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Country-Style Pizza with Olives

Pizza Rustica con Olive

Mary Ann Esposito

Makes 1 Pizza or 8 Servings

This savory two-crusted rustic pizza oozing with scallions and two kinds of olives is in answer to a request from viewer Donna Sakowski, who remembered her Italian grandmother making it. What follows is my interpretation. I like to serve it warm and cut into squares as an antipasto accompanied by wine. It also makes a wonderful luncheon item with a salad of arugula, radicchio, and romaine lettuces.

DOUGH

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

FILLING

2 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for greasing baking sheet and dough
2 bunches (8 ounces) scallions, washed and trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 ounces (about 16) colossal Cerignola olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup Niçoise or Gaeta olives, pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon diced jalapeño pepper
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Grinding of black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese

DIRECTIONS

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.

Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan and when it is hot stir in the scallions. Sauté them until they become soft but not brown. Stir in the olives and jalapeño pepper. Add the salt, pepper, and oregano and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease or spray a baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.

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 and work with one piece at a time. Roll the dough out into a 14×12-inch rectangle. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and lightly brush it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread the olive mixture evenly over the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edges.

Roll out the second piece of dough and place it over the filling. Seal the edges of the dough by folding the edges of the top dough over the edges of the bottom dough. Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly over the top, then sprinkle the cheese over the sesame seeds. Make an X in the center of the top with a scissors. Cover and let rise 20 minutes.

Bake the pizza for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the dough is nicely browned on the top and bottom. Remove the pizza with a wide metal spatula to a cooling rack. Cut into 2-inch squares while warm and serve.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA - BRINGING ITALY HOME by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2001.

item recipe is featured in Episode 1122 of Season 11.

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This collection epitomizes the tradition and love that goes into all of Mary Ann Esposito's cooking. Like her award-winning TV series, this book will live on for years with all of those who cook her delicious recipes. My kids love everything Mary Ann cooks!"

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