I’m going to declare 2013 to be the year of the pizza. Not that this really distinguishes it hugely from any other year but I like the accountability of a broad sweeping statement like that. 

I’ve eaten more than my share of pizza in my life – both the good (and if you’re ever in my corner of London, I urge you to check out Le Cochonnet) and the bad. If I’m honest, the bad pizza probably outweighs the good and that is a fact that makes me really quite sad.

Pizza has become somewhat of an indulgence in our lives – the lazy option when we can’t be bothered to cook or feel devoid of any inspiration. It requires no thought. Thanks to the internet, a fairly average pizza is just a couple of clicks away.

And when I say fairly average, what I mean is pretty darn unhealthy. It’s become a treat, something ‘naughty’ (a word I can’t abide when it comes to food but which I am as guilty as anyone of using, at least subconsciously) that we use as a reward after a good day or a crutch after a bad day. As vices go, it’s not the worst but it’s probably not very good for me either physically or mentally.

I saw a tweet the other day from a food magazine asking whether people were comfort eaters or healthy eaters in January. But why does that have to be a choice? As a society, we tend to spend far too much time moralising about food and turning every bite into an ethical decision. We give food the power to make us feel guilt or shame and, along the way, lose the simple pleasure of eating. By categorising food as ‘comforting’ or ‘healthy’ or ‘good’ or bad’ we abrogate our responsibility and make it all too easy to blame someone else for our choices. 

What I want to do this year, apart from eat a lot of delicious pizza obviously, is to change my attitude. To stop giving food any power over me and to be accountable for my own decisions. You only get a finite number of meals in your life; I don’t want to waste any of mine.

And so, one of the first things that I did when I got home after Christmas was to mix up a batch of my favourite spelt pizza dough using a mix of white and wholegrain spelt flour. Of all the reasons for purchasing a stand mixer, being able to quickly and easily make pizza dough has to be near the top. The pizza topping was inspired by some classic flavour combinations, making good use of my very favourite winter vegetable of all – the humble leek. I had a generous helping for dinner, a slice for breakfast the next and another slice for lunch and I didn’t feel guilty about that at all. 
~
Leek, potato and rosemary pizza
Yield: 1 pizza (serves 2)

Rosemary can become very bitter when it’s cooked. I got around this issue by placing the rosemary under all the other toppings so that it wasn’t too exposed to the direct heat of the oven. You could use a rosemary-infused olive oil as the base to get the flavour without the fresh herbs if you want or scatter it on top shortly before the pizza is cooked. I went for a classic topping of fresh mozzarella but I’m pretty sure other cheeses would be just as good – you could go for something really punchy if you wanted although I find the delicacy of the mozzarella really helps the flavour of the leeks to shine.  

Ingredients

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • A handful of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped.
  • 100g (4 oz) mozzarella
  • Pizza dough, for 1 pizza (I used half of this recipe with 50:50 white and wholegrain spelt flour)

Cooking Directions

  1. Make your favourite pizza crust. While it is rising, you can prepare the toppings and preheat the oven to 220C/425F.
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the potatoes and boil for about 15 minutes until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan, add the garlic and leeks and fry for 10 minutes or so over a medium-low heat until soft.
  4. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and allow them to cool before slicing into rounds.
  5. When the pizza dough is risen, stretch it out into a vaguely circular shape. Drizzle with the rest of the olive oil and scatter with rosemary (keeping it under all the other topping stops it burning and becoming bitter). Top with the leeks, followed by slices of potato and, finally, cover liberally with cheese.
  6. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the crust is cooked and the potatoes are golden.

     
    32 Responses to "leek, potato and rosemary pizza"
    1. I’m totally with you on this one. I hate the idea of ‘guilty’ foods (unless we’re talking battery farmed chicken etc). I also hate the way pizza has been turned into a sloppy, deep pan, disgusting excuse for food when it can be so incredibly delicious. We make pizza on average once a week – thin, crispy base, homemade tomato sauce, beautiful mozarella and the freshest toppings.

      I adore potato on pizza and your version looks lovely – here’s to the year of the pizza!

    2. Year of the pizza?! I’m SO in! This sounds dreamy.

    3. I’m excited for the year of the pizza! I need to work on having whole wheat dough in my freezer for quick meals.
      Potatoes on pizza is amazing :)

    4. I love everything about this. Cheers to comfort and healthy…and not wasting a meal!

      I am also a HUGE (good) pizza fan. Totally bookmarking the spelt dough to try. :)

    5. amen! and this pizza sounds just delicious. when we make fantastic homemade pizza, i often eat it the next morning for breakfast, too – no shame in that!

    6. Lauren Grier says:

      Amen! I couldn’t have said it better myself. I completely agree that people give to much power to food. Food is just food at the end of the day. Also, people forget sometimes to listen to their body. It really will tell you what it does and doesn’t need.

      I seriously can’t wait to try this pizza! Huge fan of healthy pizzas.

    7. Jenny @ BAKE says:

      hahaha I was just writing about how it seems like pizza is everywhere this year! This pizza looks incredible, you can barely categorise it with the takeaway alternatives – ‘m impressed you had slices left over the next day! I love your toppings they sounds delicious

    8. Giiiiirl pizza of the HOUR is more like it.

      I want this. Bawd.

    9. Definitely I’m making my own pizza dough this year. I love to see pizzas without toppings other than tomato (although tomato is good too!)

