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Another mushroom pizza

August 6, 2007

Mushroom Pizza

I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately. I’m not sure why I’m suddenly eating so many mushrooms. And putting them on pizzas, over and over again. Whatever the reason, I suspect it’s not going to stop anytime soon, and this one was a winner, so why complain?

And just look at that pizza crust! Glorious…crispy, golden, chewy but still light and doughy. It was pretty spectacular, which was all the more surprising considering how much I had to struggle with it to stretch it out and convince it not to stick to every surface in the kitchen. The dough? Peter Reinhart’s recipe, which I made a big fat batch of a few weeks ago. This had been in the freezer for at least a week, and I let it thaw in the refrigerator for two days, and then out at room temperature for 45 minutes. At higher than room temperature, because the temperature in the room was hellish and probably over 80 degrees. Why did I decide that this, one of the hottest days so far this summer, was a good one to heat the oven to 550F? I have no idea.

This was a spontaneous pizza idea, and I’m awfully pleased with how it turned out. I ended up having too much of the mushroom topping for the pizza, so I saved it and made quesadillas with it later in the weekend. I didn’t use any sauce on this pizza, although I guess the sauteed mushrooms created a kind of sauce, sort of. And no, this hasn’t been my favorite pizza, topping-wise, that’s come out of my oven so far, but the crust? It might be the best crust. I’m starting to believe that letting the dough sit in a freezer for awhile is really the trick.

Crusty crust

I mean, seriously people. Check that out. Whoo hoo!

Mushroom and Tomato Pizza

  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 16 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  •  2 oz. pancetta, cubed
  • about 1 1/2 c. sliced grape tomatoes
  • a small handful of tarragon leaves, whole
  • 1 c. mozzarella
  • salt and pepper
  • pizza dough

Heat the butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over high heat. Once the butter has melted and everything is very hot, add the mushrooms. Spread them out in a thin layer and let them cook for about four or five minutes, untouched. Then add the pancetta and give it all a little stir. Spread the mushrooms out again and let them cook for another minute or two, untouched. Then add the tomatoes and stir it all up again. Spread it all out, let it cook for another two or three minutes, and remove the skillet from the heat.

Meanwhile, spread the pizza dough out to a relatively thin round (or square, or blob, whatever shape you can manage to wrestle it into, really). Let the mushroom mixture cool off a bit, and then spread it out over the dough evenly. Top the whole deal with mozzarella, and cook your pizza for about 9 or 10 minutes at 550F.

As usual, I let the oven preheat, with the pizza stone inside, for 45 minutes. And man, I really need to get myself a pizza peel or something, because moving the pizza from the baking sheet on which I roll it out to the very, very hot pizza stone is always something of an ordeal. Last time I burned the crap out of my hand doing it. There has to be a better way.

Little mushroom guy

To be honest, this pizza may have benefitted from a thin layer of tomato sauce, but I didn’t have any and was too lazy to make some. The grape tomatoes were good, but very sweet–they didn’t offer the acidity and depth of flavor that tomato sauce can.  Also, I keep having to buy this crappy, crappy mozzarella that doesn’t have any flavor and melts like plastic. Other than these small flaws, though, this pizza is up there in my personal favorite hall of fame. And if you’re lucky, like me, and have extra mushroom mix, you can toss it with pasta or throw it between two tortillas or even make a panini or something. I do love those leftovers.

W e’re deep in the throes of finding a new housemate, packing up Crystal and getting her ready to go to Spain, and, well, for me finishing up my last week at work before three weeks of vacation. Busy, busy times, and also very hot times (ugh, it got up to 100 last week. With humidity.). This means not a ton of time in the kitchen lately, but I’m hoping this will change soon enough. I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve, so stay tuned.

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