Friday, June 13, 2008


Here’s my excuse for not posting in a month:

My oven was broken for four weeks, people. Then the electrician finally arrived…and took it away, leaving behind a gaping, cat-enticing hole in the wall of my kitchen. Sure, it’s possible to cook ovenlessly, and I did so, bravely soldiering on preparing meals on the stovetop day after day, but it’s amazing how many of the exciting new recipes I’d been wanting to try required an oven. Suddenly all my food cravings were for precisely what I couldn’t make: pizza, cookies, roasted chicken and vegetables. So when my darling vintage Thermador was returned to me, fully functional (they even fixed the broiler, which had been broken for about two years), not surprisingly my zeal for cooking (and writing about it) came roaring back too.

Of course it seemed appropriate to inaugurate the rejuvenated ol’ oven with a new pizza recipe. I was already aware that potatoes are great on pizza; pesto and potatoes are a natural pair, and I just happened to have some homemade pesto in my freezer, so when I saw this pizza at Eggs on Sunday (just one of the delicious ideas in the “Friday Night Pizza” feature), I went for it. And it was my kind of pizza: super-delicious, super-easy. I might have gotten a little overenthusiastic with the oven, because everything on my pizza turned out very browned—tastily so, but it’s easier to distinguish all the ingredients in Eggs on Sunday’s photo than in mine. I added some extra basil because I wanted to use it up; it was fine but unnecessary. The only thing I’d really do differently next time would be to use fresh mozzarella. Just for expediency, I went with the shredded mozzarella I keep in my freezer for ordinary pizza-making, but with its higher moisture content, I think fresh mozzarella would work much better here. Potatoes are so starchy and there’s no actual sauce on the pizza (the pesto pretty much bakes into the dough), so even though it was completely delectable, I will say the texture was on the dry side. Fresh mozzarella would have made things a little gooier.

1 ball pizza dough (about 1 lb)
2 medium or 1 large red potato, thinly sliced (to about ⅛-inch thickness)
About ½ cup pesto
Grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place the thinly sliced potatoes in a medium bowl. Drizzle them with some olive oil, and toss in a good pinch or two of coarse salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through. You want the potatoes to be just barely tender (not mushy); they’ll cook more when you put them on the pizza.

3. Remove the potatoes from the oven and raise the heat to 500 degrees. Stretch out your ball of pizza dough and lay it out on a baking sheet that’s been generously dusted with cornmeal.

4. Spread the pesto out all over the pizza dough. Top with the slices of potato, arranging them in a single layer. Sprinkle the pizza with a little grated Parmesan, then top it with torn pieces of fresh mozzarella. Bake for about 8–10 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted.

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes

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