Wednesday, September 22, 2010

everyday dinners: pizza with mushrooms, parsley, and pecorino

Pizza is a divisive topic. Everyone has their own idea of what makes a good slice. While I love the typical tomato sauce-mozzarella-basil incarnation, I usually forgo all three of these things when making pizza at home. Well, usually not the basil. 

During the cooler months of the year when I can stand turning on the oven, Dan and I eat pizza about once a week. It's cheap to make, relatively healthy, and gives us enough leftovers for a really nice lunch the next day. The weather finally turned here, so thankfully, we're back to pizza season.

Dan's not a huge fan of tomato sauce on pizza (crazy, I know), which led me to figure out some recipes that can hold up without. Sometimes we spread a thin layer of ricotta over the crust, sometimes we caramelize onions, or sometimes, I just scatter the toppings over an olive oil-slicked crust, flatbread-style.

This is one of those types of pizzas: thin crust, sauteed mushrooms, a layer of cheese, and a hefty dose of chopped parsley. To keep it from being bland, I cook the mushrooms in red pepper flakes, garlic, and thyme, and add a squeeze of lemon at the end. Trust me, you won't miss the sauce.
I made this recipe with pecorino but any cheese will do: dollops of soft goat's cheese, flakes of parmesan, or some grated ricotta salata. Even regular old mozzarella will work for you pizza purists.
Pizza with mushrooms, parsley, and pecorino
Dough recipe adapted from Louise Pickford's book Grilling.
(Serves 2 to 4 people)

For the pizza dough:
1 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup hot water
2 Tbsp. olive oil

For the topping:
Olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups baby portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 cup oyster mushrooms, cleaned and torn into bite-sized pieces
Leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
Red pepper flakes, to taste (I like 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup pecorino cheese, grated
1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped

To make the pizza dough: sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the yeast and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour, then add the hot water and olive oil. Stir with a spoon until it has formed a soft dough. Knead the dough with floured hands, pressing it against the bowl until it is smooth and elastic. Shape it into a ball and cover the bowl with a dish towel. Let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour, or until it has doubled in size. (You can also make it the night before and store it in the fridge, wrapped in plastic or stored in a large plastic Ziploc bag.)

To assemble the pizza: preheat your oven to 500 degrees. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, along with the garlic. Cook the garlic for a minute, then add the mushrooms, red pepper flakes, and thyme. Saute the mushrooms until they are tender. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste, I like a generous pinch of each. Remove the mushrooms from the heat and set them aside. 

Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll out the pizza on a floured surface so that it's about 1/2 inch thin. Place the rolled-out dough on a pizza stone or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Drizzle a few teaspoons of olive oil over the pizza dough and use your hands to coat the dough evenly. Top with the mushrooms and evenly spread the grated cheese on top. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the pizza is golden brown and bubbling. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.

8 comments:

Nathan said...

Those pictures are beautiful, oh man, is it lunch time yet?

Anonymous said...

We over-dosed on Anthony's (burned edges) Coal Fired pizza last week so this will be my next at home pizza for sure! I don't want to wake up with the shakes anymore.

Tender Branson said...

Great looking pizza, I like the idea of cooking the mushrooms in red pepper.

Daniel said...

It's not that I don't like tomato sauce, exactly. I just really enjoy the light, clean taste of a sauceless pizza. Is that really crazy? Is it? IS IT?!?!?

Lisa said...

Nathan: Ha. Thanks. :)

Anony: I hope you like it! I like burned edges on my pizza, which I could get that at home.

Tender Branson: Yes, it makes a big difference. The mushrooms really absorb the heat.

Daniel: It's nuts. Bonkers. Loonyville.

LimeCake said...

i just made pizza bianco but i'm keeping this flavor combination in mind. looks delicious!

Lisa said...

LimeCake: Thanks! I hope you like it.

Anonymous said...

Finally made your dough recipe and it was
exactly the right amount of dough for the stone,
it was light and easy to roll, and very tasty too. I't a keeper and now I won't need to purchase it from Publix anymore (gasp!)

Publix WannaBes.com

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