Sunday, October 26, 2014

Twice Baked Potato Pizza With Bacon and Scallions....Absolute Sin!!

I love pizza! Yes that savory Italian pie that has captured America's heart is also dear to mine. My love for it is all wrapped up in my own personal food history with it.

I have early memories of my Mom and Dad making pizza on weekends at home for us when we were to cash strapped as a young naval family to go out to pizza parlors.

I have later memories of eating at a specific pizza place we would go to when I was in 6th or 7th grade in Vienna, Virginia in the Washington DC area before we would go to the movies as  a family.

I also have memories of gathering around the tables of the local Pizza Hut restaurant with pitchers of soda pop and communally shared pies after youth group meetings in High school every Sunday night.

I have memories of dirt cheap and in retrospect awful pizza in college, as well as my memory of my first "real" pizza in Italy when I traveled there for the first time as a very young man.

And recently I have enjoyed living in NYC, where good old fashioned New York Pizza mixes freely with artisan pie establishments. Pizza is easy, good, cheap and yummy. And unless you are on a diet or have some dietary issues it's like my Italian friend says, "Who doesn't like Pizza?"

Now things have come full circle for me as I  love making pizza and home these days. Mostly because it's so easy and you can try all sorts of things So obviously I love the fact that nowadays for the home you can easily buy either pizza dough or really good prepared par baked crusts and flatbread doughs. These make creating a great home pizza that much easier because you can focus on the toppings and not worry so much about the crust. And lets face it it's the toppings that are the best part of any pizza.

I have a great old time recipe for home dough on the blog if you want one but I am using these pre-baked crusts from the store lately and I love them. This recipe came about as a result of having my Italian friend Angelo Musco the now actually famous modern artist over for dinner. He and I are always trying to do things that are special each time we host each other and other friends for dinner. So this pizza recipe was my way of doing something a little bit special. It also took the onnis off of me for having to produce anything remotely traditionally Italian. This is because he has such strong opinions about the food of his homeland I am remiss to try and rise to that standard. But twist it, turn it out a little bit differently and that's OK. I don't get the eye!

This recipe came into my mind because we had had twice baked potatoes at an event for work that week and it got me to thinking about the baked potato pizzas I had read about in the media as happening at certain restaurants around the country. But I wanted to do it a step beyond what I had seen in the media. No mashed potatoes for my pizza, no this would be the twice baked miracle variety I love so much.

So a twice baked potato can be simple or elevated. I love them, they are my favorite way of making baked potatoes. So I figured why not just put that on a pizza with some smokey bacon and fresh scallions and call it a day. But to elevate the filling I took a cue from my favorite mashed potato, the colcannon irish mash. Potatoes colcannon are mashed potatoes filled with the usual suspects, butter, cream but with the addition traditionally of sauteed cabbage and onions. I decided to make my filling with butter, cream, creamed leeks and cheese. Rich and satisfying.

TO make the pizza it could not be easier. You simply slather the top of your dough with the potato mixture and bale it till bubbly and slightly browned. Then top it with the smoky bacon bits and chopped scallions. Easy as pie. pizza pie that is. So here is the recipe, enjoy you all.

Twice Baked Potato Pizza

You will need:

4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes or Golden or German Butter potatoes
2 leeks white and light green parts only
1/2 cup soft goats cheese
1/4 stick butter
whole milk about 1/4 cup
1/2 cup white sharp cheddar cheese
3 strips applewood smoked bacon cut up into strips and cooked off
3-4 scallions chopped both white and green parts
Taleggio Cheese 1/2 cup cut into small pieces
Rosemary leaves abour 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped
truffle oil to taste

To make potatoes: (Will make about 2 small to medium pizzas)
Peel and chop and boil then while hot mash with the other ingredients, first the butter then milk then goat cheese and cheddar then fold in leeks. Then cool mixture to RT.

To make the leeks:
Chop leeks into "coins" and saute in butter till soft and silken

To make the pizza

I purchase a predone flat bread or pizza crust for this. It is the easiest way to make this at home. Trader Joe's has a good one but you can buy any brand and use it.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and oil a pizza pan

Spread potato mixture over the crust generously but don't go crazy! Then dot the top with the taleggio, bacon and white parts of the scallions and rosemary.

Bake for 14 to 18 minutes till slightly browned.

Remove from the oven sprinkle the top with the scallion pieces and top with the truffle oil lightly.

Serve immediately

Enjoy this, as a friend who tried it said " it's like eating absolute sin". And it is!  Enjoy Ya'll!