Recipe: sweet potato and ricotta pizza

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This pizza, topped with sweet potatoes, features homemade pizza dough and ricotta. Photo by Christian David.

Making dough at home may seem time consuming and unnecessary, but it is easy with some practice, and it opens the door to a whole world of carbohydrate-rich glory. Pizza inhabits this world and once you’ve got the dough down, you can make your own cheese to top it. The easiest way to go is to use ricotta, and I have included how to make it in the recipe for this pizza, which has all the flavors and colors of fall. Whether you make your own ricotta or buy it, making this pizza is its own reward.

Makes 2 small pizzas

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced in 1/8 inch rounds

5-10 sage leaves, torn into 1/2 inch pieces

2 cups of all-purpose flour

3/4 cup of warm water

1/4 cup of olive oil

1/2 tablespoon of salt

1 teaspoon of sugar

1/2 pack of yeast

For ricotta, if making your own

4 cups of milk

1 teaspoon of salt

3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar or lemon juice

Strainer and cheesecloth

Procedure:

  1. For the dough, put the yeast and sugar into the warm water. Pour the flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle of the flour. Once the yeast begins to bubble in the water, pour the water in the middle of the well, along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Work the flour into the water slowly, and add the salt as the dough begins to come together. Continue to knead the dough on a table by stretching it out and then bringing it back together into a ball. Knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is stretched enough but not overworked, and form the dough into a ball.
  3. Lightly oil the inside of the bowl, and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl and put it in a warm place to rise for about an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. If making the ricotta, do so while the dough rises. Pour the milk into a pot and set it over medium high heat. Add the salt and stir.
  6. Allow the milk to come up to a simmer, and turn the heat to low before it boils. Add the vinegar or lemon juice, and let the milk sit for about 1 minute as it curdles.
  7. Pour the curdled milk into a strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl. Allow the ricotta to strain until it is less wet but not dried out. It should have a smooth consistency.
  8. Once the dough has doubled in size, separate it into two halves and stretch these out into flat rounds. Go ahead, toss it in the air a few times.
  9. Before going in the oven, par bake the dough by heating an upside down skillet over medium heat. Place the dough on the overturned skillet.
  10. As it parbakes, arrange the sweet potato slices and ricotta to cover the pizza, and then drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
  11. Remove the pizza from the skillet and place on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until crust is well cooked and dark in some places and cheese is beginning to brown in some spots.
  12. Place torn sage leaves over the top of the pizza and serve.

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