Do you love me? (I can really eat) ‘Nduja love me? (I love spicy meat) Do you love my easy tenuously Dirty Dancing-themed flatbread pizzas?
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Dirty Dancing… you either love it or roll your eyes at people who love it…
The classic 1987 movie starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey was a massive box office hit and the first film to sell more than a million copies on home video – impressive given the low budget and lack of (as then) major stars. The movie is now endlessly quoted in terms of dialogue (Nobody puts Baby in the corner!) and dance moves (that lift). The film’s soundtrack of 1960s hits was equally huge, with demand outstripping supply (unimaginable in the current digital era) and (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, an original song, won an Oscar. Do You Love Me, The Contours’ 1962 ode to mashed potato, also returned to prominence thanks to the film and was re-released on the follow-up soundtrack album, More Dirty Dancing.
A stage version was inevitable and, following an initial Australian run in 2004, became a massive sell-out blockbuster in London in 2006, lasting for five years, and revived a few years later. The UK production is still touring today as is a highly successful US version.
Did you know that the role of Johnny Castle was originally intended for Billy Zane (his dancing nixed his hopes of landing the role) and the character was meant to have more of an Italian background? Which leads me nicely onto the topic of a hot Italian sausage, ‘nduja!
From Calabria in southern Italy, ‘nduja is often described as a “spreadable salami” due to its very soft texture. It contains very hot chillies and has become very popular in recent years for spicing up pizza or pasta dishes, which is how I’ve used it here. I was pleasantly surprised to find a packet of ‘nduja in my local supermarket, so it can be fairly easily available.
Confession – I had intended to make some very easy flatbreads of my own for this post but, it was hot, getting late, I was hungry and I had a packet that needed to be eaten up, so… Store-bought flatbreads of any kind could be used (naan, pittas, tortillas) so take your pick – and this makes this recipe so easy! I used scamorza cheese (a smoked mozzarella) as I just happened to have some (you bought some for (Sca)More Zan I Am, right?), but normal mozzarella would be just fine. One slice of ‘nduja was plenty for these four small pizzas (it has a lot of chilli in it!)
Mix the oil and garlic together and brush over the surface of the flatbread. Sprinkle over the fennel seeds and cubed cheese, then top with crumbled ‘nduja and finely sliced red onion. Put in a hot oven (180C fan) for 7-10 minutes until the cheese has browned to your liking. Finish off with some basil and a do-the-twist of black pepper and eat, having the time of your life, but not in a corner. Mashed potato is optional.