Cook the Book: Pizza Patate

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

This week we have been featuring breads from My Bread by Jim Lahey but aside from bread baking, Lahey has another passion: pizza. Located dangerously close to the Serious Eats World Headquarters, Co. turns out some of the best wood-fired pizzas around. Served with the disclaimer, "Our pies are not always round," Lahey's pizzas come out of the oven with a wonderful char and are topped with beautiful seasonal ingredients and buffalo mozzarella.

Lahey's approach to pizza is decidedly Italian: combine great dough with toppings that are simple, clean, and light. This Pizza Patate isn't one that you'd find in your local pizza shop, but is traditional in many Italian bakeries that also sell slices.

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What really struck me about the Basic Pizza Dough recipe used for this pie was its elastic quality and ability to be stretched very thin. The pizzas that I have made at home in the past have always veered to the thicker end of things, but this one was paper thin. The bottom of the crust browned perfectly and evenly and had a even crispness that none of my previous efforts had achieved.

The thinly sliced potatoes, onions, olive oil, and rosemary made for a topping that was simple but beautifully flavored. If you have leftover dough, Lahey provides a variation on this recipe using sweet potatoes in place of the Yukon Golds, a combination that sounds absolutely delicious.

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Pizza Patate

- One 13-inch-by-18-inch pie; 8 slices -

Adapted from My Bread by Jim Lahey.

Cook the Book: Pizza Patate

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About This Recipe

This recipe appears in: This Week in Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 quart (800 grams) lukewarm water
  • 4 teaspoons (24 grams) table salt
  • 6 to 8 (1 kilo) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup (100 grams) diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1/3 cup (80 grams) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 recipe (400 grams) Basic Pizza Dough (recipe follows)
  • About 1 tablespoon (2 grams) fresh rosemary leaves
  • 3 3/4 cups (500 grams) bread flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons teaspoons (10 grams) instant or other active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon (10 grams) table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon plus a pinch (about 3 grams) sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups (300 grams) room temperature (about 72°F) water
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for the pans

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat the oven to 500°F, with a rack in the center.

  2. 2

    In a medium bowl, combine the water and salt, stirring until the salt has dissolved. Use a mandoline to slice the potatoes very thin (1/16 inch thick), and put the sliced directly into the salted water so they don't oxidize and turn brown. Let soak in the brine for 1 1/2 hours (or refrigerate and soak for up to 12 hours), until the slices are wilted and no longer crisp.

  3. 3

    Drain the potatoes in a colander and use your hands to press out as much water as possible, then pat dry. In a medium bowl, toss together the potato slices, onion, pepper, and olive oil.

  4. 4

    Spread the potato mixture evenly over the dough, going all the way to the edges of the pan; put a bit more topping around the edges of the pie, as the outside tends to cook more quickly. Sprinkle evenly with the rosemary.

  5. 5

    Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the topping is starting to turn golden brown and the crust is pulling away from the sides of the pan. Serve pizza hot or at room temperature.

  6. 6

    Basic Pizza Dough

  7. 7

    - enough for two 13-inch-by-18-inch pie; 8 slices -

  8. 8

    In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until well blended, about 30 seconds. The dough is a bit stiffer than the others in this book, not as wet and sticky. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

  9. 9

    Oil two 13-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheets. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape half of the dough into an oiled pan in one piece. Gently pull and stretch the dough across the surface of the pan, and use your hands to press it evenly out to the edges. If the dough sticks to your fingers, lightly dust it with flour or coat your hands with oil. Pinch any holes together. Repeat with the second piece. The dough is ready to top as you like.

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