Chef Ruth Gresser
Potatoes, Parmesan cheese and pesto combine for a different take on pizza that spud fans will enjoy. Chef Ruth Gresser of Pizzeria Paradiso suggests using red potatoes and putting them through a two-step cooking process to better hold their shape and retain moisture. Pesto can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator or freezer to speed the preparation of this pizza.
Paradiso pizza dough
1 lb. white bread flour, plus as needed
1¼ cups warm water
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 oz. basil leaves, washed
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup untoasted pine nuts
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Black pepper, to taste
4 medium red potatoes
1 ball pizza dough (recipe above)
Flour, as needed for work surface
Cornmeal, for dusting the peel
1/4 cup basil pesto (recipe above)
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
Olive oil, as needed for drizzling
1. For pizza dough, mound flour on clean countertop and make a large well (about
as wide as your outstretched hand) in center. Add water and yeast to well; let stand 5 minutes to dissolve yeast.
2. Using the index and middle fingers of one hand, mix the salt and oil
into water. Gradually begin to draw flour from inside wall of well into the water, being careful not to break flour walls. Continue mixing flour into water until a loose dough forms. Using a dough scraper, continue gradually mixing in remaining flour until dough forms a ball.
3. Using even pressure, begin kneading ball of dough. Continue kneading for about 10 minutes, pushing, turning and folding, adding flour as necessary, until texture is smooth and springs back when pressed.
4. Place dough in bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in refrigerator.
5. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Cut it into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Place dough balls on a floured plate and cover them with plastic
wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour at room temperature for room-temperature dough.
6. Meanwhile, prepare basil pesto: in food processor, combine basil, garlic and pine nuts. Process until finely chopped, about 30 seconds. Add cheese and process until blended, about 15 seconds. With motor running, slowly add olive oil and continue to
blend until fully combined, about 30 seconds. Stir in salt and a few grindings of pepper.
7. Wash the potatoes. Fill a 2-quart pot with salted water and add potatoes; bring to a boil. Lower to simmer over medium heat. Cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and let cool.
8. Slice cooled potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place a pizza stone on top rack of a cool oven. Set oven to broil and preheat for 30 minutes.
9. On floured work surface, flatten dough ball with fingertips and stretch into a 12-inch round. Lay dough round on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel. Spread pesto over dough, leaving ½- to 3/4 inch of dough uncovered around outside edge. Arrange potato slices on top of pesto; sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and salt to taste. Drizzle liberally with oil.
10. Slide pizza off peel onto preheated stone in oven; broil for 1 minute. Turn oven temperature to highest bake setting (ideally 500 F) and cook for 5 minutes. Quickly open oven door, pull out rack and use tongs to rotate pizza (not the stone) a half turn. Cook until top of pizza is
golden, about 5 minutes longer.
11. With pizza peel, remove pizza from oven. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon Parmesan cheese and drizzle with little more olive oil. Cut into 8 slices and serve.
Photograph courtesy of Idaho Potato Commission