Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tuscan Potato Pizza

I've been wanting to create a potato pizza since I first discovered such a thing existed. Let me set the scene for you. I'm grabbing a late lunch in downtown B'ham with friends. We're sitting at Mellow Mushroom, and they order a potato pizza, casually, flippantly, like its something they've done a million times. What is potato pizza, say I, confused look on my face. I've never heard of such a thing. Apparently I am the only one. Still thinking the concoction a little strange sounding, I order my own pizza.

Suffice it to say, however many months later, I couldn't tell you what pizza I ordered, but I definitely remember the potato pizza. Tasty and delicious and wonderful and full of all sorts of potato goodness. Driving home, I had best intentions to recreate the recipe that very week. Ahem. Many, many months later, here we are.

Let me make this real simple for you. Start with a base of carbs, layer on more carbs, toss some green, herb-y things on top to feel better about all those carbs. Done and done. Got it?

Ok, really though, despite all the carbs, there's something rustic and wholesome and just plain earthy about this pizza that somehow makes me feel not all that guilty. I mean, I did throw some green in there, right?

Now, this is a significantly different version from the potato pizza I tried at Mellow Mushroom, so if you've ever had that version, don't be misled into thinking this will taste the same. If I recall, that pizza was more loaded baked potato-ish... a zingy chipotle ranch sauce, cheddar cheese, chives...

This pizza, though, this pizza is more Tuscan Italy inspired, if you will. See, I have a confession to make - I went to the farmer's market this weekend, and I went a little crazy. When you're cooking for one, there's really no need to come home with three, huge bags brimming full of assorted produce. Unless you have this odd, compulsive need to buy WHATEVER FRESH PRODUCE IS SET IN FRONT OF YOU. Yeah. I can't help myself, I'm sorry. So when I came home and unloaded the red potatoes and mini yellow onions into the same bowl together and set them next to the huge vase of sunflowers (yes, ok, I'm compulsively addicted to fresh flowers too, you got me) I thought, Italy. Then I thought, Pizza! Then I immediately started searching though my favorite food blogs for the perfect potato pizza recipe. (Also, I started plotting means to get myself back to Rome under the guise of some legitimate need to be there... still working on that...) Here's the version I ended up creating.

Pizza Dough
2 -3 Small Red Potatoes
1 Small Yellow Onion
5 Springs Thyme
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/3 cup Goat Cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese

(servings: 2)

Start with a fist sized amount of pizza dough. (I made this myself, recipe for that to come later.) You can roll it out on the counter with a floured rolling pin, OR stretch it out enough to get it to drape over one knuckle, then start spinning it until its big enough to get it to stretch over both knuckles, then keep spinning until you get the thickness you're looking for. I prefer the second method, makes me feel more, ahem, authentic. Don't ask me why, just does. I also prefer my dough quite thin. But hey, your pizza dough technique is completely up to you.

Place your dough on a pizza stone OR a cookie sheet. I used the latter. I'd love a pizza stone but they're expensive... I've heard that a large terra cotta dish for approx. $15 at Lowe's will work just as well so I'm considering investing. (And yes, $15 is "investing" when you're an English grad student). If and when I do, I'll let you know how that turns out!

First, spread the goat cheese on the dough.

Thinly slice your potatoes and tightly layer them all over your pizza. The thinner the better, you want them to get all nice and crispy in there. And seriously people... ALL OVER. This is potato pizza, don't skimp on the potato!

Thinly slice your onion, and sprinkle it liberally over top the potato layer. Drizzle olive oil over your tuber/veggie topping combo.

Roughly chop thyme and scatter on top. If you don't have thyme, sub in any other herb you darn well please. Rosemary would be delightful. Chives would be delicious. Basil would be... dandy? (Err, running out of "d" words). Basically, anything goes.

Finally, sprinkle parmesan cheese over everything, add a generous shake of freshly ground black pepper, and slide into a 350 oven. Cook for 15 minutes, then for 1 more minute on low broil to perfectly crisp that crust.

When you slide your pizza out, I'd go for an extra sprinkling of parmesan over everything, but you don't have to.

In the spirit of Italy (well, in the spirit of oh-hey-I-have-tomato-in-the-fridge-that-I-need-to-use- up!), I served it up with a quick caprese salad on the side, but an arugula salad, perhaps, would be lovely as well.


  1. I would have loved to see you making this, what with spinning the dough and all...haha. I'll have to try this.

    And your reason to go back to Rome...I haven't been, and I need a buddy. Done. :)

  2. K! We'll go as a side trip while we're living in London for a year ;)

  3. Your cooking reminds me of your Opa...vit a pinch of dis und dat...Viola!!! Sehr gut!!!!

    We will have to try making this. Hey better yet, come on down and create it for us!

  4. if you EVER go to Italy again without me ... >: Take me and we will go to Florence and eat everything.