Sunday, February 10, 2008

Keep it delicious

Life is good. Have you ever seen those t-shirts and hats emblazoned with this little message? When someone wearing one of these walks by me, I have to take a mental step back and re-adjust - confess that, yeah, I guess it is. I'm just not used to seeing public declarations that are so unabashedly optimistic. It's nice. Like someone out there knows that we need a little reminder now and then. Even if there are some bad times here and there (and there are), it's nice to take a minute or two during the day and think about something good in your life. Some days this might seem harder than others, when you have to stretch that power of thought just a little farther to find it, but most of the time it's there. Life is definitely good. On a day when you tuck into a lunch of potato and rosemary pizza with a lazy sweep of olive oil you might not need to search any further to drive that sentiment home.

It starts with a delicious and easy recipe for pizza dough - now don't be frightened away, this one can be done entirely in your mixer (and by hand if you don't have one) and pretty soon you're pulling pizza out of the oven. Life is also good when you can eat pizza that tastes awesome and actually doesn't have one speck of cheese in the recipe. [The dough is happy to hold anything you desire, so if you're in the mood for cheese and dietary restrictions don't rule it out, then by all means make something that's all your own, and make it fabulous.]

Some of you may have never tried pizza like this, and so we hope you take the chance for a detour from the traditional red sauce and mozzarella; we think you'll really like it. We first had this in Italy, intrigued because it was so different from any notion of pizza we'd had before. And as they say, when in Rome....we just couldn't not try it! The flavors are straightforward and uncomplicated with no distractions from the smooth, mellow, comforting flavors. A simply beautiful combination. The dough is soft with a gentle chew, a perfect bed for tender potatoes, a sprinkling of fragrant fresh rosemary, the full-bodied mince of garlic, and a softening brush of golden olive oil to help everything settle in and get comfortable together. We like to pair this with a green salad that's been dressed with a light splash of red wine vinaigrette. Yes, life is good - keep it delicious.

Potato and Fresh Rosemary Pizza

One pizza serves 3 to 4 people

2 1/2 c lukewarm water
2 T sugar
2 T yeast
1 T salt
6 c flour (spooned into the measuring cup and leveled with a knife for accurate measuring)
1 t olive oil
Salt (Kosher or coarse is recommended if you have it)

In mixer (or large bowl if you don't have a mixer) combine the water, sugar and yeast. Allow to sit and proof for about 10 minutes. It will look foamy and have increased in volume. Add the salt and 3 cups of the flour and combine thoroughly with the beater attachment. Change to the dough hook attachment and add the remaining three cups of flour. Process in the mixer until well combined. Allow the dough to rest for ten minutes and beat it down. Repeat this process five more times for a total elapsed time of 60 minutes.

Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and divide into four equal parts. Take one of the sections of dough and roll it out into the desired shape with a roughly 1/3-inch to 1/4-inch thickness - otherwise the finished result will be too thick and pillowy. Lay the dough on a sprayed cookie sheet or pizza stone and pour the teaspoon of olive oil over it, brushing it over the entire surface with a pastry brush or fingertips. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Place potato mixture (recipe follows) on the surface of the pizza and bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes on the bottom rack, or until the potatoes begin to brown lightly around the edges. [You can use all or part of this potato mixture on one pizza, according to your taste. Just make additional potato mixture if you need more.]

Potato Mixture:
Makes enough for 1 to 2 pizzas, depending on how closely you lay out your potatoes

2 lb waxy potatoes, cooked and peeled, red, white, or Yukon Golds [you can use basic baking potatoes if that's all you have on hand, they just won't retain their shape or texture as well]
2 t chopped fresh rosemary (you can use 1 tsp dried if you can't get fresh, but once you've tried fresh you'll agree that the taste is out of this world)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t salt
Fresh ground pepper
1T olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the potatoes for 35 to 40 minutes until they just barely give (not completely done). Peel the potatoes. Slice potatoes very thinly (1/8-inch thick) and place in bowl ; add the rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss gently with olive oil to coat.

Red Sauce (for those who are also making some traditional pizza)

1 15-oz can good quality tomato sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 T chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp coarse salt, if needed

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Spoon onto pizza in desired amount.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

yum! I was already thinking pizza for dinner tonight and this just did me in - now to dial or bake it myself, that's the big questions :)