You might be thinking, “Tater tots? On pizza?! Why would you put tater tots on pizza?” Well, tater tots are tasty and pizza is tasty, so why not put the two together? (I realize this logic does not hold up in many cases. For instance, bacon and chocolate has become a fairly mainstream combination, but I, for one, believe that bacon has no business being anywhere near my chocolate.)
Before deciding on a university for my graduate studies, I visited several institutions and attended their prospective student weekends. One of the departments I visited hosted an informal pizza dinner one night. As someone who doesn’t eat red meat, who tries to avoid excessive amounts of dairy, and who doesn’t like olives, anchovies, or artichokes, pizza dinners can be tricky for me to maneuver. This dinner, however, was provided by a pizza parlor that had come up with the brilliant idea to put tater tots on pizza. I was sold, cheese be damned (truth be told, it also had regular pork bacon, and I still went for it). It was by far the most popular and fastest-disappearing variety of the night.
A couple years have passed, and I don’t remember many other details from that visit, but I remember that pizza. Alas, the pizza alone was not enough to sway my decision (though I did seriously consider another school based on the fantastic grocery store they had nearby), so I’ve recreated it here. I hope you like it!
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup milk
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan salt
- 2 ounces turkey bacon
- 1 large broccoli crown
- 6-8 ounces frozen tater tots
- Place 3/4 cup warm water in a large bowl. Add yeast and let sit about 5 minutes, until frothy in appearance.
- Add sugar, oil, and salt to yeast and water. Stir until clumps are dissolved. Add flour and stir with a rubber spatula until a sticky dough forms.
- Lightly coat a separate large bowl with olive oil. Transfer dough into oiled bowl and drizzle a bit more olive oil on top. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Place in a warm location and let sit about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- For sauce: heat milk in microwave for one minute. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and red pepper flakes for 30 seconds. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Once oil and flour starts to produce tiny bubbles throughout, add milk, stirring constantly while pouring. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add parmesan, minced garlic, and salt to taste. Stir until parmesan has melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Cut bacon in half, lengthwise. Cut into small strips, between 1/4 – 1/2 inch in width. Set aside.
- Chop broccoli into small pieces. If you prefer more tender broccoli, strip off the tough outer skin before chopping.
- Flip dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently several times, then roll into a round approximately 11 or 12 inches in diameter (I recommend rolling the dough directly on a baking sheet – I tried to transfer mine from the counter to a baking sheet, and its shape was somewhat distorted in the process). Pinch edges with fingers to form a slight ridge.
- Stir half of broccoli into sauce. Pour sauce onto pizza dough and spread with a spoon. Sprinkle remaining broccoli and bacon pieces on top. Gently press frozen tater tots on top. Brush edges of dough with a small amount of olive oil.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pizza crust has achieved your preferred degree of golden-brown color. (Admittedly, I accidentally under-baked the one pictured, but it was mighty tasty nonetheless!)
- This pizza dough freezes remarkably well. You can easily double the recipe, wrap half of it in plastic wrap, place it in a container or freezer bag, and have ready-made pizza dough for another meal (perfect for people who don’t have a lot of time)!
- Dough recipe adapted from Everyday Food (March 2010).