Pastelon Pizza

Pastelon Pizza

Okay, folks, we have made it to the half way point and I mean “we” because I couldn’t have made it to challenge #5 without your help.  This is when things are going to start getting dicey.  I am sure it’s going to be a full on food fight from this point on.  Well, the politest most diplomatic food fight of course.  The next challenge is Recipe Remix.

Challenge prompt:  One recipe, 100 variations! We’re challenging each of you to put your own spin on the same recipe. How you do it is up to you. Will you try out some molecular gastronomy techniques? Share a super-secret trick? Or re-envision the dish from a different perspective? You’ll be asked to put your own spin on Pizza. For the purpose of this contest and challenge, we are defining pizza as having a solid base, a sauce and at least one topping.

Little did Foodbuzz know that pizza is a pretty strong topic of contention here in the Rivera home.  Personally, this challenge is perfect for me because it gives me permission to be creative with pizza.  The problem is that I have been virtually banned from making homemade pizza in my own home!  The spousal figure (a.k.a., my husband) is of the mind set that a pizza can only have red sauce, mozzarella cheese, and a plethora of meat toppings.   Because I have been known to make bianca pizzas, use stinky (by his standard, mind you!) cheeses, and too many vegetables, I am no longer allowed to make homemade pizza unless supervised.  Okay, maybe I am being a little dramatic…but I don’t think so!  On the few occasions that I do make pizza at home, Obed, my husband, provides supervision by looking over my shoulder to see what is going on the pizza.  If I put anything “funny” on it, it’s only allowed on one side and he makes sure it stays on my side.

Foodbuzz had no clue that they could be instigating a full on war in the Rivera home.  However, being a person that is gifted in diplomatic relations, I was sure I could come up with something creative yet still familiar to my husband.  I decided to take a traditional Puerto Rican dish of pastelon and turn it into a pizza.

The best way I can explain pastelon is that it’s the Puerto Rican version of lasagna.  In place of noodles, we use fried sweet plantains with layers of  picadillo (ground beef) and cheese.  It is a feast for the eyes and the belly, loved by one and all.

Pastelon

In order to get this pizza going, the first thing I needed was a base.  I have tried many homemade pizza dough recipes but my favorite is Pioneer Woman’s pizza dough.  I know, not surprising given my admiration of all things Pioneer Woman, but when you find something that works, you stick with it.

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.

Pizza

In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with dough hook attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour.

Pizza

Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until forms into a ball.

Pizza

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, toss to coat dough in olive oil, cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel and set in warm place to rise 1 to 2 hours.

Pizza

While the dough rises, you can prepare the ground beef topping or what is called picadillo. Everyone has their own variation for picadillo. This ground beef filling is commonly used as a filling in roadside fried foods or frituras.   It is used to fill pastelillos, alcapurrias, and piononos. You can also serve it with a side of rice, if you like.

To make picadillo, heat a large frying pan with 2 tbs of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute 4 cubes of sofrito and 1/2 of a large Spanish onion until translucent.

Alcapurrias

Add 1 lb of ground beef to the pan and break it up using your spoon.

Pastelon Pizza

Add the seasonings, 1/2 tps of dried oregano, 1/2 tps of Sazon with achiote, 1/2 tps of salt and 1/4 tps of black pepper.

Alcapurria

When the beef browns and you get some juiciness, add 2 bay leaves, 8 olives cut in half, 1/2 cup of raisins, and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.  Combine well and let it simmer for 10 minutes.  Then remove from heat and set aside.

Pastelon Pizza

Because my husband insists that pizza is not pizza without some red sauce, I decided to make my own Puerto Rican version of pizza sauce.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add bacon and fry until crispy.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Pastelon Pizza

Dice 1 medium sized Spanish onion and two mini sweet pepper.

Pastelon Pizza

In the same skillet, over medium high heat, add diced onion, sweet peppers, and 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro.

Pastelon Pizza

Saute the onions and peppers until translucent and slightly browned.

Pastelon Pizza

Add 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, 1 tsp of capers, 8 diced olives, 2 bay leaves.  Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.  Let simmer at a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pastelon Pizza

Transfer the sauce to a food processor and add bacon.

Pastelon Pizza

Run the food processor until the sauce is smooth, pour into a bowl and set aside until ready to use.

Pastelon Pizza

Time to make the best part of this pizza, fried sweet plantains.

In a previous post, I gave you the run down on green plantains and how to peel them.  Here, we have ripe plantains.  They look like they are bad and ready to be tossed, but don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  This is how you want them to look if you want them sweet.

Ripe plantains are peeled the same way a green plantain is, except you can pretty much skip the part where you pry the skin off.  Also, they are much softer and slipperier then green plantains.

Pastelon Pizza

Peel 2 plantains, cut in half, and cut the halves into slices lengthwise.  Remember be careful, they are slippery little suckers.

Pastelon Pizza

Fill a deep skillet with enough vegetable oil to cover the plantain strips. Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Add the plantain strips and fry for 2-3 minutes or until slightly golden and crisp.

Pastelon Pizza

Transfer the plantains to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.

