PESTO PIZZA WITH ROASTED GARLIC & POTATO

Mention potatoes on pizza and you’ll get one of two responses. From the folks who’ve tried it, you can expect an enthusiastic thumbs up. From everyonce else: a resounding “huh?” That’s the thing about pizza with potato – it sounds strange, until you try it, and then you just get it.

Tasting the ‘You Say Potato’ slice for the first time at Escape from New York Pizza on Haight Street in San Francisco was this moment for me.  Still in high school at the time, far out pizza toppings went about far as bacon and clams as in my Dad’s favorite New Haven-style pie from Pepe’s in New Haven, Connecticut.  A diehard pepperoni fan, I was blown away by the idea of putting a potato on a pizza.  Actually I probably wouldn’t have tried it had my vegetarian buddy not touted it as being “the best” slice of pizza he’d ever eaten.  He was right. Tender yet toothsome potatoes and savory whole-roasted garlic cloves come together in a one of a kind pesto pizza experience.

Over a decade later, I finally got around to trying it at home.  Don’t wait as long as I did; add this unbeatable flavor combination to your pizza-making repertoire now.  Then when someone mentions potatoes on a pizza, you’ll know.

PESTO PIZZA WITH ROASTED GARLIC & POTATO

Inspired by the You Say Potato Slice at Escape from New York Pizza, San Francisco

As the addition of potatoes are what really sets this pizza apart, it is important to make sure they are cooked and seasoned properly before they go on top of the pie.  To ensure that the potatoes are cooked all the way through when the pizza comes out of the oven, I blanch them in boiling water, just until they lose their crunch.  After draining them off, toss them them with a bit of leftover oil from the roasted garlic, sprinkle with herbs and a bit of salt and they’ll be ready to shine. By the way, making this a second time I added in crumbled bacon I had lying around and it was excellent; I highly recommend it to my pork-loving comrades.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 24 ounces homemade or store-bought pizza dough, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • About 1 cup homemade pesto (or store-bought)
  • 2-3 cups grated mozzarella/provolone cheese
  • 1 cup roasted or confit garlic cloves (recipe below)
  • 4 red skinned potatoes, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

METHOD:

  1. Place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 500°.  Allow the stone to heat for at least half an hour before baking pizzas.
  2. Allow the pizza dough to come to room temperature.  On a lightly-floured work surface, form the dough into two large balls, collecting the sides and tucking them under to create a smooth outer surface.  Cover the dough with a damp towel and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, blanch the potato slices in boiling water until just cooked through, anywhere between 1 – 2 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool slightly before drying the slices with paper towels and coating them with a touch of olive oil, a pinch of Italian seasoning and kosher salt.
  4. Generously dust a wooden peel or the back of a sheet pan with flour or cornmeal. With lightly-floured hands, press the dough with your fingertips to form a flattened disk.  Lift the dough up and use the back of your knuckles to stretch and thin-out the dough into a circle with a diameter of 12-inches. Be careful to preserve the edge of the dough if you want a light, chewy crust. Carefully position the stretched dough onto the prepared peel or baking sheet.
  5. Using a large spoon, spread an even layer of the pesto onto the dough and carefully spread it to within 1/2-inch of the edge, being careful to leave a sauce free edge.  Top with an even layer of the grated mozzarella/provolone cheese followed by slices of parboiled potatoes and roasted garlic cloves.  Top with a light sprinkling of a bit more mozzarella, season with salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Lightly brush the exposed crust with a bit of olive oil (or leftover garlic) oil to promote browning.
  6. Carefully slide the pizza onto the preheated stone and bake until the crust is crisped and golden and the cheese is bubbling and just beginning to brown, about 6-7 minutes.  Remove the pizza from the oven and allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Makes enough for 2 pizzas

Roasted or Confit Garlic

In this recipe I like to confit the garlic cloves as opposed to roast them whole in an effort maintain the integrity of the garlic.  If you have some roasted garlic cloves laying around or prefer to roast a head of garlic wrapped in foil, feel free to do that instead.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 or 2 head of garlic, broken down into individual cloves and peeled
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300.  Add the peeled garlic cloves to a small saucepan and pour in olive oil until just barely covered.  Add a pinch of Italian seasoning and Kosher salt and roast in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until golden brown and soft.  Remove the saucepan from the oven and allow the garlic confit to cool.  Remove garlic cloves and store infused oil in the fridge for up to a week for another dishes.
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  1. This looks amazing!!! I have yet to try potatoes on pizza, but won’t hesitate now after seeing this!

  2. Potatoes on pizza!? Brilliant! I’m trying this out this weekend for sure :)

  3. I saw your beautiful photo on Food Gawker and had to come and take a look at your blog. Pizza is hard to photograph, I think, but you have it mastered!

    • uliana
    • April 24th, 2010

    I am trying this tonight, since I am having a grilling pizza party, the weather here in CT is perfect for it, and by the way I go to Pepe’s all the time, and I do love the White Clam pizza there, mmmm!!!!

  4. I’m part of the THIRD camp: I’ve never tried potatoes on pizza, but I think it sounds fantastic! Your pizza looks perfect.

  5. I’ve had potatoes on pizza…and it was SCRUMPTIOUS. I adore all of these flavours. I think I’m going to be dreaming about this pizza tonight!! :)

    • mjf
    • April 25th, 2010

    Now that’s a pizza!

  6. I love pizza with potatoes and your version with pesto is especially appealing.

  7. This looks amazing. This is my first visit to your blog. I love it!

  8. THANK YOU! .. for this recipe. With your guidance, I was finally able to get my dough to a normal looking circular crust. My husband proclaimed it was the best pizza I’ve made (he said even better than Mozza.. what a compliment to you!) and it brightened my day!
    I’ll be back for more :)

  9. Holeee shit – this is brilliant. I’m absolutely trying this ASAP. Never would’ve thought of potatoes on pizza man, that is epic.

    Thanks for the great find, love the blog.

    • New Haven Resident
    • May 13th, 2010

    And speaking of New Haven pizza, you have to try mashed potato pizza. That’s the best.

  10. Just looking at this is making me so hungry! Delicious!

    • Emily
    • June 12th, 2010

    So, I made this yesterday, AH-MAZING. Better today though, the flavor is off the chart! Used turkey bacon, and cheddar instead of provolone. Thank you so much! (oh, and if you just follow the dough’s instructions instead of letting it rise, the taste, and texture is way better, just sayin… =))

    • Pamela
    • September 5th, 2010

    Made this last night for a group of people and it was a HUGE hit! We used the leftover garlic olive oil from the confit and made garlic fried potato chips. It is BETTER than the one from Escape from New York!!!

    • erin
    • November 18th, 2010

    This za looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jacqui
    • January 7th, 2011

    Potato on pizza is divine.

    To really improve the experience, try adding sliced pumpkin and/or feta cheese as well.

    • Mandie
    • February 12th, 2011

    This past December, we had the pleasure of trying the Golden Potato pizza at the Plaza Food Hall in New York. It had the thinnest possible rosemary crust and was topped with caramelized onion, yukon potatoes, fontina cheese and crème fraiche. I also had chargrilled asparagus with preserved lemon that almost made me cry, it was that good. So if any New Yorkers would like to try potato on pizza without making it themselves, the Food Hall’s the place to go.

    • Daryl R
    • March 29th, 2011

    Potato on pizza is great…I used to et foccacia with potato and sea salt (Terra breads in Vancouver) and oh my god it is so delicious…

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