15-minute Pizzettes: a CardioKit recipe

Sofrito and cardiovascular health

We at Cardiologist’s Kitchen are encouraged by all the positive feedback we are receiving from our patients and there have been some brilliant success stories.

These pizzettes are a delicious, super-quick meal option. Combine with a simple green side salad such as some rocket (Arugula), baby spinach and avocado with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice dressing for a perfect weekend lunch. As this is a Cardiologist’s Kitchen recipe there is always a specific cardiovascular health ‘hook’. In this case we want to emphasise the sofrito sauce base [not to be mistaken with soffritto (Mirepoix in French) which we have previously talked about — the combination of vegetables which forms the base of many Mediterranean dishes].

Sofrito is the basic combination of onion, garlic and tomatoes cooked gently in olive oil until the ingredients break down and combine into a ‘sauce’. The combination is perfect in the summer when these ingredients are at their best — additional ingredients we like to boost this basic version are sweet ‘bell’ peppers and mild fragrant red chillies. Sofrito is used in a number of Mediterranean dishes and there has been increased interest and speculation that sofrito specifically may be one of the elements which contributes to the protective properties of the Mediterranean diet. In fact it has been included in recent studies as an indicator of a protective diet including PREDIMED with positive associations.

Further [basic science] research have suggested that when these specific ingredients are combined in cooking they synergistically enhance the potentially protective compounds (such as Polyphenols) above and beyond eating them individually, with parallel improved bioavailability.

At this time of year with abundant tasty tomatoes you can use this versatile sauce combination with grilled fish, meat and pasta. This recipe also highlights another concept which is important to us — combine few ingredients but concentrate on the quality of the ingredients rather than the quantity. A little goes a long way — buy the best you can and let the ingredients do the work.

Sofrito base, serves 2:

 

  • 1 medium onion (red or white)
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 sweet ‘bell’ pepper —  red, yellow or orange
  • large double handful of good quality summer tomatoes (not so good out of season)
  • 1/2 to whole mild red chilli (optional if you like heat) — deseeded as you want fragrance rather than spice
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to season

Other bits for the pizzettes:

  • good quality wholemeal flat breads (check the ingredients carefully for nasties — we like the Crosta & Mollica brands in the UK)
  • buffalo mozzarella cheese (Mozzarella di Bufala)
  • fresh basil leaves

  1. Preheat your grill to high heat and place a try directly under to heat up.
  2. Thinly slice or fine dice the onion and garlic. Add to a non-stick pan with a good glug of extra-virgin olive oil and cook gently over a medium heat. Stir occasionally and avoid ‘browning’ or ‘colouring’.
  3. Meanwhile finely slice the ‘bell’ pepper and optional chilli. Add to the pan and soften.
  4. Quarter the tomatoes and add to the pan. Now season with salt and black pepper. After a couple of minutes place a lid and turn the heat right down — allow the ingredients to slowly simmer and break down together. You will need to stir occasionally to avoid the mix ‘catching’ and when getting too dry keep adding a splash of water.
  5. After 10 minutes the tomatoes and peppers should have broken down completely and the ingredients should have amalgamated to a nice sauce. If you have time you can cook longer (keep loosening with water if drying out) to create a smooth, intensively flavoured sauce.
  6. When the sauce is ready take of the heat to cool slightly. Tear the Mozzarella into small pieces and ready a few whole Basil leaves for the Pizzettes.
  7. Remove the hot tray from under the grill (careful). Place the flat breads directly on the tray (this will help the base crisp a little) and spoon a layers of the sofrito sauce. Now dot the mozzarella around relatively sparingly — remember this is not cheese on toast!
  8. Place under the grill until the cheese has melted and the edge of the flat bread are a little crisp. Take out and add your basil leaves. Eat immediately — delicious folded over as a ‘folded’ pizzette sandwich.

Quick, easy, delicious and with the cardiovascular protection of summer Mediterranean sofrito and wholegrain fibre.

3 comments

  • Lovely sauce. Can it be frozen?

    Kazzawin, 1st November 2017 at 12:45 pm -
    • Hi! It really is lovely, as well as heart healthy. As far as I know, to use fresh sofrito is best, but once chopped, it also stores well in the freezer and can be cooked straight from frozen. This makes it an ideal choice for busy cooks.
      Do let us know how you get on if you make/freeze this sauce recipe. Thanks.
      Best Wishes,
      Mary.

      Mary, 1st November 2017 at 4:58 pm -
      • I have made this sofrito sauce several times now. Each time seems a little different, maybe because it’s difficult to always get flavoursome tomatoes. I have yet to try freezing it because it’s so good it gets eaten fairly quickly, either as a pizza sauce, with pasta or as a topping for fish or chicken. I prefer to cook it longer to release all the lovely flavours.

        Kazzawin, 13th February 2018 at 11:57 pm -

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