Pizza del Lattaio
If you feel the way I do about potatoes, you are definitely going to fall in love with this simple recipe.
One tip: Save the water used to boil the potatoes, cool it, and use it to make the dough, which will come out even more delicate and delicious. This pizza can be served hot or at room temperature as a first course or appetizer, cut into small wedges and passed around as an hors d'oeuvre or retrieved from the pantry as a midnight snack. Any way you do it, it's equally delectable.
Lattaio in Italian is "milkman," which in this case, I suppose, refers to the fact that there's lots of dairy (three types of cheese) in the recipe. The Asiago and fontina are two lovely semi-hard, fairly mild cheeses from the north, near the Alps. Asiago comes aged anywhere from two to nine months or more; like the pecorino cheeses, it becomes harder, sharper-tasting, and more suitable for grating as it ages. This recipe also features a potato dough, which, along with the three cheeses, gives it a really subtle and irresistible flavor medley.
1-1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 ounces Asiago cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 ounces fontina cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves only
2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Cook the potatoes in lightly salted boiling water until they are easily pierced with a knife. Drain them, mash a quarter of them into a bowl, cut the remainder into small cubes, and reserve.
To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of warm water. Combine with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, salt, and the mashed potatoes. Stir in the flour a little at a time, adding just enough to make a dough that does not stick to the sides of the bowl. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 4 to 5 minutes until it reaches a smooth consistency. (This can also be achieved in an electric mixer with the dough hook.) Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a wet towel or plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 45 minutes.
Roll the dough out into a large circle 1/8 inch thick and about 15 inches in diameter. Place the dough on a pizza stone or baking sheet, sprinkle with the Asiago and fontina, and top with the cubed potatoes. Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top of the pizza, then sprinkle it with fresh pepper, rosemary, and Parmesan. Cover again with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 25 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap, place in the oven, and bake for 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crispy.
David Ruggerio's Italian Kitchen:
Family Recipes from the Old Country
By David Ruggerio
Artisan, May 2000
Color photographs throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created August 2000
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