Piccoli Pasticci di Carne
1 LB PIZZA DOUGH – from the Market*
2 TSP OLIVE OIL – plus extra if needed
1 ONION – finely chopped
2 GARLIC CLOVES – minced
¾ LB GROUND PORK*
1 CAN (14 OZ) CRUSHED TOMATOES
SALT & PEPPER – to taste
1 GOOD PINCH OREGANO – or to taste
1/3 CUP CURED BLACK OLIVES – chopped
2 TB FRESHLY GRATED ROMANO CHEESE
PINCH OF RED PEPPER FLAKES – optional
Pour the olive in a large skillet and heat over medium heat. When the oil is ready add the onion and garlic and cook just until translucent, then add the ground pork and cook, breaking up all the lumps, until the meat is fully cooked. Drain off the fat and add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and oregano and cook on medium-low heat for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the chopped olives. Stir in, taste for salt and pepper and adjust to your taste. Add red pepper flakes, if using. Set aside and allow to cool.
Let the pizza dough sit on the counter while preparing the filling. When ready to use, punch it down once and then roll out as thinly as possibly, on a lightly floured board, but not too thin that it won’t hold the meat without breaking. With a glass with a thin rim or a cookie cutter, cut into circles that are about 5-inches.
Add oil, enough to fry the little pies – about 2-inches deep, to a large frying pan with deep sides.
Heat until it reaches a temp of 350º. When all the circles are cut, portion out the filling so that you have enough for each circle, putting at least 2-3 tbs in each circle. Place the filling off-center on one circle, brush the circle lightly with water and fold over to resemble a half-moon. Press down on the little pie to try to remove any excess air. Press down on the edges with the tines of a fork to seal all the filling inside.
Place the little meat pies in the hot oil being careful not to crowd or they will not cook well. Carefully try to turn over once during the frying, if possible. Fry until a golden-brown. Remove with a slotted spoon or a spider. Drain on paper towels and move to a plate in an oven that has been preheated to 200º to keep warm util ready to eat.
NOTE: I sometimes use sausage meat or even half ground pork, half sausage. Also, if you have a favorite dough recipe that you feel comfortable with, you can surely use that one.