soaked oat muffins) in my breakfast nook. I thought I'd have a whole weekend to write at the sled hockey tournament, but instead I was
And you thought I took a photo of the ingredients to show you what's in this pizza. Ha! I mean, it's great if you find the photos useful as well. Really.<days later>I'm still giggling to myself typing this post up in the lobby of the rec center where my son is at wheelchair basketball practice. People are starting to stare. Back to the point of this post.
I was cruising past the fancy cheese counter on another milk run (who is feeding these kids?) when I saw a magical markdown sticker in the vicinity of the mozzarella balls. This time it was smoked mozzarella, so of course I snagged it to give it a try.
Heather (of garlic oil fame, though there's so. much. more. to her) eats marvelous pizza from some place called the Magic Mushroom. Never been there. But when Heather described her favorite pizza pie, it sounded like I could adapt it, play with my pickled peppers and pesto, and use this smoked mozzarella.
Smoked mozzarella is different than fresh mozzarella on a pizza in one dramatic way--it doesn't color outside the lines. When topping a pizza with fresh mozzarella, you need to be careful not to put your slices too close to the edge for fear that they will run off all over your pizza stone.
Crispy mozzarella discs pried off a hot pizza stone are totally worth the burned fingertips.Smoked mozzarella imparts a deeper, smoky (I know, surprise, I'll never be a food writer) taste, something which pairs well with the pesto and mushrooms. The peppers and feta really make this pizza pop.
Normally, I don't feel like I make gourmet pizzas. I'm just cobbling together the ingredients I've got on hand, from my farm share or good deals from the grocery store. But describing this pizza . . . well, it sounds pretty fancy and high falutin' to me.
Pesto Crust2/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup prepared pesto (how I make mine, here)
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) White Whole Wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
If you're new to making pizza dough, refer to my Pizza Primer post for methods, hints, and tips. Dissolve yeast in water in the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with a paddle, while you gather the rest of the ingredients. Add pesto, flour, and salt.
I love my kitchen scale for this--I stick the bowl on the scale, zero it, and just dump flour in until the scale registers 8 1/2 ounces. No fluffing, no leveling, easy as can be! Get one at Bed Bath and Beyond using a coupon.Mix on low-medium until a ball of dough forms. I do not add extra olive oil to this dough because there's olive oil in my pesto, but you may find your dough a bit dry or rough, so add a tablespoon of oil if it seems to need it. I make my dough at least a day early, and just store it in an oiled bowl or bag depending on how much room is in my fridge.
Smoked Mozzarella, Feta, Mushroom and Pickled Pepper on a Pesto Crust1 lb pesto crust
1/3 cup prepared basil pesto
1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
a shake (1/4 teaspoon) of Onion Onion and a shake (1/4 teaspoon) of Garlic Garlic (see NOTE)
1/2 pound smoked mozzarella, sliced
1/3 cup sliced pickled peppers
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup Quattro Formaggio or other Italian blend shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees--don't forget the baking stone*. In a small skillet w/ a splash of oil, sauté the mushrooms until they have lightly browned. Shake a bit of Onion Onion and Garlic Garlic on top (NOTE: use any dried onion and dried garlic product, or a tablespoon each of the fresh stuff if you're organized and plan ahead and don't look at the mushrooms and think they ought to have a bit more flavor as you're fixin' to top the pizza). Set aside.
On an oiled piece of parchment paper stretch out the dough into an approximate circle. Spread pesto up close to the edges. Top with mozzarella, mushrooms, and peppers. Sprinkle feta and shredded cheeses on top. Bake for 5-8 minutes, then shake the crust off the parchment paper and bake directly on the stone for another 3-5 minutes until the cheeses are browned and bubbly. *Use a cookie sheet if you don't have a baking stone. Cool on a rack a few minutes, then slice and serve. And consider yourself high falutin' for making a gourmet pizza at home!
Peckish Peter Piper picked a peck of piquant pickled peppers and properly placed them on a pesto pizza pie. ---mom still has a few things to teach her girl