Potato Pizza

On 6 January Befana, the good fairy of Italian children, comes to fill their stockings with toys and sweets. The ubiquitous pizza, beloved of children everywhere, is, I think, enhanced by the addition of potato. This makes a fairly substantial dish that will feed 4–6 people.


  • 6 oz (175 g) potatoes, boiled and puréed
  • 1 lb (450 g) plain flour
  • 1 sachet of fast-action yeast
  • 6 fl oz (175 ml) water, saved from cooking potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 fl oz (100 ml) olive oil
  • 2 tins tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 8 oz (225 g) mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1 tin anchovies, each fillet halved
  • Dried oregano or basil


If you have a food processor, life in the kitchen is simple. Put the flour, yeast, water, salt, potatoes, and olive oil into the bowl and mix until the dough is silky and elastic. Without a food processor, the mixing will have to be done by hand and takes longer, adding the liquid ingredients to the dry ones and working until the dough is pliable.

With fast-action yeast, only one proving is necessary. Press the dough out onto a greased tin, cover with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place to rise. This should take an hour or two.

Arrange the tomatoes, cheese and anchovies on the pizza base. Sprinkle with the herbs and leave for a further 15 minutes. Put in a hot oven (gas mark 8/450°F/230°C) and bake for 20 minutes. Eat as soon as it leaves the oven.

‘This swelling bursting vegetable flesh always devising new forms and yet so chaste. I love a potato because it speaks to me.’

From The Tin Drum by Günter Grass, 1959.