I visited Rome for the first time last November. As excited as I was to see the Colosseum, Pantheon and Sistine Chapel, I was even more excited to try real Roman food. We had sit-down dinners every night, but I especially loved the Roman street food. I have a thing for hand held food and Rome has an abundance of it: fragrant, hot roasted chestnuts; intensely flavoured, smooth gelato; and crispy pizza à taglio.
Pizza à taglio, or pizza by the slice, is sold everywhere in Rome. Wandering down the street, you’ll see people clutching rectangular slices of pizza wrapped up in wax paper. Just stop into one of the many bakeries, point at the pie that strikes your fancy, tell them how big a slice you want, hand over a couple of Euros and you’ll have a thin, crisp, satisfying snack.
I tried a bunch of different slices with different toppings, but the one I kept returning to was potato bianca. Unlike most other tomato-topped Roman slices, biancas are simply topped with olive oil, salt, and rosemary. Potato bianca are the same, with thinly sliced potatoes added to the mix. It might sound a bit much, pizza topped with potatoes, but it really isn’t. The potatoes are sliced so thin they they basically melt into a creamy layer of potato goodness.
I was happy to re-create my favourite street food at home. Taking a bite took me right back to Rome. I’ll never forget my first look at the Colosseum. We walked the cobblestone streets, the setting sun streaking the sky red and orange. The sun dipped suddenly, and an inky navy blue crept in. The moon rose, giant, looming and pale, and the Colosseum, silhouetted against the sky, looked truly tremendous.
Potato Pizza Recipe
- 1 portion no-knead pizza dough
- 6-8 mini potatoes, sliced paper thin
- 1/2 head roasted garlic, lightly mashed
- 1/4 onion, sliced and lightly sautéed
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
One hour before you want to eat, preheat the oven to its hottest setting, 500-550 F. Dust the dough generously with flour and place on a floured work surface. Gently shape dough into a 9×13″ rectangle. Arrange dough on a floured baking sheet.
Brush olive oil all over the dough and spread the mashed roasted garlic. Layer the potatoes, lightly overlapping. Add the onions and fresh rosemary. Finish with a light sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper.
Bake the pizza until the bottom of the crust is crisp and the top is blistered, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a work surface to slice. Serve with crushed red pepper flakes and enjoy hot.
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