggy dough in the center of the pizza.

I mistakenly put a regular toaster on our wedding registry before realizing a toaster oven would be more versatile. We lived with the Cuisinart toaster that my dad bought us for 9.5 years before the thing died and we were able to purchase a shiny new oven that would occupy the same space on top of our microwave (have I mentioned that our kitchen is tiny?) The first thing that came to mind for me was, "now we can make English muffin pizzas!" As if we couldn't have used our regular oven for the same task.

With half a jar of Mid's meatless pasta sauce in the fridge and a new pack of muffins in the pantry, I requested that Mr Minx make the mini pizzas for dinner one night. I came home to find him preparing them on a cookie sheet for the big oven. Sigh.


They were good, but I think they would have been better in the toaster oven. Which we've owned for several months now and have yet to use it for anything but toast.

English Muffin Pizzas

For each pizza:
one English muffin, split and lightly toasted
2-3 tablespoons jarred or homemade tomato pasta or pizza sauce, to taste
4-6 slices pepperoni, to taste (optional)
2-3 tablespoons shredded Mozzarella cheese, to taste
other toppings: sliced olives, thin slices of mushroom or onion, chopped scallions, ham, etc. according to your personal whims

Preheat oven to 400F. Place muffin on a baking sheet, or if making in a toaster oven, on a piece of foil to catch any cheesy dribbles. Top with sauce, pepperoni, cheese, and any other toppings you'd like. Bake until cheese starts to brown and get bubbly, about 10-12 minutes.