Some days, you just want carbs with your carbs. I will always remember my first experience with potato pizza: visiting Aaron before I lived in London, we went to a tiny pizzeria in Camden. Potato pizza was on the menu, and I decided to give it a go. It’s now one of my favourite types of pizza and with quarantine making ordering food into quite the (expensive) task, I decided to give pizza a go on my own! Please try this at home and feel proud and happy of your results.
The hardest part of making a pizza you may think is the crust. In fact, this is such an easy feat I urge you to all give it a shot this evening, or whenever your next pizza night is. My flatmate used to be the king of the pizzas in this household – always making up the dough and surprising us with toppings and an adventure in the kitchen. Partially because I missed him so much, partially because our grocery delivery finally arrived, partially because I really craved pizza, Aaron and I decided to give it a go.
The good news is, homemade pizza is relatively healthy. There is no sugar, no hydrogenated oils, nothing overly processed or filled with preservatives, it can be dairy free if you don’t use the cheese, and the potatoes are baked rather than fried. Even when using red sauce, it is all of the benefits of vegetables and fresh ingredients baked to perfection.
To get this dough going, you take 300g of warm water and your 7g sachet of dried yeast and put them together in a bowl. The yeast needs to come alive, so stir it and then leave it for about 5-10 minutes or so while you do your thing.
If you have sourdough starter and want to use that, it is possible. You need about 60 grams of the starter and then a good long waiting period to let it react. This recipe is for dried yeast, but soon I will be giving sourdough pizza dough a good shot. There are plenty of recipes online that can help you with that though – I will update once I have found the perfect mix
“Doing your thing” means collecting the rest of the ingredients, including 500g of flour, and about 15-20g of salt. This gives the crust a lovely flavour even though it seems like a lot of salt. Mix these two together with your hands, or a whisk, to make sure that the salt and yeast don’t immediately react when you mix them together. Get approximately 20g of olive oil ready as well.
Add the water and yeast mixture into the flour salt mixture, then add the olive oil. Mix the whole thing with a pastry spatula or wooden spoon of your choice, and then knead it with your hands for about 10 minutes. You will have a big, solid dough ball by now, and it should be looking plenty gorgeous. Let this ball rest for 30 minutes in a warm spot.
Once it is rested, come back to the big ball on a surface. Cut it into about 200g balls, and there are your pizzas ! I ended up with three. These will still need a bit of time to rest. Put each ball into a bowl, cover with cling film, and put them back in a warm spot. They will not rise a lot, but there will definitely be some rise once you return so make sure they have space to grow. I left mine for about an hour.
If you don’t have a pizza stone, which I highly suggest investing in – they are not terribly expensive online! There are tricks online about how to use upside down cookie sheets to create a makeshift pizza stone. Overall in order to get a good crispy crust, you will need to preheat the oven with the surface you will cook the pizza on inside. The oven should be nearly as hot as it goes, around 220ºC for me. Between the first rest and the rise is the best time to set the oven, that way it has about an hour to get warm as well as to get the pizza stone nice and hot.
As time passes, and you’ve watched an episode of whatever you’re binging, you can come back to the kitchen (just before the alarm rings to get your resting dough) and start making the topping. If you feel like a classic red sauce, then go with your gut.
Using the proper potatoes is important here. You want a nice, big yellow potato, and one that is a bit waxy rather than the kind that sort of falls apart when you cut into it. Small potatoes won’t work. Not to name names, but a famous British chef has a recipe for a scantily covered new potato pizza. This is not going to taste anywhere as delicious as this traditional Roman recipe. To get even more of the Roman feel, you can cook your pizza in a rectangular pan after pushing the dough about with your fingers to make sure it spreads. My recipe is based on the materials I have but feel free to adapt this and make it your own. Only, please please do not use new potatoes…
Potato pizza requires slicing the potato very thin. Do not peel the potatoes, but give them a good scrub. Again, if you have a mandolin cutter this will be helpful, but Aaron just sliced our potatoes by hand. Once thinly cut, transfer them into a bowl and pour over some olive oil, enough to really cover them, and salt and pepper. Add in some mozzarella cheese if that is your thing, and mix it all by hand, ensuring all of the slices are good and coated. Again, here we are with another recipe where I have not got exact measurements… follow your gut and do what looks good my friends.
Take your pizza dough, and using your hands or a rolling pin, or both, shape the pizza into a circle. You want to make sure it is big enough to be a pizza, but not too big that it doesn’t fit onto your pizza stone/whatever you will be cooking it on! You can also cook it in a pan, the Roma way (sort of like a focaccia). I have a pizza stone and have not experimented with a pan, but I am sure it is as simple as it looks.
Finally, overlap potatoes across the pizza and drizzle with a bit more olive oil, salt and pepper. You don’t truly NEED a crust for this pizza, but I left a bit of space around all the edges for the traditional look.
Place the pizza in the hot oven and cook for about 11 minutes. Around 5 minutes into cooking, I took some fresh rosemary from the garden and separated the sprigs, and reached into the oven to sprinkle some over top. I didn’t want the rosemary to get too burnt, hence waiting until it was halfway cooked.
Aaron had surprised me with a letterbox bouquet and a nice bottle of white wine, so it was like a proper romantic date night in quarantine. The potatoes were remarkably crispy on top and soft inside, and the very scant amount of cheese and fresh rosemary brought so much attention the amazing flavour of olive oil and potato together. This is such a traditional Roman pizza, it felt like we were back in Rome for a moment, when in January we just wandered the streets and popped into any gelataria or pizza al taglio we passed.
The other two pizzas we made with red sauce and fresh vegetables, and ended up saving one of the pizzas for lunch the following day. Stomachless Rachel ate one half of the potato pizza, and a slice of one of the red pizzas, and then felt very very full and had to lay on the couch in fetal position for a moment. It was well worth the trouble.
Try it at home, and let me know how this pizza comes out for you !
Pizza con Patate e Rosmarino
Pizza Dough Ingredients
- 300g lukewarm water
- 7g sachet of yeast
- 500g flour
- 15-20g salt
- 20g olive oil
Pizza Dough Directions
- Preheat oven to hottest temperature – around 220ºC.
- Combine the yeast with the lukewarm water, and let react for 5-10 minutes, until you can see it is alive.
- In the meantime, mix together flour and salt with your hands.
- Add the water and yeast mix to the flour and salt mix. Add olive oil. Combine and knead for about 10 minutes. Form into a ball. Leave to rest for about 30 minutes in a warm place.
- Come back to the dough and separate the ball into about 200g balls, as evenly sized as possible.
- Let these rest in separate bowls with cling film over top for about an hour (or more) in a warm spot.
- They should be risen by about 20% when you come back to them. You can then roll them and shape into your favourite pizza shape (circle or rectangle).
Potato Topping Ingredients
- This is enough for one pizza, adjust to your liking.
- 1 large yellow potato, scrubbed clean, not peeled, and sliced thinly
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- optional: mozzarella cheese
Potato Topping Directions
- Slice the potato(es) and place into a mixing bowl. Add enough olive oil to coat.
- Add salt and pepper over top. If desired, add a small amount of cheese. Mix with your hands until evenly coated.
- Once the pizza dough is rolled out, place the potatoes in overlapping layers atop the pizza.
- Add more salt/pepper/cheese and olive oil as you see necessary.
- Put in the oven for about 11 minutes. Halfway through cooking, add broken up fresh rosemary sprigs across the top of the pizza.
- Remove from oven, cut, and enjoy!
What is your favourite kind of pizza? Have you ever tried potato pizza? What is your home pizza cooking method?
Let me know in a comment!