Smoked Mushroom PIzza
Sauce: (see directions)
Canned tomatoes (diced/sauce/paste)
Mozzarella (preferably fresh, shredded)
Smoked Shiitake Mushrooms, and/or cremini/oyster mushrooms.
I'm not sure how to put the rest of this into a recipe because I don't measure anything when making it.
For the sauce:
I use a few cans of diced tomatoes and/or tomato sauce and some tomato paste depending on what's in the cabinet. You can also make it with fresh garden tomatoes but only if you want to go through a lot of tomatoes. I quarter an onion or two and chop a carrot into large chunks. If I have any celery I toss some of that in there. Don't chop your veggies too finely because the goal here is to impart the flavor into the sauce and then remove most of the chunks of onion/celery/carrot before you run it through the blender/food processor. Season the sauce using oregano/thyme/rosemary/salt or any favorite italian spices. Allow it to cook down for a couple of hours until the sauce thickens enough.
When it is thick enough to resemble a pizza sauce, scoop out excess onion/celery/carrot and pour the remainder into a food processor or blender and add anywhere from a half to a whole stick of butter and some fresh basil. Blend this to a smooth consistency, then taste it and add any extra seasoning as desired.
For the toppings:
To caramelize the onions chop three to four onions into wedges/strips. Put them in a pan on moderate heat with a small amount of olive oil and salt them lightly. As the pan heats up, reduce heat to low and stir often until they turn brown (20-40 minutes). Not crispy brown. That's burnt. You didn't stir them enough. You can find directions on caramelizing onions elsewhere but this is basically how you do it. Spread the onions liberally on the pizza after adding cheese.
I use a soft goat cheese and scatter small blobs of the stuff across the pizza. If you don't like goat cheese, this will probably make you like it.
Smoking the mushrooms in a grill or a smoker is what imparts a lot of the flavor to this pizza. Taste them as you go to make sure you don't ruin your mushrooms. You're not smoking a turkey here.
Cook the pizza at 500F or however high your oven will allow for around 10 minutes or until crust begins to brown. After removing it, drizzle the balsamic reduction on top and sprinkle fresh thyme.
Hope you're able to make sense of these directions. Sorry I don't have any measurements for you but you should at least be able to make sense of the toppings. Enjoy!
Pairs Well With
When I was living in Austin we found a pizza joint that made a serious mushroom pizza. It became our go-to comfort meal on weekends (and weekdays). Unfortunately, it closed less than a year after opening and for the next year I found myself reminiscing about this pizza until I finally decided I needed to figure out how to make it. It is a wonderful combination of smokey, tangy, sweet, and savory.
For the dough I like to use a recipe off of finecooking.com that I make the night before and leave in the refrigerator to ferment. It can be kept for days in the refrigerator or frozen for much longer. You can click here to find that recipe or use a favorite dough recipe of your own, but I prefer a thinner, chewier dough for this pizza.
Submitted by: "Ben Ayers"