What’s this you ask? Potato in a pizza? I did once have potato slices on a pizza! You remember that time Jen? In Paris while we were studying abroad in college. The Egyptian Pizza Boys? wahaha I think it was a rainy night and we were eyeing Domino’s as we were walking back from class but had to refuse and go with Egyptian Pizza Boy’s pizza. We were hanging out while the pizza was cooking in the itty bitty restaurant talking about French. And I remember it because at the time I didn’t know any French except Bonjour and Au Revoir. But somehow the phrase “je ne comprends pas” slipped off my tongue maybe from a movie I’d watched. I had no idea what it meant but loved the rhythm the words made. The streets were completely vacant except me and Jen and two Egyptian’s that made pizza. The streets were wet with fresh rain. There was a eerie glow from the street lamps. It could have been the start of a very weird movie. Maybe one where we ended up in Egypt. But instead we left with a pizza that happened to have sliced potatoes and a fried egg on top (I think I did the ordering). 10 years later and I still remember it- maybe it was the circumstance or eating it huddled around the pizza box in a tiny hotel room but I remember it being damn good.
Over Mother’s Day weekend, it was Italian week at Central Market. A few Italian wines had made it into our kitchen (including a Chianti I had fallen in love with) and Lidia’s Italian was on PBS making a potato pizza. The next day it was on the menu for lunch. This pizza, unlike the one I’d had, did not have sliced potatoes on top but actually inside the dough for the crust. Much like a loaf of potato bread. Completely homemade pizza can take hours when you think about how long it has to rise. But this can be made start to finish in about 2 hours including 35 minutes of baking.
Now here’s something interesting and really important to note (especially for non-potato lovers) – you actually can’t taste the potatoes in the crust. Instead the crust is light and chewy (slightly spongy) but crisp on the bottom, different from your regular pizza crust. I think it’s because the potatoes help retain the moisture.
I couldn’t get a picture of this before two slices suddenly vanished. It smelled SO good!
I strongly recommend doubling the dough recipe and sticking half in the freezer for another night. It’s absolutely that good! The toppings are simple- fresh mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes, with oregano and Parmesan, and olive oil drizzled on top. I added caramelized onions and once it was cooked, a good amount of fresh basil. Have fun with it! Absolutely break it up and do a couple of small pizzas or add on other toppings. To bake it, we happened to have a pizza pan (way cool!). A baking sheet works too!
Adapted from Lidia’s Italian.
1 pound russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to roll out the dough
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces fresh mozzerella
cherry tomatoes (halved). about 6
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup grated oregano
1/4 cup caramelized onions (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Start a pot of water to boil, with enough water to cover potatoes by a couple inches. If you’re using large russet potatoes, cut them into smaller pieces (3-4 inches in size). This will help speed up the cooking. Boil potatoes about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Drain, allow to cool, and then peel. Press them through a ricer. If you don’t have one- try grating the potatoes or mashing them like crazy with a potato masher or fork.
In a bowl, mix together the mashed potatoes, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the egg to form a smooth dough. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Oil a 15×10 baking sheet with olive oil. Roll out the dough to be the size of the baking sheet, using flour to keep it from sticking. Transfer the dough to the sheet.
Top with slices of fresh mozzerella (leave a couple centimeters in between because the cheese will spread as it cooks). Add a couple halved cherry tomatoes and the caramelized onions (if using). Sprinkle with as much oregano and parmesan as you want and add any additional toppings. Drizzle with olive oil.
Bake about 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown on the bottom and cooked through. Top with fresh shredded basil, cut into squares and by-golly you’ve got a pizza!