Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mushroom and Fresh Basil Pizza

Brad has always been a cheese-only-pizza kinda guy. Every now and then he'll try a new topping but, for the most part, he tends to stick with what he knows. Meanwhile, I LOVE veggies on my pizza and fresh herbs. YUM! So it's pizza-by-the-slice for us since we can't agree.

Until, last month sometime, when we were at our favorite pizza/Italian place. We were discussing what looked good and we both had pizza on the brain. I decided that mushroom and fresh basil sounded yummy (although as far as I'm concerned there should be fresh basil on every pizza) and was surprised when Brad said that sounded good to him too! So we ended up getting an entire pizza and sharing it. We both loved it and that has been "our pizza" ever since.

Well, a couple weeks later at the farmer's market, we spied some great-looking baby portobello mushrooms and decided to do "our pizza" up home-style! I even had a new baking stone that I wanted to christen for the occasion.

Mushroom and Fresh Basil Pizza
(Original recipe by Layne, Pizza Dough adapted from a recipe by Tyler Florence)

Favorite jarred pizza sauce
Mushrooms, to taste (LOTS!!)
Basil, to taste (LOTS!!)
Pizza dough (half of recipe below)

Pizza Dough:
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water; stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until all the flour has been incorporated. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium; stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Get a feel for the dough by squeezing a small amount together: if it's crumbly, add more water; if it's sticky, add more flour - 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix until the dough gathers into a ball, this should take about 5 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and fold it over itself a few times; kneading until it's smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a round and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn it over to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot (i.e. over a gas pilot light) until doubled in size, about 1 hour. This is a good time to stick a pizza stone in the oven and preheat them to 500 degrees F.

Once the dough is domed and spongy, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll and stretch the dough into a cylinder and divide into 3 equal pieces. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes so it will be easier to roll out.

Roll or pat out a piece of dough into a 12 inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Dust a pizza paddle with flour and slide it under the pizza dough. Brush the crust with a thin layer of olive oil, and top with your favorite flavors. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden and crisp. Repeat with the remaining dough.