Roman Pizzette

It’s finally warm enough to hang outdoors with friends in a backyard garden, or squeeze out onto the fire escape. So, this month, we’re featuring party snacks — easy, mouth-watering recipes that you can toss together as guests arrive. First up, flaky puff pastry pizzas from Kristina Gill and Katie Parla’s new cookbook Tasting Rome. Here’s how to make them…

By Kristina Gill and Katie Parla, authors of Tasting Rome

“Pizzette rosse” are quintessential party snacks in Rome. They are sold by weight at bakeries, and you might find a few complimentary pizzette at a bar or café — much like a bowl of peanuts in an American bar, but better. In Tasting Rome, the pizzette are made with homemade puff pastry instead of regular pizza dough, in order to elevate them to their most elegant and delicious form. Good store-bought puff pastry works just as well. If you roll out more than you need, simply freeze the prepared pizzette before baking them. The next time you need them, just bake them in a hot oven, directly from the freezer and you’ll be ready to go!

You’ll need:
1/3 cup tomato paste
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano (optional)
1 pound rough puff pastry, store-bought or homemade (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together the tomato paste, olive oil, salt, oregano (if using) and 2 to 3 tablespoons water to make a thick but brushable liquid.

Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle that is approximately 10×20 inches and 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 32 circles. Place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1/4 inch between each. Place any that don’t fit on the tray in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake them. Brush the center of each pizzetta with the tomato paste, leaving a small border around the edge.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the pizzette puff up and turned golden. Transfer to a serving tray and bake the remaining pizzette, if there are any.

Serve immediately, or allow to cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

To make your own puff pastry, you’ll need: (makes 2 pounds, 3 oz)

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups plus 3 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup ice-cold water

Sift the flour and salt onto a clean, dry surface and make a well in the middle. Add the butter to the well and begin to work the butter into the flour by hand, squeezing the pieces flat as you go. Continue to mix quickly and lightly with your fingertips until the butter is grainy and resembles flour-covered cornflakes in spots.

Sprinkle half the ice water over the mixture and gather the dough into a ball. Add additional water by the teaspoon until a shaggy dough forms. (You may not need all the water.)

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, working in only one direction, roll the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 16×8 inches.

With one short edge facing you, fold the top third farthest from you toward the middle and then the bottom third over that. Turn the dough clockwise a quarter turn, so that an open side faces you. Repeat the rolling and turning process. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Repeat the rolling and turning process one more time and allow the dough to chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator before using. It will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or up to 4 weeks in the freezer.

Thanks so much, Kristina and Katie! Your new cookbook is beautiful.

P.S. More recipes, including bite-sized baked brie and homemade cheese straws.

(Recipe excerpted from Tasting Rome by Kristina Gill and Katie Parla, published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers. This series is edited by Stella Blackmon.)