Italians are known for good pizza, and Sardinia is no exception. Sardinia pizza often has eggplant, simply because eggplant is a common, local vegetable. But it’s a match made in heaven.
Sardinia, Italy is one of the healthiest places on the planet. It is home to one of the highest rates of active centenarians, and the life expectancy of men in this region is particularly high compared to the rest of the world.
So what are they eating?
Just because it’s healthy, doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious. And this recipe for Sardinian pizza proves it!
One of the key ingredients is tomato sauce. As with many traditional dishes from rural areas, each family seems to have their own secret sauce. For Sardinians, that is literally their tomato sauce.
The following recipe comes from a remarkable synopsis of the Sardinian diet and their health, The Blue Zones Solution. By Dan Buettner, this project highlights the diets and lifestyles of some of the world’s healthiest regions.
And in addition this insight, he has delightfully added recipes from these regions in the appendices. This recipe combines two of them from Sardinia - a recipe for a local tomato sauce, and its use in Sardinian pizza.
The sauce preparation is not overly difficult, but it does take some time. As with many of the recipes from these healthy regions, time in the kitchen is often a hidden ingredient. But the smell of the sauce simmering, and time preparing, is worth more than its nutritive value. Particularly when you take the time to cook with friends and family.
Without further adue, here is a snapshot of these recipes from the highly recommended Blue Zones recipes.
First, you must prepare some Sardinia tomato sauce.
Add a quarter cup of extra-virgin olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add in 1 large yellow or white onion, diced. Stir and soften for about 5 minutes without letting them start to brown.
Then, add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic along with 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds. Cook them until they are fragrant. In about 20 seconds, you will be rewarded with an amazing combination of smells that fills your kitchen. You won’t be disappointed.
To cut back on a little time, use 2 28-ounce cans of diced plum tomatoes (San Marzano). Add these to the pot, along with 1 large, peeled carrot broken in half, 1 medium celery stalk broken in half, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 bay leaves, and a half cup of chopped fresh basil leaves.
Stir well and bring to a full simmer. Then, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer slowly for about 1 hour.
Next, remove it from the heat and let it cool for around 20 minutes. You’ll then discard the carrot, celery, and bay leaves.
FInally, puree the sauce in a blender or food processor until it’s smooth and velvety. The good thing about making a batch that can easily be doubled or tripled, is that this sauce can be frozen and stored for up to 4 months!
But save some, we’ll need it for the Sardinian Pizza recipe below!
First, you’ll briefly cook quarter-inch slices of eggplant in a skillet over medium heat with a couple teaspoons of olive oil until they are soft. Flip them once, but don’t cook them longer than 4-5 minutes.
Next, place pane carasau flatbread, (or lightly toasted whole-grain English muffin, as a replacement) on a baking sheet. These will be your mini-pizzas!
Cover each bread with the lightly cooked eggplant. Next, add around 1 and a half tablespoons of the tomato sauce.
Top them off with around 2 tablespoons of pecorino Romano cheese and some sprinkled dry oregano. Place them in the oven at 400 °F until they are bubbling, about 5 minutes.
Sardinian pizza is great, either for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But if you are having them for dinner, add some cannonau wine to round out the Sardinian experience!
And if you like this recipe, you might like trying recipes from an Ikarian diet too!
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