We don’t know the first incidence of a runny egg on top of a pizza but whoever had the idea deserves a medal. It’s a glorious moment when you cut in to the centre of the pizza and the yolk breaks and oozes yellow onto the plate. The base for this pizzetta needs a bit of practice – you want the dough and filling to be slightly thicker at the edges to prevent the egg from running over the sides.

For one pizzetta:
1 very large handful of spinach
1 tablespoon crème fraîche
1/4 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 small handful of grated Parmesan
Flaky sea salt and black pepper
1 large golf-ball-sized piece of pizza dough (see here for recipe)
1 small free range egg

Preheat your oven to its highest setting (250°C/Gas 9 or above). At the same time put a pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven to heat up.

Now you need to blanch your spinach. Take a very large handful (spinach reduces in volume dramatically when cooked) and plunge the leaves into boiling salted water for one minute. Remove the spinach and and plunge in to ice cold water. Squeeze dry and finely chop what will now be a smaller handful. Add the crème fraîche, garlic, about three-quarters of the Parmesan, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Mix together to form a deep-green paste.

Roll the dough out to around 20cm in diameter. Evenly spread the spinach mixture over the pizza base making sure it is slightly raised at the edges, creating a tiny wall. Crack an egg into the centre and place on your pizza stone in the oven for 6 – 8 minutes. One minute before your pizza is ready, sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan and a grinding of black pepper.

Please don’t overcook. It is essential that the egg is runny when served.

This recipe is taken from POLPO – A Venetian Cookbook (of sorts), which you can buy here.

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