Making pizza from scratch can be intimidating if you view homemade dough as the enemy. This easy recipe, which appears in Lidia Bastianich's new cookbook, "Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking," solves that problem with potatoes. Mixed with flour, mashed potatoes make a soft, pliable dough that's surprisingly easy to handle. Yet it still has all the flavor and feel of traditional pizza.
I substituted sun-dried tomatoes for fresh and went a little heavy on the Parmesan. Terrific reheated in the oven for lunch.
1 pound russet potatoes
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
2 teaspoons baking powder
2½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for cookie sheet
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
4 cherry or other small tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put whole unpeeled potatoes in a pot with water to cover by a couple of inches and bring to simmer. Cook potatoes until they are easily pierced with a knife but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly then peel, press through a ricer onto a sheet pan and let cool completely.
Scrape potatoes into a bowl and sift over them the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in egg to make a smooth dough. (I had to add a few drops of water.) Oil a 15-by-10-inch cookie sheet with olive oil. On a floured surface, roll dough out to a rectangle almost as large as the cookie sheet. (If dough is difficult to roll, roll between layers of parchment paper.) Transfer to cookie sheet and press dough out to almost reach the edges of the pan.
Top dough evenly with mozzarella, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Top with sliced tomatoes, then drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with dried oregano and grated cheese. Bake until crust is brown on the bottom and cooked through, about 35 minutes. Allow pizza to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before cutting into squares to serve.
Serves 4 to 6.
-- "Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking" by Lidia Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali (Alfred A. Knopf, Oct. 2013, $35)
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