Pastelon Pizza

Time to make the pizza.  I decided to grill the pizza.  Mainly because I had never grilled a pizza before and thought this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try. I usually do not go anywhere near a grill due to the fear of loosing my eyebrows.  I am a little accident prone, after all.  But I managed to light the grill and preserve my eyebrows without any assistance from my husband.

Prepare the grill for high direct heat. Fill a small bowl with olive oil for greasing the grill grates and for brushing the pizza. Gather all the toppings together so they are ready to go on the pizza.

On a slightly floured surface, using your hands, stretch the dough to your desired shape. You can also stretch the dough out by hold up the edges of the dough with your fingers, letting the dough hang and stretch, while working around the edges of the dough. Once you’ve stretched the dough, let it sit for 5 minutes and then push out the edges with your fingers again, until you have a round shape, about 12-inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to a pizza peel or cookie sheet dusted with flour or corn meal.

Pastelon Pizza

Once the grill is hot and you can hold your hands an inch over the grates for no more than 2 seconds, dip a tightly folded paper towel in the olive oil and use tongs to wipe the grill grates.

Pastelon Pizza

Slide the dough off the cookie sheet directly onto the hot grill grates. Close the lid of the grill and let cook for 2 minutes.

Pastelon Pizza

After 2 minutes, open the grill and check underneath the dough to see if it is getting browned. If the pizza is browning unevenly, use a spatula or tongs to rotate the dough 90 degrees and cook for another minute. The top of the pizza dough will start bubbling up with air pockets.

Pastelon Pizza

Once the pizza dough has browned lightly on one side, use your cookie sheet or pizza peel to remove it from the grill. Flip the dough over using a spatula so that the grilled side is up. Keep the grill covered so it retains its heat.

Pastelon Pizza

Paint the grilled surface of the pizza with a little olive oil and 1 tbs of sofrito.

Pastelon Pizza

Then cover with 1 ladle of sauce, do not over sauce or you’ll end up with a soggy pizza.

Pastelon Pizza

Sprinkle with ground beef then cheese, lay fried plantains on top, sprinkle with more beef and cheese.  (You will have left over meat and sauce which can be combined and used in a pasta.)

Pastelon Pizza

I had the plantains kind of spread apart.  In retrospect, I would have brought them closer together to add more plantains strips.  More plantains to pizza slice ratio that way.

Pastelon Pizza

You want to finish off with cheese and a sprinkle of beef.

Pastelon Pizza

Slide the pizza back onto the grill and reduce the heat. If working with a charcoal grill, close the vents on the cover almost all the way.

Pastelon Pizza

Close the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until the bottom begins to char and the cheese is bubbly.

Pastelon Pizza

Pull off the grate with tongs onto a cutting board or other flat surface and let rest for a couple minutes before cutting into slices.

Pastelon Pizza

Cut yourself a slice and consume with vigor.

Pastelon Pizza

The crust was light, crispy, and held all of the toppings like a champ.  It had no issues holding the hefty toppings.  I think I may never bake another pizza in the oven again, except when the temperature drops below 40 degrees.  Then I may consider it.

This pizza was everything I wanted it to be and more–the perfect combination of sweet and savory.  You don’t usually find sweet plantains, savory beef with raisins, topped with cheese on a pizza, but it works. And because of all the different flavors on this pizza, every bite was a little different. The most rewarding part?  I got no complaints from the husband!  He loved every bit of it and went back for second and thirds.

It was a treat to bring two traditional dishes together and make something unique.  It looks like Foodbuzz did us a favor and helped bring peace to the Rivera home.  I can now make a pizza at home that we both love.

Print Recipe

Pastelon Pizza

PW’s Pizza Crust (makes 2 crusts)

  • 1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.

In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with dough hook attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until forms into a ball.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, toss to coat dough in olive oil, ten cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel and set in warm place to rise 1 to 2 hours.

After dough has risen, divide in half.

Dough can wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for 6 months.

Picadillo (makes 4 cups)

  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion,minced
  • 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green pepper, minced
  • 1/2 chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp adobo
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 Tbs vinegar
  • 1 envelope sazón
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 green stuffed olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce

Pre-heat grill to 350 degrees.

Combine, beef, onion, pepper, garlic, cilantro, adobo, oregano, vinegar and sazon.  Mix well.

Heat a large skillet at medium-high heat with 2 Tbs of olive oil, add meat mixture.

Cook beef until brown and of the juices bubble up, add bay leaves, olives, raisins and tomato sauce.  Mix and let simmer for 10 minutes, set aside.

Sauce (makes 3 cups of sauce)

  • 4 strips thick cut bacon, sliced
  • 1 large spanish onion, chopped
  • 2 sweet peppers,chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tbs white vinegar
  • 8 green olives
  • 2 bay leaves

In a skillet over medium-high heat fry bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, set aside.

Add onions, peppers and cilantro to the skillet.  Saute over medium heat until soft and translucent.  Add remaining ingredients and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and transfer sauce to food processor, add bacon and process until smooth.

