Everybody loves good pizza. Almost everybody loves potatoes. Combining these two favs into one dish can actually produce a blissful combination of yum. Years ago I tried my first potato pizza in Livorno, Italy, but was not much impressed. Perhaps it was not warm enough, or my palate was too young at the time… Today it’s a different story – I literally adore it! And now that (with years of practice) I’ve came up with my totally fool-proof recipe of pizza dough that always works, I make this pizza almost every second month. Along with many other varieties of pizzas of course (for that I double or triple the dough recipe below to stash a batch of pizza balls in a freezer and thaw them in a fridge overnight when ready to hit it).
Although I have dozens of cookbooks on Italian cooking, it was not until I got a “Great Tastes Italian“ that the recipe of potato pizza grabbed my attention due to a good quality image, a svelte look (if ever anything baked with cheese can be svelte) and a mountain of baby arugula on it (that bundle of health). It was called “Potato & Rocket Pizza“. Here we are: the visual impact pushed me to try this recipe and it was so delicious my family was literally fighting for the last piece.
I am including my perfect pizza dough recipe in this post – please take a note of it and you won’t regret it!
PIZZA BAKING TIP: When baking pizza, preheat oven to 450F at least 40 minutes before for a stone and at least 20 minutes before for the baking sheet for the best results.
For potato pizza, you can always experiment with ingredients (try sweet potatoes or very thinly sliced brussels sprouts (pre-soaked in salted water for 2 hours) and lemon, for change), but please do not make this recipe with mashed or boiled potatoes (or you will regret it).
Certainly, you can always experiment with specialty cheeses of your choice, like feta, blue, brie, Gorgonzola, etc.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until pizza base is crisp if you are using baking sheet. For a pizza stone, bake at 500 degree for about 10 minutes, or until both the top and bottom of the crust is brown and the cheese is melted.
Voila! Remove from the oven, top with fresh arugula and serve. For and extra layer of taste: umami lovers can add some anchovies, while meat lovers can add some prosciutto. I used some dry Coppa for this recipe.
FOOLPROOF PIZZA DOUGH RECIPE
Yields two pizzas
2 tablespoons instant dry yeast
1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and stretching
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
In the bowl, add yeast to lukewarm water and let it stay for about 6 -10 minutes until creamy.
Combine 750 ml (3 cups) of flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer, and slowly add mix of yeast with water and olive oil. Mix well on low speed until ingredients begin to combine. Add gradually 250 ml (1 cup) of flour and continue to mix for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and cleanly pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic or parchment paper and towel and allow to rest for 1 hour in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until it has doubled in size. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and split the dough into 2 equal parts. [At this point you can store some extra dough into the freezer and thaw it in a fridge over night in future, when ready].
POTATO PIZZA WITH BABY ARUGULA
1 pizza dough (see above recipe)
2 small potatoes, washed, unpeeled and thinly sliced (about 2 cups) [preferably Yukon or Idaho]
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
7 oz cheese, cut into small cubes [mozzarella or cheddar]
1/4 oz baby arugula
1 teaspoon dry oregano
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Salt and pepper to taste
Form the dough into a log on a floured surface. Dust with flour and cover loosely with plastic to retain moisture. Allow it to rest until the formed dough rises in size again while you prepare potatoes.
Thinly slice potatoes using a knife or a mandolin. Drizzle sliced potatoes with 1 spoon of olive oil and work the oil into the potatoes with your fingers.
Grease the baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (Note: no need to do that in using pizza stone or pizza baking tray with holes). Work out the dough flattening and stretching it gently with your fingers/palms and flipping 3-5 times on the floured surface. Leave the outer edges a little thicker. Once the dough is stretched to a desired size, transfer it to the pizza tray or a baking sheet. Using the palms of your hands, lightly flatten dough out to the edges of the pan. Spread 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon oregano in a circular motion leaving a 1-inch border.
Distribute the potatoes in a single layer, overlapping slightly if you can. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top with cheese cubes and onions.
Bake at 450F for 15 to 18 minutes or until pizza base is crisp and the cheese is bubbling. For a pizza stone, bake at 500 degree for about 10 minutes, or until both the top and bottom of the crust is brown and the cheese is melted.
Top with arugula and serve. Bon Appétit!