Friday, 18 April 2014

Pizza night with Panebello

Does every family turn TV events into mini parties? We do. Whether it's the final of the few reality TV programmes, a special sports event or a royal wedding, we're there with food.

Usually, I've planned it. But sometimes, treat nights mean a night off for me too. And for that reason, frozen pizza sometimes just has to be done. Yes, I make my own. No, it's not that hard. But sometimes, I just don't want to! Frozen pizzas are great to have around for emergencies and keep forever. And as pizza is one of the children's favourite things to eat, it is perfect treat food.

If anyone offers us to try pizza, I know in my heart of hearts that I would get into trouble if I said no and they found out. Strangely, we don't get offered it very often, but Dr Oetker asked if we'd like to try their new Panebello pizzas. So I had to say yes. To be honest, I wasn't all that keen as they were deep pan ones and I got over that phase a good 15 years ago. I prefer the tomato, the cheese and toppings. But duty calls and all that. Panebello means "beautiful bread" - I wondered just how beautiful it could be!

We tried both varieties in the new range - Pepperoni Speciale (Special Pepperoni) & Pomodoro Mozzarella (Tomato Cheese). This was good as neither Monkey nor I are huge pepperoni fans but Missy Woo and her dad are. And two pizzas are just about enough for four people, especially pizza lovers.

The only problem with the pepperoni pizza for Missy Woo is that they had red onion and peppers on it and she doesn't really like either but would just pick them off. Usually, I would like some extra topping with my cheese and tomato, but decided we would try the product as sold. Usually, I would add at least ham and possibly mushrooms or sweetcorn for any pizza Monkey is eating.

Here are the pizzas before they went in the oven. The cheese and tomato one was generously topped. I hate buying pizzas that have so little cheese on them that you want more. This was definitely NOT the case. There was less cheese on the pepperoni pizza but the other toppings were generous and cut to a chunky size. Because they are thicker pizzas, they take a bit longer to cook than most frozen pizzas - 20 minutes from frozen. That is quicker than waiting for a pizza delivery. And cheaper.

My oven is small so had to cram in both pizzas on the same shelf. The cheese pizza ended up at the back, hence looks a little overdone but that didn't affect the flavour. I also know that my oven cooks cool so I turned it up 10 degrees higher than the instructions. And I didn't realise I moved when I took the shot of the pepperoni pizza cooked. I am not an expert photographer anyway, sorry!

What was the verdict on eating? Very nice. The pizzas were both demolished in minutes, and the children were disappointed there wasn't more. The pepperoni fans declared their pizza "tasty" and the cheesy tomato pizza was just as flavoursome with flavour from basil as well as the tomato and the cheese. What did surprise me was the base. Yes, it was thick. But the crust was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. It was surprisingly light, not doughy and heavy at all as I had expected. I still prefer thin based pizzas but these really are a great alternative if you like a light, crispy texture to your pizza base.

I am not going to pretend these are the healthiest of options. But pizza night once in a while isn't going to hurt, nor is keeping a couple in the freezer for emergency meals. They cost about £3 but special offers mean they are often much less, meaning they are also a budget treat. Beautiful bread indeed.

(Dr Oetker kindly sent us vouchers to try Panebello pizzas for free. I received no further compensation for this post). 

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