Field of Science

Fabulous fungus and pesto pizza

It's been awhile since TPP blogged about food, so here's a nice recipe to consider especially if your F1 likes a meatless Monday dinner (except this week she missed it!). Isn't that a pretty pizza? And this is so simple, first just make your usual pizza dough. What? You don't make your own pizza dough? OK, take 2.5 cups flour, 1 cup warm water, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp sugar, 1 pkg/tbsp. yeast, and 2 tbsp. olive oil and mix in a large bowl until you have a sticky dough. Sprinkle with enough flour that you can work with the dough and knead the dough, in the bowl, until it gets nicely elastic. You will probably need to keep sprinkling in more flour. It only takes about 10 min, and you know you're done when you push in a finger and the dough pushes the hole back out. Pour a bit of olive oil over the dough, roll the dough ball around to coat the dough and the bowl, cover with waxed paper and set aside in a warm place for at least an hour. This will make 1 large pizza (10"x 15"). It will rise a bit faster if the yeast is activated in the warm water for 10 min before making the dough. Lightly oil or grease the pan and sprinkle with a dusting of corn meal. After the dough has doubled in size, about an hour, the dough ball can be stretched gently to the length of the pan, placed in the middle, and then gently pushed and prodded until it reaches the edges making a bit of a crust at the edges. No matter what the topping, bake at 400 F for about 30 min. This recipe easily doubles for two pizzas, or use the other half to make bread sticks or bread.
This pizza is topped with fresh basil pesto brushed on moderately thinly almost out to the edges (recipes abound). The fungi are 8 oz of portabellas, 8 oz of shitake, and a big handful of chanterelles collected from under the burr oak in your backyard. Cut up the mushrooms into a large dice, sauté in 1 tbsp. of olive oil until they have shrunk and dried out a bit. If necessary, drain on paper towels (no one likes soggy pizza). Sprinkle onto the pesto. A light sprinkling of red pepper flakes is a nice optional touch. Top with about 12 oz of fresh mozzarella cheese cut into pieces. This is a surprisingly hearty pizza with a sublime flavor. Enjoy.