|Pagash- Pierogi Pizza|
On the passing of a really great man:
This December 28th, my family said goodbye to my Pap (my mother's father.) After 20 plus years of valiantly, fighting Parkinson's disease, it was time for my Pap to rise up to a better place. Although his disease restricted him in his last few years of life, I know that when he was called on December 28th, he did not walk to God; my Pap danced!
|Pap and I.|
As I grew a little older, he and my Gram were a constant presence in my life. He helped teach me how to drive in his relaxed "Pap" way- with all the car windows down and calmly talking about Notre Dame Football. As a surprise, he showed up to my college football game, two hours away from his house, to see me work as an athletic trainer- something I was very proud of. And one of the last times that I saw him dance with my Gram was at my wedding in 2003. They were beautiful. I could go on and on.....
Everything Pap did he did with gusto!! He loved his family, he loved to dance, he loved Big Band music, he loved the NY Yankees, Notre Dame and the Chicago Bears, he loved Spangler (Northern Cambria), he loved his garden, and he loved his girls- all 4 of us. He loved my Gram who took care of him tirelessly till the end. In life no one is perfect and some may say that he lived life in excess, but I believe that his motto was- "Whatever you do in life- do it passionately." And in no way did he ever let himself down...
Thank you for teaching me to live life to it's fullest.
Pagash AKA Pierogi PizzaThis recipe is posted here for my Pap. His heritage was Slovak. As you all know, I deal with stressful situations through my "Kitchen Therapy." I saw my pap 4 days before he passed. It was a sad day but one that will live with me forever. On that last visit, we held hands for a long time and he told me I was beautiful....
After arriving home and being here for 9 hours I heard of my Pap's passing and I booked a ticket to go to Pennsylvania again. When I got home about 5 days later. I was depressed and wanted to pay homage to him in my thoughts and in my kitchen. I decided to make Pagash. It is a pizza that is Slovak or Polish in nature. It is similar in taste and ingredients to Pierogi. My Pap's sister, Mary used to make Pagash in a coal stove that she used in her kitchen to cook all food. From family tales, I hear that it was "to die for" and no one can make Pagash like Aunt Mary. This is my version. It is made with love for my families heritage and my Pap Homady.
1 package Fleischmann's pizza crust yeast and the ingredients listed on the package for preparation or you could by a pizza dough ball in your local bakery
2 cups mashed potatoes with 1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese added (prepared potatoes with your normal recipe and add cheese)
4-6 Tbsp butter, melted
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 medium onion, sliced into very thin rings
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Prepare potatoes and allow to cool slightly, about 1 hour. It is best to make the potatoes a little dry especially if you normally make them very whipped. A thick, creamy mashed potato is best. I normally peel and boil about 5 medium size russet potatoes, cut them into uniform squares, cover them in water and boil them until fork tender. I then drain them and add 1/4 cup milk and 4 Tbsp salted butter. I add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp fresh ground pepper. I then mash until smooth. Add the cheese and allow to sit covered so the cheese can melt. This recipe makes more then the suggested 2 cups but I love leftovers. As I suggested you can use your own recipe here. If you like to add sour cream or other ingredients feel free. Just remember, you want the potatoes so be thick.
After your potatoes have cooled for about 1 hour it is time to make the crust. I follow the directions on the package for preparation. The one change it do make is I hand toss the dough and then roll it onto a pizza stone. I then par bake the crust for about 6 minutes at 425 degrees. Since I do not have a pizza oven at my house (and who does), I like to par bake the crust so it is browned on the bottom and it allows for a much more durable layer to hold all the potatoes and cheese.
While the crust is baking I melt my butter in the microwave in a small mug and add the 3 cloves of minced garlic to make a garlic butter sauce. Also add the Italian Seasoning. After taking the crust out of the oven.
I spread the garlic butter all over the crust. I then add the mashed potatoes over the butter. Spread them evenly (like icing) with a rubber scraper or offset knife. I then layer on the onion ringd. Then the 3 types of cheese.
Place the pizza in the oven and bake at 425 for 15-17 minute. At this time, I set the oven to Broil and allow the pizza in the oven until the cheese is slightly brown; about 3-4 minutes.
Remove the pizza from the oven and allow to cool 8-10 minutes before cutting. The potatoes will solidify a little and you will have pretty slices.
Also a great addition to this pizza is crumbled bacon; not traditional but Yum!