I have been holding out way too long on giving one of the great Roman pizzas, pizza con potate e rosmarino (which, like most things, sounds much sexier in Italian than the thudful translation of “potato pizza with rosemary”) the adoration-driven revisit it deserves on this site. I first talked about potato pizza here in 2008, but I never felt that the recipe did it justice. Jim Lahey, who had recently blown up everything we knew about making bread with his brilliant no-knead boule, was preparing to open a pizza place and had shared his potato pizza recipe with Martha Stewart, but I’d had trouble with it – the proportions seemed off (not enough potato, a persnickety dough), it was low on details I needed (like how big it was supposed to be), and it had pesky steps (like soaking the potatoes in several changes of ice water, so not fun if one lacks one of those fancy fridges with icemakers). But it wasn’t until went to Rome in 2013 that I realized exactly how far off it was from the ideal. (Don’t worry, Lahey is going to come rescue us in a bit.)
Roman pizza con patate is something else. A soft, almost goopy dough, is neither rolled or even tossed in the air like some sort of cartoon, but stretched, pressed, nudged and patted with oiled or floured fingertips translucently thin into a rimmed rectangular pan. Potatoes that have been soaked in salt water until they’re as floppy as deli slices are spread in many layers all the way to the edges, and even thicker there, as it will get darkest most quickly. From the oven, the crust is chewy and crisp and the most buried layers of potato become soft while the ones on top curl, brown and crisp like potato chips, and yes, that means you can tell everyone you’re eating potato chip pizza for dinner and watch the pangs of envy spread across their face.
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