This past summer I was out at one of these “Tweet-ups” where folks who have been connected through Twitter (hopefully with similar interests) get together. Most of the folks who gathered were food-centered, I knew some of the people attending and I was hungry! We met at a pizza joint and ever since I began making my pizza at home, I’ve become a stickler for good pizza. Maybe I don’t make good pizza but I make pizza the way I like it!
I like thin crust but not too thin, I like fresh toppings on my pizza and even though I like “the works” on my pizza, often less is more (besides the mound of toppings slides off). I like pizza baked on my pizza stone and if you don’t have one already, still time to ask Santa for me! They’re great for both baking bread and pizza and while you’re at it, ask Santa for a pizza peel…it’s those wooden paddles one uses to slide pizza or bread into an oven.
Those two kitchen tools are very important to making really good homemade pizza: the pizza stone pre-heats in the oven, emulating a brick oven and the pizza peel allows you to form your pizza on it and with a sprinkle of cornmeal under the dough, it just slides right into your oven and onto the hot pizza stone. Most pizzas take around 12-14 minutes to bake!
This pizza was inspired by one of the pizzas at that “Tweet-up”: a mushroom pizza with cheese and herbs. My take was to add a thin smear of Bechamel on the crust which contained oil or butter, flour, milk, garlic, grated cheese and a pinch of nutmeg. You can be creative here and use a favourite cheese that goes well with mushrooms. I had some sharp, aged Graviera cheese on hand and I used that for my pizza and some leftover grated Kefalotyri cheese for the Bechamel base.
Obviously you have to love mushrooms or this ain’t gonna work for you and you can again be creative and use whatever mushrooms you like. I opted from Cremini mushrooms which grow to become Portobellos when full grown. They are more flavourful as Creminis and far better than white button mushrooms. I found some affordably priced Oyster mushrooms to add variety in flavour, presentation and texture and the end result was nothing short of tremendous. This pizza makes a good case for opening a chilled bottle of white wine, getting a unncessary bad-rap. There’s a time and a place for every wine and tonight it’s white!
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp. all purpose flour
1/2 cup warm milk
grated nutmeg to taste
1/2 cup grated Kefalotyri or Romano cheese
approx. 1 cup grated Graviera, Mozzarella or Fontina cheese
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sliced Cremini mushrooms
1/2 cup oyster mushrooms
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried Greek oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup diced smoked pork loin or bacon
1 small onion, thinly sliced
cornmeal to dust the pizza stone
Pre-heated 500F oven, middle rack position
- In a small pot, add the butter over medium heat and once melted add the flour and stir for a minute. Slowly add the warm milk while stirring and continue until the Bechamel has thickened. Add some grated nutmeg, the grated cheese and some fresh ground pepper and salt to taste. Take off the heat and reserve.
- Pre-heat your oven with the pizza stone placed inside to pre-heat. Wipe your mushrooms with a wet towel and slice the Cremini mushrooms and place in a bowl with the Oyster mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and toss well.
- Roll (or stretch your pizza dough and place on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel or pizza pan and evenly spread the cooled Bechamel on the pizza dough. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the dough then spread your mushrooms over top followed by the sliced onions and diced smoked pork/bacon.
- Drizzle with some olive oil and place in your pre-heated oven, reduce the heat to 450F and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges of your pizza just brown and your pork has just crisped. Remove from the oven, slice and enjoy! Serve with cold beer or a Peller Estates Chardonnay from Niagara.
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