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Perfect match: focaccia with nero d’Avola

Australian Gourmet Traveller Italian wine match recipe for potato and rosemary focaccia with mortadella.

By Alice Storey
  • Serves 8
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 30 mins cooking plus proving, cooling
Potato and rosemary focaccia with mortadella
Potato and rosemary focaccia with mortadella

When you think of Italian reds, you probably think of the classics: wines such as Barolo and Chianti, made from familiar grapes such as nebbiolo and sangiovese. Unless you're Italian, of course, in which case you probably think of the red wine made in your family's hometown. There are dozens of wine regions, and hundreds of different red grapes grown across Italy - both subtle local variations of well-known grapes (sangiovese, for example, is known variously as brunello, prugnolo and morellino, depending on where it's grown), and varieties restricted to one spot. Nero d'Avola, for example, is Sicily's great grape variety and produces generously flavoured, robust red wine with plenty of dark fruit, shiraz-like spice and a firm but supple finish - exactly the kind of rustic, warm-hearted drop you need to wash down this focaccia. Incidentally, the grape's success in Sicily's hot climate has encouraged some Australian winemakers to grow it here. It's early days, but there are indications it could have a bright future Down Under.

Potato and rosemary focaccia calls for a warm-hearted, rustic red just like this robust shiraz-like Sicilian variety.


  • 10 gm dried yeast
  • 450 gm “00” flour
  • 70 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing and drizzling
  • 1 Desiree potato
  • 1½ tbsp rosemary leaves
  • 100 gm rocket, to serve
  • 20 thin mortadella slices, to serve


  • 1
    Combine yeast, 1 tbsp flour and 250ml lukewarm water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, set aside in a warm place until foamy (5-7 minutes). Add remaining flour, 30ml oil and 1 tsp salt and mix until a smooth and elastic dough forms (8-10 minutes). Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size (1 hour).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200C. Knock back dough, then roll into a 22cm x 30cm rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a lightly oiled 22cm x 30cm shallow metal tray and stand until dough rises to the top edge (30 minutes).
  • 3
    Thinly slice potato on a mandolin into a bowl, toss with rosemary, remaining oil and season to taste. Lightly press dough with fingertips to create a dimple effect, then top with potato slices, overlapping them slightly, and season to taste. Bake until golden and cooked through (25-30 minutes). Cool in tray (5 minutes), then carefully turn out and cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Halve focaccia horizontally, layer bottom half with rocket and mortadella, drizzle with extra oil, season to taste and sandwich with top half. Cut into portions and serve.


Drink suggestion by Max Allen