East Anglian twist on an Italian classic

Make our easy pizza bianco made using ingredients from the East of England Co-op Sourced Locally ran

Make our easy pizza bianco made using ingredients from the East of England Co-op Sourced Locally range. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Archant

When friends ask me 'what was your holiday like?' I'm unlikely to recount stories of art galleries, museums and gardens. My response will more often than not be an animated description of everything I ate!

After a trip to Rome a couple of years ago people wanted to know what the Tivoli gardens were like. Did I go to the Pantheon? How was the Vatican? But all I could think to tell them about was the dreamy bowl of pasta I had at Da Francesco of Via Della Fossa - draped with herb perfumed lardo. Or there was the fresh ciabatta, brimming with porchetta.

But, more importantly, I'd tell them of my newfound appreciation for piazza bianco – that is, pizza without tomato sauce.

Looking at the concoction, which is basically dough and cheese, it's hard to imagine it'll be anything but dull. But there's nothing more typically Roman. My favourite version of the street food snack was adorned with slices of cooked potato, smoked mozzarella, fresh rosemary and garlic.

MORE: Recipe - Easy strawberry mousse with basil shortbreadEaten perched on the edge of a fountain in the May sunshine, that was one of my finest foodie memories.


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And it is so easy to recreate at home. If you can mix together a few ingredients, put in some elbow grease, and boil a few potatoes, you're onto a winner.

I've managed to make mine with almost entirely local ingredients. Flour from Marriage's in Chelmsford. Maldon salt. Potatoes from Fairfields Farm. Smoked cheddar from the Suffolk Smokehouse. Marybelle cream.

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Apart from rising time for the dough, this is a quick weekend bake that can be adapted to your family's tastes. Use different herbs. Perhaps sprinkle on a touch of blue cheese. Finish with a sliver of Parma ham or a runny poached egg.

A top tip for the best results is to use a pizza stone. You can get them for around £10 and they really make a difference to the finished pizza – no soggy bottom!

East Anglian pizza bianco

(makes two large pizzas)

Ingredients

300g strong white bread flour

200ml warm water

1tbsp finely chopped rosemary

1/2tsp fine sea salt

1tsp yeast

1tbsp olive oil

10 boiled new potatoes sliced

1 onion finely sliced and sautéed until soft

250g smoked cheese

150ml cream mixed with 1 clove crushed garlic, pinch ground nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste

Fresh rosemary to finish

Method

Make the dough first. Measure the flour, yeast, salt, chopped rosemary and oil into a bowl. Make a well in the middle and pout in the water.

Knead for around five to 10 minutes until you have a smooth ball that bounces back when you make an indent in it with your finger.

Cover and place somewhere warm for an hour or so to rise.

Once risen, sprinkle a clean surface with a little flour and knock the dough back then cut into two pieces.

Heat the oven to 220C for at least 10 minutes before cooking.

Roll one piece of dough into a round shape to fit your pizza stone (about 23cm) and stretch it to fit. Spoon over half the cream mixture, half the potatoes, half the cheese and half the onions.

Cook for around 10 to 12 minutes until golden around the edges. Finish with fresh rosemary.

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