Monday, August 24, 2009

For The Love of Food

With all the salads I've been consuming this summer, I had a hankering for some pizza (carbs!) last night. I've been tightening my belt lately, both metaphorically and physically, so I decided to forgo a decadent pie from Lombardi's in favor of a homemade version. I've never made pizza before, so this was an experiment in patience and control - rolling out dough?! how many toppings is too much?! So many questions. Instead of following a recipe, I decided to heed my friend's advice, and create something from the heart. I'm a chronic recipe follower, so this was a little daunting at first, but once I got to the grocery store I found some choice ingredients. The key ingredient of the pizza was the inclusion of plump organic mushrooms, both baby portabella and shiitake. Once I had mushrooms in hand, I built the rest of the pie around them, and was back home at the chopping board in no time. My Baby Portabella, Shiitake Mushroom Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella and Asiago Cheese was on its way! I was amazed at how easily the whole process went, and the final product was cheesy, and crispy - with a hint of earthiness from the mushrooms. Mission accomplished!

1 ball of whole wheat pizza dough
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
5 baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
5 shitaake mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
5 tablespoons pizza sauce
1 medium ball fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Position one rack at top of oven. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface, starting in the middle of the ball and extending outwards. Dough should be rolled out to your desired thickness (the thinner the dough, the crunchier). Brush rolled out dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and transfer onto floured baking pan for cooking. Add desired amount of pizza sauce (5 tablespoons makes a less saucy, crispier pie). Let stand at room temperature while preparing the vegetables.

Mix 3 remaining tablespoons of olive oil with chopped garlic, then toss with mushrooms. Slice the fresh mozzarella into rounds, and place cheese on pizza dough. Arrange your vegetables as desired, as a final touch add asiago cheese as final layer of pizza. Place pizza in oven and let cook until cheese is melted and bubbly, and crust is golden (approx 15-20 minutes).

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