The triumvirate of Parmesan, potatoes and pesto is why this medley of flavors never goes out of style on pizza. Chef Ruth specs Idaho® red potatoes because they hold their shape and retain moisture through the two-step cooking process.
Paradiso Pizza Dough (yield: two 12-inch pizzas)
1 pound white bread flour, plus as needed
1 1/4 cups water, warm
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Basil Pesto (yield: 1 cup)
3 ounces basil leaves, washed
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup pine nuts, untoasted
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Black pepper, to taste
4 medium (about 2 inches) Idaho® Red potatoes
1 ball Paradiso Pizza Dough (see recipe)
Flour, as needed for the work surface
Cornmeal, as needed for dusting the peel
1/4 cup Basil Pesto (see recipe)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
Olive oil, as needed for drizzling
Paradiso Pizza Dough
Mound the flour on a clean countertop and make a large well (about as wide as your outstretched hand) in the center of the flour. Add the water and yeast to the well and let stand for 5 minutes to dissolve the yeast.
Using the index and middle fingers of one hand, mix the salt and oil into the water. Again using the index and middle fingers, gradually begin to draw the flour from the inside wall of the well into the water, being careful not to break the flour walls. Continue mixing the flour into the water until a loose dough is formed. Using a dough scraper, continue gradually mixing in the remaining flour until the dough forms a ball.
Using even pressure, begin kneading the ball of dough: Push down and away with the heel of your hand. Next, turn the dough a quarter turn. Then take the far edge of the dough and fold it in half onto itself. Push down and away again with the heel of your hand. Again, turn the dough a quarter turn, then fold in half.
Continue kneading (pushing, turning and folding), adding flour as necessary, until the texture is smooth and springs back when you press the dough with your fingertip, about 10 minutes. (Don’t overwork the dough. Be assertive but not aggressive.)
Place the dough in a bowl (no need to oil the bowl) and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut it into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball.
Place the dough balls on a floured plate and cover them with plastic wrap. Let them rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour at room temperature for room-temperature dough, or refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. If you have refrigerated your dough during the first rise, allow for a longer room-temperature second rise of between 2 to 3 hours. If not ready to use, reserve frozen or refrigerated. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before use. Allow refrigerated dough to stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
Place the basil, garlic cloves, and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped, about 30 seconds.
Add the cheese and process until blended, about 15 seconds.
With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and continue to blend until fully combined, about 30 seconds.
Stir in the salt and a few grindings of pepper.
Wash the potatoes. Fill a 2-quart pot with salted water and place the potatoes in the pot. Bring the water to a boil, then lower to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the potatoes from the water and let cool. Slice the cooled potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.
Place a pizza stone on the top rack of a cool oven. Set the oven to broil and preheat for 30 minutes.
On a floured work surface, flatten the dough ball with your fingertips and stretch it into a 12-inch round.
Lay the dough round on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel. Spread pesto onto the pizza dough, leaving 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch of dough uncovered around the outside edge. Arrange the potato slices on top of the pesto. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and salt to taste. Drizzle liberally with oil.
Give the peel a quick shake to be sure the pizza is not sticking to the peel. Slide the pizza off the peel onto the preheated stone in the oven. Broil for 1 minute. Turn the oven temperature to the highest bake setting (ideally 500°F) and cook for 5 minutes, still on the top rack. Quickly open the oven door, pull out the rack and use tongs to rotate the pizza (not the stone) a half turn. Cook until top of pizza is golden, about 5 minutes more.
Using a pizza peel, remove pizza from the oven. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon Parmesan cheese and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Cut into 8 slices and serve.