Pizza Popcorn Shakers

  • 3 cups popcorn
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • One 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Special equipment: a spice grinder

Position an oven rack in the bottom of the oven, and preheat it to 90°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and generously coat with cooking spray. Spread the tomato paste out into a thin layer on the parchment (an offset metal spatula works best). Bake until the paste deepens to brick red and is dull in color and not shiny in any spots, about 2 hours. (It will look and feel like fruit leather.) Let it cool. Tear the paste into small pieces, and finely grind them in batches in the spice grinder.

Add all the ground tomato paste back into the spice grinder, along with the Parmesan, oregano, garlic salt and pepper flakes, and grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. The spice blend makes enough for about 6 batches of popcorn.

To make 1 batch of pizza popcorn: Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup kernels; when one pops, cover the pot, and cook, shaking the pot constantly, until the popping subsides to 1 pop every 20 seconds. Add some melted butter and 2 heaping tablespoons of pizza spice, toss to coat.

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