A stop by our local panificio, where bread is made and sold, nearly always ended in a piece or two of pizza al taglio along with our loaf of bread. Unlike the round, whole pizzas you order in a pizzeria, pizza al taglio is sold by the slice as street food and in bakeries around town.
Rome is famous for its pizza al taglio, and there are shops that sell literally dozens of varieties. Panifici, however, typically sell just a few types – perhaps pizza bianca with no toppings at all except olive oil and sea salt, pizza rossa with just crust and tomato sauce, pizza con le zucchine with grated zucchini and mozzarella, and one of our favorites – pizza con le patate, or pizza with potatoes and rosemary.
We’ve recreated that pizza at home, and love to make it on a lazy weekend, for family gatherings or for parties. It is delicious right out of the oven, but it tastes great at room temperature too, so it can be made ahead of time.
In our version, paper thin slices of potato and grated fresh mozzarella cheese are layered on top of a thin pizza crust, and the pizza is adorned with fresh rosemary leaves, sea salt and ground black pepper. A drizzle of olive oil is the final touch.
The potatoes cook along with the crust, the mozzarella melts and turns golden brown on top, and the rosemary releases its fragrant aroma. Gotta run – ours looks and smells done!
For the pizza crust
- 320 grams flour, ideally 00 Italian flour or all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 8 grams salt
- 20 grams active dry yeast
- 250 ml warm water
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 and 1/2 medium Yukon or yellow potatoes
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1-2 cloves finely minced garlic
- Ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Mix the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
In a separate container, add the yeast to the warm water. Stir until the yeast is fully dissolved.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Slowly pour the water and yeast in, and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is well mixed. The dough will probably be sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a smooth, well-floured work surface. Mix the dough by hand, incorporating more flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Knead by hand for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
Coat the bottom and sides of a clean bowl with olive oil. Gather the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl, rotating it so that it becomes coated with oil on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm location to rise for one hour.
While the dough rises, prepare your toppings.
Drain the mozzarella and grate it through the largest holes of a grater, or pass it through a food mill.
Wash the rosemary and pull the leaves off of the stems.
Peel the potatoes and slice them very thinly. We use a vegetable slicer at 1/16th inch to help achieve thin, regular slices.
Place the potatoes in a container and cover them with water until you are ready to use them, to keep them from turning brown.
Rub a thin layer of olive oil on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350° F, 180° C.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Punch it down and stretch it into a rectangular shape.
Place it on the baking tray, and using your fingers and the heel of your hand, press it evenly into the baking pan, working it towards the edges and corners while maintaining a consistent thickness.
Layer the potato slices over the entire surface of the pizza, overlapping the slices only slightly at the edges. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the top of the pizza.
Add the finely minced garlic to the pizza.
Salt and pepper liberally, and then toss the rosemary leaves on top.
Complete your pizza with a thin drizzle of olive oil.
Bake at 350° F, 180° C for approximately 20-25 minutes, until the mozzarella browns and the crust turns golden brown.