Tikka masala sauce gives naan a pizza persona

Among harried cooks, who hasn’t called a quesadilla — bulked with leftover vegetables and meat — a main dish?

Who hasn’t skipped saucing pasta for simply tossing with a blanched vegetable, bits of cooked meat and Parmesan?

Who hasn’t topped Top Ramen with strips of Kraft singles? Well … maybe not.

I couldn’t resist posting a “recipe” for that last one, proof of one of the unholiest processed food combinations I can imagine. Only “cheese” squirted from a can onto ramen noodles could be worse.

Admittedly, a collection of dishes for nights when cooking goes out the window didn’t do much to reassure me, despite the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s best intentions. Save for one recipe that I would actually make with an ingredient that I routinely stock in the freezer.

Part of packaged naan bread’s appeal is its forgiving nature from freezer to stovetop to plate, where one would hardly guess it had been frosty just minutes before. Put it in the oven, and it’s got even more going for it, namely a pizza-like persona.

It’s easy enough to slather the Indian flatbread with some jarred marinara, then layer on some cheese and whatever pizza toppings you prefer. Make the sauce a jarred, Indian-style simmer sauce, and you’ve suddenly got an example of globally inspired fusion to help salvage supper. And with several types of simmer sauce on the market, from mild korma to peppery jalfrezi, in addition to tikka masala, this is a dish that should be granted regular suppertime status.

Tribune News Service photo

Tikka Masala Naan Pizza

4 naan flatbreads

1 1/2 cups tikka masala simmer sauce (from a jar)

4 chicken thighs, cooked and diced

1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

6 large mushrooms, sliced and sautéed

1/2 cup fresh spinach, washed

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place the naan on baking sheets and heat in oven for 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from oven and spread with the tikka masala sauce. Top with the chicken, mushrooms and cheese. Place the whole leaves of spinach on top. Bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted and naan is browned at the edges.

Makes 4 servings.

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