Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lamb Meatball Tagine Pizza And Other Cross-Mediterranean Explorations

Meatball Tagine Pizza

I find myself endlessly fascinated by the various cuisines of the world. On the one hand I am intrigued by their diverse styles and flavors. On the other, I'm often also struck by things that they have in common.

Case in point - the similarities and differences among the foods of Southern Europe and North Africa - the "two sides of the Mediterranean", if you will.

One evening we made a Moroccan Lamb Meatball Tagine:

Moroccan Lamb Mini-Meatball Tagine

After my initial reaction (I love it!), I thought about how the tomato base in the tagine reminded me of an Italian pasta sauce (and an Indian curry sauce as well, but that is another story altogether). As is often the case, I was planning another dish while eating the current one (something Sherry finds frustrating).

In this case, the next dish was to use the leftover meatballs and sauce with pasta (taking it to the "North Side" of the Mediterranean). The pasta we used was Campanelle, which is named after its characteristic trumpet shape.

Campanelle with Moroccan Lamb Mini-Meatballs

The result was very nice indeed. Probably even more enjoyably than the original dish.

Bolstered by this success, we decided to try using the tagine as a pizza topping. It seemed fitting, since various forms of flatbread are a staple of cultures on both sides of the Mediterranean. Pictured at the top of this post, and below, the resulting pie was wonderful:

Meatball Tagine Pizza

We cooked the pizza on the grill, of course. Everything came together in a perfect conglomeration of flavors and textures. I just hope we can re-create it.

And we've got more Lamb "Tagineballs" safely stowed away for whatever other cross-cultural experiment we come up with next.

Campanelle with Moroccan Lamb Mini-Meatballs

Lamb Meatball Banh Mi, perhaps? Maybe some tacos? On a breakfast sandwich? In a soup?

We'll see...


  1. Great ideas for the leftovers! I love creative cross cultural pizzas.

  2. Thanks, Marc. Pizza definitely makes a fun canvas to experiment with.

  3. It would be interesting to know how you spice your tagineballs...cumin, lemon zest, perhaps some dried rose petals?

    I love a tagine but usually don't have time for the long slow cooking that lamb needs to be tender - meatballs are the perfect solution, thankyou!

  4. Hi Stevie, The meatballs are easy, but also quite highly spiced. The main seasonings are cumin, paprika, parsley, cilantro and hot chile powder, but there's also some "Simplified Ras el Hanout" taken from the cookbook these were adapted from (Moroccan Cafe). The Ras el Hanout is made up of black pepper, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, turmeric, clove and cayenne pepper!


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