Has a movie ever inspired you in the kitchen? I mean, who hasn’t fantasized about recreating the famous Quail in Rose Petal Sauce scene from Like Water for Chocolate? After watching Chocolat, did you start adding a pinch of cayenne to your hot cocoa? Maybe you watched Big Night and figured one day you would, in fact, make a towering timpano. Heck, I can’t even eat a cannoli without muttering the words “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” And that movie wasn’t even about food! This week’s #SundaySupper is all about recipes inspired by your favorite movies and do we have a line up for you. My contribution this week is the Mystic Pizza.
It’s tradition, and you don’t monkey with tradition!
Ever since the first time I saw Mystic Pizza, I’ve wanted to have it, which is silly, since the pizza doesn’t really exist. Actually, the movie itself was inspired by a pizza joint called Mystic Pizza located in Mystic, Connecticut, but the pizza described in the movie has nothing to do with what they sell there. In the movie, Leona (Conchata Ferrell) creates her famous secret sauce using a blend of spices from the Algarve in Portugal. And in the reality of the movie, no one, including the local food critic, can quite figure out what those spices might be. While mention of the pizza is sprinkled throughout, the movie itself follows the romantic entanglements of three young girls–Julia Roberts, Annabeth Gish, and Lili Taylor–with the pizza shop providing the backdrop for many scenes. A very young Matt Damon even pops in to deliver a single line.
But it’s the last line of the movie, “What the hell do you think Leona really puts in that pizza?” that sums it all up. It’s something I’ve pondered for a long time, and I can’t watch the movie without craving pizza. After doing a little research on the interwebs, I discovered that some speculated the secret ingredient was fennel seed. A good guess for sure, but I hardly think fennel seed’s distinct flavor would have anyone stumped. And fennel seed doesn’t scream Portuguese, at least to me. So, I decided to take the sauce in a different direction. I used my mom’s pizza sauce as reference point, then changed things up a bit by adding some cumin, ground piri-piri chilies, and fresh cilantro. The resulting sauce was as distinct as it was delicious. I decided to simply top the pizza with cheese so the sauce could remain the star of the show, but it certainly would work well with all sorts of toppings.
Let’s dig in!
Chop the green onions and cilantro, crush the garlic, and add to a small bowl.
Stir in the other ingredients along with the tomato sauce, then set this aside. It’s best if you make it a few hours before so the flavors have time to blend.
Meanwhile, roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured board.
Spread a handful of cornmeal on the pizza peel, and transfer the rolled out pizza dough to the paddle.
Spread one cup of sauce evenly over the dough, then sprinkle about 1/2 cup diced onions over that.
Top with cheese, then place on the pizza stone in your oven.
Less than 15 minutes later, you’ll have golden, cheesy goodness.
Here’s the printable recipe:
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp thyme
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground piri-piri chilies or cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- Dash ground black pepper
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Pizza Dough (I use Trader Joe's or you can make your own)
- 1 cup pizza sauce (above)
- ½ cup diced onions
- 1½ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together sauce ingredients, set aside. For best results, make this a few hours in advance (up to overnight) to let the flavors blend.
- Preheat oven and pizza stone 450F.
- Roll out the pizza dough into about a 12-inch round on a lightly floured board.
- Spread a handful of cornmeal on a pizza peel, and transfer the dough to the paddle.
- Spread 1 cup of the pizza sauce evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the diced onions over that, then top with the Mozzarella.
- Transfer the pizza to the pizza stone, and bake 12-15 minutes until the edges and top start to brown and the cheese is bubbly.
- Cut into wedges and serve immediately.
Let’s see what the others have cooked up for you.
Toast (bready things)
- Scones (inspired by Tea with Mussolini) – Country Girl in the Village
- Croque Monsieur (inspired by It’s Complicated) – That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!
- “Eat Me” Blueberry Lemon Scones (inspired by Alice in Wonderland) – The Messy Baker
- Dog Bone Breadsticks (inspired by Frankenweenie) – The Urban Mrs.
