Thursday, January 22, 2009
I love pizza—so much, in fact, that we either make it or buy it once a week. It’s such a great choice for busy nights when you come home exhausted and just want to crack open a beer, slip into your pajamas and unwind in front of the television until bedtime.
Pizza pie is also our meal of choice for “first dates” with new friends. In my humble opinion, first date dinners are never the time to break out things like lentils, clams, curries, etc…foods/flavors that may or may not go over with people you don’t know all that well. I always aim to make two small pizzas, asking our friends to bring over a few of their favorite toppings for the first pizza. The second pie is my planned experiment—with combinations they may never have tried before.
This is one of our new favorites.
Pizza Pie with Herbed Ricotta and Mushrooms
One recipe, pizza crust (Joy of Cooking’s recipe is my personal choice), which makes two pizza pies.
1 cup (2 ounces) shredded asiago cheese (or parmesan)
2/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 small clove garlic, minced
1T minced parsley, basil, and/or oregano (or 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning), in the proportions you like
One package white button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper
Flour, cornmeal for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 475 ° F. (If using a pizza stone—recommended—oil stone and preheat it in oven as oven comes to temperature…30 minutes or so)
2. Mix together in a small bowl: ricotta cheese, garlic, herbs, a pinch of salt and a few good grinds of black pepper. Set mixture aside.
3. Once oven and stone are preheated, take one ball of dough and flatten. Work on a floured surface to create a round(ish) 12” form. My pizzas are never round—why should they be? I say it makes them more, um, “artisan”…right?
4. Remove hot pizza stone from oven, scatter a bit of cornmeal on the stone, then transfer the dough to the stone. Brush dough with olive oil and pop into the oven. Par-bake until the dough is set but not browned. (Dough will start to bubble up as well…this takes about 6 minutes.)
5. Once par-baked, remove from oven and top the pizza with herbed ricotta, mushrooms, and asiago cheese. Finish baking, until crust is browned and cheese is bubbly throughout, about 8 minutes.
Posted by Alex Harrison at 5:18 PM