My husband finds my ability to point out other people’s inconsistencies irritating. One of my favourites is how it is generally accepted in Italy to find it repulsive to order a cappuccino in the afternoon. The claim is that the milk and coffee combination hinders digestion. However I am yet to be given a good reason why it is perfectly acceptable to order an affogato (gelato (ice cream) covered with a shot of espresso) after lunch or even dinner. Apparently freezing the milk first does not cause indigestion? (By the way, I also don’t drink cappuccino after 11 am so some part of me must agree despite my unwillingness to accept there is anything wrong with it.)
Nevertheless, I do agree that combinations such as pasta and chips are intolerable and I fully accept the explanation of a double carb overload. I remember the first time I went to New York City in the early 90’s, one of the things I will never forget is seeing lasagne on a pizza and spaghetti on a pizza. Never say never, but I hope to never see those in Italy. Meanwhile in England, some pubs seem to think that everything can be served with chips (French fries) – lasagne and chips is a classic item on a menu. While I do not accept the combination of pasta and chips, I fully accept that my intolerance based on it being double carbs is completely inconsistent with my love for pizza topped with potato (and dare I say pasta boiled with potato such as trofie al pesto). Dubious though you skeptics may be about the authenticity of potato pizza, it is delicious and it is Italian.
This summer I baked at the Bitega du Pan, a bakery in Diano Marina in Liguria, making the most delicious examples of focaccia using classic combinations. I had several favourites amongst them: ricotta, anchovy, courgette/zucchini flowers, mozzarella and marjoram; spicy nduja salami, spicy salami, chilli oil, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and capers; sugar, cooked oranges and rosemary; balsamic caramelised onions, raisins, pine nuts and anchovies; gorgonzola cheese and honey; fig and salami and, you guessed it, potato and rosemary. If you go to Liguria, do stop in Bitega du Pan to enjoy their amazing breads. Until then enjoy this crispy, gooey, completely delicious recipe at home.
Happy Halloween, All Saints’ Day (Ognissanti) and All Souls’ Day (Giorno dei Morti) this week!
Pizza con patate e rosmarino (rosemary and potato pizza)
1 recipe pizza dough
2 large potatoes, rinsed
40 mls extra-virgin olive oil
2 branches rosemary, rinsed, dried and leaves removed
250 grams mozzarella cheese, torn
150 mls single cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 250 C or as hot as your oven will go. Add a baking stone or a sheet pan inverted to the oven while it heats.
Boil the potatoes in salted water until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain and let cool. Slice into 3 to 5 mm thick rounds.
Pull the pizza dough into a round shape and place it on parchment paper. Place the potatoes on top of the dough, drizzle the top with olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt and some of the rosemary. If you have no aversion to dairy, then drizzle the top with the cream to keep it moist. Bake for 10 minutes on the hot baking stone or inverted pan. Add the mozzarella and bake until melted and golden, 5 to 10 minutes.