    10. holly says:

      i concur wholeheartedly :)

      lovely post. i think a lot of people who have seemingly healthy relationships with food still think that way, and it’s so sad to zap the pleasure we get from food that way.

    11. if i made resolutions yours is the one i would want to make and keep. it’s so true that we are locked into a strange relationship with our food. growing up in pakistan where food is a ways in which families and friends together it never occurred to me to think of food in the way that it is thought of (crudely speaking) in the west. comfort to me is more about memory and connection but i can’t help but feel guilty sometimes especially when it comes to treats.

    12. Pizza and potato is the best combination…love it!!! Also, thanks for that restaurant tip. I’m always looking for fun, new places to eat at when I’m in town :)

    13. I loved this. Let’s be free to enjoy food. Good, whole food and not let it label us, control us, guilt us, or hold power over us. We’re free to eat with joy!

    14. sweet road says:

      great combination of ingredients!

    15. This was a wondeful post Kathryn! As Im sure youve gathered Im as guilty as anyone of pigeonholing and labelling food… but I know whenever I follow the age old practice of eating what I feel nourishes my body and makes me feel good, and also food that is special and Ive taken time to consider eating, I feel my happiest. Duh right!? because Im also more and more convinced that health is about fresh, quality ingredients.. rather than specific foodstuffs … its also when I tend to feel my best. Your pizza looks YUMMY and ID love to check out that pizza place .. Ive actually yet to have AMAZING pizza in London.. even Franco Mancos doesnt totally do it for me. Basically CAli pizza will always have my heart!

    16. Erin D. says:

      I know this is so wrong of me, but I have no problem with using pizza and other “naughty” food as a crutch. I know it’s not good, but it works for me. It’s kind of like you said, “You only get a finite number of meals in your life; I don’t want to waste any of mine.” So if I want pizza or fried chicken, I’m having it. I can eat vegetables for dinner. And it’ll be a happy day.

      The pizza looks fantastic! Love that you used spelt. :)

    17. I really want this year to be about eating great food that is better for you. I want to eat more pizza and more burgers but I want my pizza to have better toppings and a crispy base, not drowning in cheese and grease. This leek, potato and rosemary pizza is exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of. I don’t want to feel guilty about eating a pizza. I shouldn’t have to. I love this spelt pizza base as well, definitely trying this out :)

    18. Grace says:

      ” To stop giving food any power over me and to be accountable for my own decisions. You only get a finite number of meals in your life; I don’t want to waste any of mine.”

      This really resonated with me. Why should we waste our meals on crap food? I say no more! I took your advice and treated myself to a tastier lunch today. Good food is worth the extra time & money. I agree that We shouldn’t feel guilty about what we eat. Everything in moderation, right?

      Thanks for the inspiration today!

    19. katherinea says:

      But I’ve already declared 2013 to be the year of the sesame seed.

    20. Sarah says:

      Amen Sista! Let’s eat ALL the foods. I heard a great quote: Eat Food. Mainly Plants. Not too much. Simple, easy – don’t overthink it.

    21. Megan Pence says:

      So along with this year being the year of the pizza- I’m also instilling in my own life that food is not going to be associated with guilt and shame. It’s going to comforting and utterly utterly pleasurable.

    22. I totally agree, comfort food can be healthy food. I do love a good pizza, and I’m on the hunt for a new pizza stone to replace my well used one that shattered on it’s last use. While I was back in BC for the holidays my parents threw an open house and I made 9 pizzas over the course of the evening. I’ve got a tried and true crust recipe, but I am intrigued by this version and will definitely give it a try soon!

    23. Erin says:

      Love this attitude! While we should be mindful of what we’re eating, we shouldn’t be so overly mindful that we stop enjoying food for what it is. You are so right!

    24. 2013 as year of the pizza sounds like a great idea! I used to think potatoes in pizza was weird until I actually tried it. This version looks fantastic!

    25. I just love pizza! and I’m all about making comfort food classics healthier! I don’t think food should ever be labeled as bad!

    26. Joanne says:

      i find pizza in general to be a comfort food but when I make it myself it tends to be fairly healthy! An oxymoron, perhaps, but delicious nonetheless. I love this potato leek combo. Such a classic!

    27. Year of the pizza works for me! Throwing my guilt out the window too.

      : )
      Jen

    28. Leanne says:

      AMEN to everything you said about moralizing our food choices!! Lets try to just enjoy what we are eating and include nutritious choices in that, too. I have a bad foodie confession … I have never made pizza crust. I am definitely the one who makes pizza after a long/hard day as a crutch, so even mixing the dough seems like it’s so hard. But I’ve read about your spelt version a few times now and I will try it out soon!

    29. I absolutely agree! Food isn’t good or bad so why do we label it that way? It only affects how we feel about ourselves after we consume it. I’m guilty of that so I’m determined to stop doing that. Even if something isn’t such a healthy choice, it doesn’t mean it’s “bad” and I’m not “bad” for eating it either!
      This pizza looks so amazing! I’ve been meaning to try a potato pizza but haven’t yet! Gotta try it with rosemary! Yum!

    30. I am a thin and crispy pizza base lover and I hate too much toppings too………so this pizza is just the kind I like! I have no food guilt really……I may mouth the words but I will eat what I like when I like! Still a rebel after all these years! Lovely pizza Kathryn. Karen

    31. Jeff says:

      Love your photography! I bet that was absolutely delicious.

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