This version of Liguria's famed focaccia, topped with pesto, tomatoes, olives, and onions, comes to us from Biagio Settepani, chef and co-owner of Pasticceria Bruno in New York City.
Yield: serves 12-16
For the Pesto
- 1 1⁄4 cups packed basil leaves
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup finely grated parmesan
- 2 tbsp. minced sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- 2 tbsp. pine nuts
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Focaccia
- 1 tbsp. active dry yeast
- 1⁄3 cup boiled, mashed potatoes
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp. lager beer
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 4 1⁄2 cups flour
- 1 cup durum wheat flour
- 12 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1⁄2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 cup finely grated parmesan
- 1⁄2 cup packed basil leaves
- Make the pesto: Process basil, oil, parmesan, tomatoes, nuts, garlic, and salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth; refrigerate.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook, combine yeast and 2 cups water heated to 115°; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. In a bowl, stir together potatoes, butter, beer, and salt until smooth; add to yeast mixture and whisk until smooth. Add flours and mix on medium speed until dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and knead until dough is smooth, about 8 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until tripled in volume, about 3 hours.
- Transfer dough to a greased 13″ x 18″ rimmed baking sheet and using your fingers, spread dough until it completely covers the bottom. Using your hands, spread pesto evenly over dough, and then scatter olives, tomatoes, and onions over pesto. Sprinkle cheese over top of dough and using your fingertips, press dough all over to form dimples; let sit, uncovered until puffed, about 45 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400°. Bake focaccia until edges are golden brown and dough is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and then scatter basil leaves over top; cut into squares and serve.