Patriots' Potato Pizza

Like most Italian families, my mom did the cooking, my dad did the eating. There were however certain culinary “events” that my dad performed with gusto such as pickling, canning, and making homemade pasta. For a period in the mid-90’s, he started making pizzas, really good pizzas. One Sunday, most likely during a Patriots game, he came up with the idea for potato pizza. It was a hit then and continues to score touchdowns with everyone who eats it.

By the way, the Patriots beat San Diego today. I have mixed emotions. Growing up in Rhode Island, it was mandatory to root for the Patriots. Plus my Dad would’ve grounded me if I didn’t. Yet, Jeff and I have become Chargers’ fans and would have liked to see them win today. Actually, we’re already over it. This seems to be the way things are here in Southern California; when a professional sports team loses, it’s like, “So, you wanna go to the beach now?” Not so in New England. Take when the Red Sox lost to the Mets in ’86 for example. Jeff's family barely spoke for a week; there were no words for their grief. So, it’s probably a good thing that the Patriots won.

Having gotten completely frustrated with San Diego’s abysmal performance today, Jeff and I took a walk after the game. When we returned home, the answering machine was flashing “1 new message.” We hit play and heard my dad's voice: “What’s the matter Doc, you taking some aspirin for your headache after that great New England win over your unbeatable Chargers?” Did I also mention that New England fans rarely gloat?

Since Dad was on my mind today, I thought I’d make his potato pizza (the next best thing to watching the game with him). I used blue and white potatoes because I think it makes the pizza more visually appealing. Of course, I just realized that blue and white are the Patriots’ colors. Hmmm, maybe I subconsciously wanted them to win after all.

DAD’S POTATO PIZZA1 pound pizza dough
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 shallot, sliced
¼ cup shredded part-skim milk mozzarella cheese
2 small potatoes of your choice, preferably a firmer variety
¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Wash potatoes and pat dry. Microwave the whole potatoes for 2-3 minutes until soft enough to handle but firm enough to cut so they won’t crumble. Cut into ¼ inch-thick slices.

Heat half the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; add shallots; cook 4-5 minutes until slightly browned.

Preheat oven (see temps below). Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a sheet of parchment paper (if using a stone) or to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush dough lightly with remaining olive oil. Place a thin layer of shredded mozzarella on the dough, then arrange potato slices on top. Season well with salt and pepper. Add crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese, and lightly press it down with your hands.

For a pizza stone, bake at 500 degree for about 10 minutes, or until both the top and bottom of the crust is brown and the cheese is melted.

For a baking sheet, bake at 450 for about 20 minutes, or until both the top and bottom of the crust is brown and the cheese is melted. Let it cool for a couple of minutes before slicing.

Before serving, sprinkle pizza slices with chopped fresh rosemary and a bit more fresh ground black pepper.

TIP: Boiling the potatoes makes them too moist which leads to a soggy crust. Ugh. Microwaving or baking them are better bets. Also, adding the fresh rosemary after removing the pizza from the oven helps to maintain its color and flavor.


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