I grew up making and eating homemade pizza with my famiglia, we rarely ate takeout pizza. Mammina made her pizza dough or she purchased fresh dough at our local Italian market or deli. In the old country, pizza is served and eaten as a snack (merenda) or as part of the evening meal; this is an Italian’s lightest meal of the day.
In Rome and Naples, you will find some of the very best pizza restaurants in all of Italia, my famiglia and I would order pizza at all the pizzerias and cafes in whatever city we were visiting at the time.
I love to make pizza, from the traditional margherita to vegetable and meat varieties. Mammina Loreta and Papa Pierino taught me how to create this white vegetarian pizza, one we love for a light snack or side dish in any season. I learned quickly that just a few fresh ingredients and simple seasonings make the best tasting pizza.
This pizza pares well with charcoal grilled chicken thighs, pork chops or steak with a side of fresh garden vegetable salad using a mix of locally grown organic ingredients and homemade oil and vinegar dressing to taste.
pizza in bianco con patate e rosmarino
2 small garlic cloves (chopped finely)
two sprigs fresh rosemary leaves (chopped)
2-3 stalks fresh parsley (chopped)
small glass of good quality white wine
grated parmigiana reggiano or romano cheeses
Note: Pizza in Italia is very different from what you may be accustomed to in the U.S.; the grated cheese or mozzarella is NEVER loaded on in heavy layers.
All the ingredients are pre-cooked and layered to create the perfect balance between flavorful toppings and the tender, crispy crust.
Most ingredients (spinach, mushrooms, onions, sausage, peppers, etc.) are always sautéed before placing on the pizza, this is one of the only versions where we keep the vegetable raw.
salt and pepper to taste
homemade pizza dough (for one medium thin-crust pizza)
NOTE: See pizza dough recipe below
1 round metal pizza tray (greased with shortening)
Peel and wash potatoes well; dry with a clean dish towel, and using a mandolin, slice them into very thin rounds or use a very sharp knife. Keep the slices about the same thickness for even cooking.
In a bowl of cold water with ice cubes; rinse the sliced rounds to remove some of the starch for about 2-3 minutes. Dry them with a clean dish towel and place in a large mixing bowl.
Add a small glass of white wine and combine. Let the potatoes rest, covered with plastic wrap, for approximately 10 minutes. This allows all the seasonings to soak in creating a fully developed flavor in the finished pizza.
Stretch the pizza dough, pressing it on the tray until you reach all the edges. Be sure the dough is the same thickness and try to keep the edges a bit thicker to create a crispy crust.
Place in a preheated oven on the bottom rack closest to the burner for 20-25 minutes or until the bottom of the pizza is golden brown and crispy.
Move the pizza to the middle of the oven and broil for about 10-15 minutes or until the top is lightly golden. Remove from oven and cut into small pieces and serve immediately.
homemade pizza dough (yields one thin crust round pizza)
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. dry yeast
2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp. warm water
Mix flour and salt in a mixing bowl; set aside. Place 1 cup of the warm water in a measuring cup and mix in the yeast and blend well; set aside until it foams a bit. Using a dough hook (for an electric mixer) or a fork if mixing by hand; mix the yeast and water mixture into the flour mixture and blend well; add in the remaining hot water until a sticky dough forms.
Turn off the mixer and place the dough on a clean table top or large board. Knead for 3-5 minutes until well combined and smooth; form into a round ball. Place some olive oil on a clean paper towel and grease a large deep bowl; place the dough into the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour or so and let rise (keep at room temperature.) Once the dough has doubled in size, remove from the bowl and stretch on to a prepared round metal tray. Now add your choice of all the prepared toppings and bake as directed.
NOTE: You can increase this recipe by 1/3rd to yield two round thin-crust pizzas or approximately 1 large rectangular thicker crust pizza.
6 cups flour
1 1/2 cups + 3/4 cup warm water (plus 3 tbsp. warm water)
3 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/4 tsp. yeast
Follow the mixing directions as noted above.
OPTION: You can bake your pizza on a pizza stone if you prefer vs. a metal tray. Please follow the detailed cooking directions provided by your pizza stone brand maker to gain the best results.
Look for a future post as I am in the early stages of testing the concept of making pizza on the barbecue grill. I enjoy the idea of this cooking method as a unique summer variation. The grill adds a smoky quality when using charcoal and the toppings can be varied depending on your own personal taste and menu.
Note: Photography provided by Carina A. Favale