Plantains

  • 2 ripe plantains
  • vegetable oil

Peel plantains.  Cut the plantains in half and cut each half into slices lengthwise. Heat a large frying pan with vegetable oil, just enough to coat the bottom.  Fry plantains for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden.  Drain on a plate with paper towel, set aside.

Assemble and Bake Pizza

Prepare the grill for high direct heat. Prepare a small bowl with olive oil for greasing the grill grates and for brushing the pizza. Gather all the toppings together so they are ready to go on the pizza.

On a slightly floured surface, using your hands stretch the dough to your desired shape. You can also stretch the dough out by hold up the edges of the dough with your fingers, letting the dough hang and stretch, while working around the edges of the dough. Once you’ve stretched the dough, let it sit for 5 minutes and then push out the edges with your fingers again, until you have a round shape, about 12-inches in diameter. Do not make a raised rim, it will interfere with the grilling process.

Transfer the dough to a pizza peel or cookie sheet dusted with flour or corn meal.

Once the grill is hot and you can hold your hands an inch over the grates for no more than 2 seconds, dip a tightly folded up paper towel in olive oil and use tongs to wipe the grill grates. Slide the dough off the cookie sheet directly onto the hot grill grates. Close the lid of the grill and let cook for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, open the grill and check underneath the dough to see if it is getting browned. If the pizza is browning unevenly, use a spatula or tongs to rotate the dough 90 degrees and cook for another minute. The top of the pizza dough will start bubbling up with air pockets.

Once the pizza dough has browned lightly on one side, use your cookie sheet or pizza peel to remove it from the grill. Flip the dough over using a spatula so that the grilled side is up. Keep the grill covered so it retains its heat.

Paint the grilled surface of the pizza with a little olive oil and 1 tbs of sofrito. Then cover with 1 ladle of sauce, do not over sauce or you’ll end up with a soggy pizza. Sprinkle with ground beef then cheese, lay fried plantains on top, sprinkle with more beef and cheese.  (You will have left over meat and sauce which can be combined and used in a pasta.)

Slide the topped pizza back onto the grill. If you are using a gas grill, reduce the heat. If working with a charcoal grill, close the vents on the cover almost all the way. Close the lid and cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until the bottom begins to char and the cheese is bubbly. Pull off the grate tongs onto a cutting board or other flat surface and let rest for a couple minutes before cutting into slices.


Comments

  1. says

    I just started to follow you. Very impressed by your blog and the “pastelon”. Congratulations and good luck on the next challenge….you have my vote!

  2. says

    This has got to be the most amazing pizza combination I’ve ever seen! You’re surely into round 6 with this one and I’ll definitely be voting for you to make sure of it!

  3. says

    Even though I have a terrible reaction to plaintains and bananas because my body can’t process the potassium so well, I still love them so much. Your pizza had me contemplating the 24 hours of wrecked pain I’d surely suffer for eating a slice of this piece of Puerto Rican pride as totally worth it. So yummy, you got my vote. Cheers! ^_^

  4. says

    Ooo plaintains on a pizza – what a great idea! I really love how you took a favorite dish of yours and used it as inspiration for a pizza. I also can’t wait to try a pastelon. Cheers!

  5. Foodie in berlin says

    Wow that is pizza like I have never seen it before! Raisins and plantain and on the grill? Creative! You get my vote

  6. Melinda Shults says

    I have never even heard of half of this stuff but after seeing this Matthew and I may have to give it a try. It looks delicious.

  7. Silvette says

    This is an amazing combination, sweet (plantains), savory (picadillo), crunchy (crust), gooey (cheese) and amazingly good (that sauce, Yum). Can’t wait to read what you will come up with next!

  8. says

    Now we’re talking! What an incredible combonation of flavors! I’m actually not a huge fan of “traditional” pizza. This looks amazing though! How fun it would be to make and eat this! thanks for sharing!

  9. says

    You had me at plantains! Delicious. What an interesting take on pizza. Sounds incredible. And your photos are as stunning as always. Nicely done. I voted for you again!

    Good luck! Hope to see us both in round 6!!! =)

  10. Tiffany S says

    Oh my God yess sweet plantains on pizza!!! Definitely going to try a version of this sometime this week or next. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. says

    Ha. So glad I’m not the only one who gets grumblings from the man of the house over “stinky cheese”!
    I love the inspiration you chose for your pizza toppings… plantain is such an underappreciated ingredient. Great photos too. Your pizza looks so beautifully gooey and delicious in the last shot that I’d dive into it face-first if I could. :)
    Good luck. You’ve got my vote!

  12. says

    Holy moly, this sounds AMAZING. I love that by reading your blog and your process in this Food Buzz contest that I’m getting an education in Puerto Rican cooking. Bonus! Keep it up, woman – you know you have my vote every week.

  13. Amy Llorens says

    OH WOW!!! I think I will love this. Just tried your pastelon reciepe last week and my friends and I loved it. In my opinion you can’t go wrong with using plaintians. I love them in any form. I am anxious to try mofongo this week. Made a batch of homemade sofrito last weekend and used it yesterday for the first time and WOW no more Goya Sofrito for me.

    Good luck in the next round. Can’t wait to vote for you in the morning.

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