Friday, March 16, 2012

Smashed potato pizza



Thank goodness it's pizza Friday, yo!  For the past two months or so, Matt and I have gotten into the habit of scarfing down pizza in any shape and  flavor on Friday nights.  

It started harmlessly with a "fend for yourself night" -- aka no set meal planned -- when we both wanted a cheesy pie.  A few clicks later, and we were huddled around the computer tracking the Domino's team's progress making our dinner.  After 30 minutes, our pizza hero arrived and we set up shop in the living room.  Mushroom and roasted red pepper for her, pepperoni and jalapeno for him.  The Ides of March from RedBox for both.  (Great movie, by the way.)

But, not that pizza is expensive, per se, but ordering it every week can definitely add up.  More important than cost is taste.  We l-o-v-e making pizza at home.  It's fresher, less greasy, and exactly how we want it.  

The next week we vowed to use our pizza stone to turn out a masterpiece.

Masterpiece it sure 'nuff was: cheeseburger pizza!  Each subsequent week we face the challenge to come up with a new kind of pie.  There surely have been some great ones and some that make Matt so happy he could cry. 

But you know me and my desire for new and shiny things recipes.  I got to thinking about the pizza I order at restaurants.  At first, nothing really came to mind since I usually opt for items I can't or won't make at home.  Suddenly, it hit me. 

My all-time favorite pizza found in lil ol' Pittsburgh: the smashed potato pizza at Fuel & Fuddle.  A thin and crispy crust slathered with garlicky mashed potatoes, topped with tomatoes, onions, greens, cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon and -- oh hell yes -- buttermilk ranch dressing drizzled all over the pizza. 

How was there ever a question as to what pizza we'd make next?  Duh!  What isn't there to love about this?  Plus, you know, there are vegetables all over the place, so go ahead and feel extra good about this pizza.  It's balanced, for whatever that's worth :)

It's so liberating to finally decode one of your favorite recipes at home.  No more must I trek the 1/2 mile to Fuel & Fuddle to satisfy my craving for smashed potato pizza.  Because I can do it, gasp, better myself!  That's not to say I'll never order it there again since it is still my favorite thing on the menu.  But I feel like a new chapter in my life has begun.  Let's call it pizza pie freedom.

Oh yeah, that's the stuff!

So, this weekend, do yourself a favor and pick up the ingredients to make this pizza.  You'll thank me.  Your friends will thank you.  New friends will applaud you.  And we'll all sing a happy song about the glory of homemade pizza.  It's the American way.

Oh, and have a lovely St. Patrick's Day!

One year ago: Romaine salad with crispy proscuitto and white beans
Two years ago: Apple cider doughnuts 

Smashed Potato Pizza
(makes one 12-inch pie)
-serves 4

A few notes: We used our trusty pizza stone to make this, but one isn't necessary to make your own pizza.  I'll give directions for cookie sheet pizza baking.  If you have questions regarding a pizza stone, ask away and I'll do my best to answer.  If you make pizza as often as we do, I highly recommend buying your own stone -- they're incredibly inexpensive and durable, and produce a crispy crust that'll make you turn up your nose at delivered pizza.

1 pound pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1 cup cooked broccoli, chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon
Ranch dressing, optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (with pizza stone inside, if using) with rack in the lowest position.  If no pizza stone, rub a large rimless baking sheet (or a rimmed one, upside down) with oil.

On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin and your hands to roll and stretch dough into a large rectangle or circle, whatever you prefer.  Transfer to prepared sheet.  (If using pizza stone, be sure to use enough cornmeal between the dough and pan for quick and easy release.)

Warm mashed potatoes slightly in microwave (makes spreading easier) and spread evenly over dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around.  Top with broccoli, onions, tomatoes, cheese, and scatter bacon over top.  Season with salt and pepper.

Bake until crust is golden and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Top with ranch dressing or serve on the side for dipping and enjoy immediately.

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