- Individual Deep Dish Pizzas (inspired by Mystic Pizza) – Momma’s Meals
- Basic Bread Recipe (inspired by Agora) – Masala Herb
- Mystical Double Cheese Pizza (inspired by Mystic Pizza) – Webicurean
- Vanilla Cinnamon Pancakes (inspired by No Reservations) – Pies and Plots
No Reservations (soups and salads)
- 10-Minute Potato Ham Soup with Pesto Swirl (inspired by Julie & Julia) – Shockingly Delicious
- Alaska Smoked Salmon, Celery, and Apple Salad (inspired by Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) – Pescetarian Journal
Today’s Special (fish, chicken, beef, and pork)
- الدار البيضاء Fish Tajine (inspired by Casablanca) – Maroc Mama
- Beef and Onions Braised in Beer (inspired by Julie & Julia) – Magnolia Days
- Spicy Seared Tuna with Balsamic Reduction (inspired by Big Fish) – I Run For Wine
- Slow Cooker Braised Short Ribs (inspired by Brave) – Big Bear’s Wife
- Puerco Pibil (inspired by Once Upon a Time in Mexico) – From the Bookshelf
Forks Over Knives (veggie-heavy dishes and sides)
- Eggplant in Garlic Sauce (inspired by The Joy Luck Club) – Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Beet Chips (inspired by Food Matters) – girlichef
- Ratatouille (inspired by Ratatouille) – Noshing With The Nolands
- Mushroom and Asparagus Mini Quiches (inspired by Sixteen Candles) - Home Cooking Memories
- Veg Samosas (inspired by Monsoon Wedding) – My Cute Bride
- Not So Fried Green Tomatoes (inspired by Fried Green Tomatoes) – Mama.Mommy.Mom
- Roasted Taters with Bacon (inspired by Lord of the Rings) – Curious Cuisiniere
- Goat Cheese Basil Grits (inspired by Fried Green Tomatoes) - Diabetic Foodie
Udon (pasta and noodles)
- Big Night Timpano (inspired by Big Night) - Kimchi Mom
- Better Baked Mac & Cheese (inspired by Soul Food) - What Smells So Good?
- Spaghetti with Meatballs and Gravy (inspired by Lady and the Tramp) – Juanita’s Cocina
- Spicy Sichuan Noodles (inspired by Eat Drink Man Woman) – Food Lust People Love
- Chicken Tchoupitoulas Pasta (inspired by Last Holiday) – Gourmet Drizzles
Just Desserts (sweet treats)
- The Best Chocolate Cake (inspired by Chocolat) – The Foodie Army Wife
- Chocolate Almond Torte with Raspberries (inspired by Chocolat) – Vintage Kitchen
- Iocane-Dusted Brownies of Unusual Size (BOUS’) (inspired by The Princess Bride) – The Cooking Actress
- Minny’s Chocolate Pie (inspired by The Help) – Daily Dish Recipes
- Pao de Lo | Portuguese Bundt Sponge Cake (inspired by My Big Fat Greek Wedding) – Family Foodie
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie (inspired by Life of Pi) – No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
- Fantasia Cakes (inspired by Disney’s Fantasia) – NinjaBaking. com
- Chocolate Dipped Almond Coconut Bars (inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) – Kudos Kitchen By Renee
- (Gluten Free) Orange Soda Pound Cake (inspired by Joe Vs The Volcano) – Blueberries and Blessings
- Peach and Berry Cobbler (inspired by Soul Food) – The Lovely Pantry
- Golden Ticket Peanut Butter-Pretzel Truffles (inspired by Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) – Weekend Gourmet
- French Macarons (inspired by Marie Antoinette) – Happy Baking Days
- Pistachio and Cherry Cannoli Cups (inspired by The Godfather) – Peanut Butter and Peppers
Bottle Shock (beverages)
- Raspberry Cordial (inspired by Anne of Green Gables) – NeighborFood
- Grapefruit Flirtini (inspired by Sex and the City) – Ruffles & Truffles
- Wines To Pair With #SundaySupper Movie-Inspired Recipes (inspired by Sideways) – ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
I’d love to hear about some of your favorite Movie-Inspired recipes! Feel free to leave links and/or recipes in the comments. Also, please join us for our live twitter chat tonight at 7pm (Eastern) using the#SundaySupper hashtag, and check out the Sunday Supper board on Pinterest.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Coming to Orlando July 19-21, the first annual Food and Wine Conference sponsored by #SundaySupper. Visit the website to learn more and join in on the fun.