I was searching for a different type of appetizer for a dinner party on Friday eve and stumbled upon an unusual ‘pizza’ made in the Apulia region of Italy. The name hails from the town of Taranto, located somewhere near the middle of the arch of the Italian boot. The crust is made from potatoes – sort of like a big gnocchi pizza! How fun was this to make! I found recipes that used flour in the crust and others that stuck only to the potatoes so I made up little batches of both to see which I liked better ….they were both yummy. I decided to go with the flatter crust for my dinner party but will definitely give the potato-only crust a whirl at a later date and post. This version is from Rustico, a great cookbook by Micol Negrin, that explores Italian cuisine by region. So if you are having a gnocchi craving, whip up this simple pie to fill the void! Enjoy…
Torta Tarantina di Patate
From Rustico, Micol Negrin
1/2 pound boiling potatoes, peeled
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound fresh Mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch dice, drained in a colander 30 minutes, and blotted dry
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Place the potatoes in a 1-quart pot. Add cool water to cover by 2 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes. Drain, pass through a ricer, and cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
3. Mix the potatoes, flour, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt on a counter until a smooth dough forms, adding a little water if needed to help the dough come together; If the dough is sticky, add a little flour. Roll out into a 12-inch circle on a floured counter.
4. Grease a 12-inch pizza pan with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and line it with the dough. Drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil; top with the tomatoes, cut side down. Season with the oregano, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper. Bake in the preheated oven 15 minutes, or until golden around the edges. Remove from the oven, top with the Mozzarella and Parmigiano, and return to the oven for 10 more minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Serve hot.