Makes 2 Pizza
Those who dismiss blue-veined Gorgonzola cheese as too pungent and smelly have not eaten this cheese at its best. Made since the Middle Ages in the town for which it is named, Gorgonzola can be piccante (sharp) or dolce (sweet). The sharper version is firmer in consistency and a straw color. It is made from combining two curds. Gorgonzola dolce is creamy white in texture and color, spreadable, and made from one curd. This pizza with Gorgonzola dolce and sun-dried tomatoes has become one of my husband's favorites. It is a culinary marriage of the region of Lombardia's famous cheese combined with the intense flavor of Campania's dried plum tomatoes in olive oil. Just these two ingredients blanketed over an airy pizza dough made from flour, yeast, and potato water results in a masterpiece.
Start thinking about making this pizza the next time you boil potatoes. Save the water used to boil the potatoes and ½ cup of the mashed potatoes to make the dough. The taste and texture of this dough is so wonderful that it will become a favorite in your house as well. Baking this pizza on a baking stone results in a crispier crust. The baking stone should be preheated for at least 30 minutes before baking.
1 1/2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch-thick pieces
2 cups reserved potato-cooking water
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup reserved mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Filippo Berio olive oil
5 to 5 1/4 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1/2 pound Gorgonzola dolce cheese, rind removed, cut into small pieces
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and cut into small pieces
Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover them with water, and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until fork-tender; drain them and reserve 2 cups of the cooking water and allow to cool to lukewarm.
Mash the potatoes, reserving 1/2 cup for the dough and using the remaining potatoes as a side dish.
Pour the 2 cups reserved potato water into a large bowl or an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir in the yeast and allow the mixture to "proof" for 10 minutes, or get chalky looking with small bubbles on the surface. Mix in the reserved mashed potatoes, salt, and olive oil.
Stir or mix in 1 cup of the flour at a time, mixing well after each addition. Use only enough flour to create a ball of dough that winds around the dough hook if using an electric mixer or comes away from the sides of a bowl if doing this by hand. The dough should be slightly tacky. Resist the temptation to add too much flour.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm but not hot place (about 70ºF) until it has doubled in size.
Punch the dough down with your fist and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes. Divide the dough in half. Work with one piece at a time and roll the dough into a 12- or 13-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a pizza pan or a parchment-lined peel if baking the pizza on a baking stone.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF if baking the pizza on pizza pans, or preheat the oven to 425ºF if using baking stones and do this 30 minutes prior to baking. (If you only have one stone, bake one pizza at a time.)
Distribute half of the cheese over the surface of the pizza and sprinkle on half of the tomatoes.
Repeat the steps with the second piece of dough. Cover the pizze with clean towels and allow them to again rise for about 25 minutes.
If using a baking stone slide the pizza from the peel with the parchment paper and bake until the underneath crust is golden brown and the edges of the pizza have started to brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven with the peel and allow to cool for a few minutes. Cut the pizza with a scissors and serve hot.
Bake the second pizza on the stone as above.
If using pizza pans, bake one on the bottom rack and one on the middle rack, alternating the positions halfway through the cooking process. This should take about 30 to 35 minutes altogether.
Remove the pizze from the oven, cut them, and serve as above.
Note: If you want to bake only one pizza, use only half the topping ingredients called for and freeze the remaining dough in a heavy-duty plastic bag for up to 6 months.
This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA - BRINGING ITALY HOME by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press
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