Mushroom Pesto and Fontina Pizza

6 Mar

We love pizza.  But we’re pretty boring with our pizza choices.  Usually it’s pepperoni.  If we can add a topping or two for FREE, we add black olives and mushrooms.  And that’s it.  We don’t venture outside those combos, not when we’re ordering takeout pizza.

So when I found this pizza, I knew it was one we had to try.  It’s mushroom-heavy, so it’s in our comfort zone, but completely lacking in pepperoni and pizza sauce.  It would be a hit or a total miss.

It was a hit.  I’m a newfound fontina-lover.  The Big Guy really, really liked the pesto.  And we agreed that the crust was a total winner.  So glad we have another dough ball in the freezer!

The Finished Product

You’re going to start thinking I actually like making breads, since this is the second bread I’ve made in a couple weeks.  I don’t, I really don’t.  But the idea of making my own, perfect, pizza crust was too tempting to pass up.  I don’t like the way most store-bought crusts (and ones I’ve made before!) aren’t crisp on the bottom.  This recipe promised to be crisp on the bottom and perfectly chewy inside, which was enough to convince me.  The caveat:  use a pizza stone!  Fortunately, we have one – a rarely-used wedding gift – because either the dough recipe or the stone itself was enough to make this pizza dough the best I’ve made!  It really was crisp on the bottom.  We could hold up a slice without it bending in half, even under the weight of all those mushrooms and cheeses.

Pizza Dough Ball

I have to say, there is something very rewarding about making your own bread.  I don’t know what it is.  Seeing it rise, smelling the yeast, baking it and watching it become something so completely un-dough-like. Maybe I do like baking bread.

But anyway, back to the recipe.  The smell of this mushroom pesto is absolutely divine.  It involves rehydrating porcini mushrooms, which I had never done before.  They smell rather steak-y, and no doubt lend to the pesto’s rich, divine fl

Roasted Garlic Bulbs

avor.  It also involves roasting garlic bulbs in their papers in the oven.  Maybe I’ve attempted this before, unsuccessfully (Yes, I know.  How can you mess up something so simple?  I don’t know.).  I wanted to eat those soft little bulbs straight out of the oven, but I restrained myself and promised – next time, next time.

A Rehydrated Porcini

Mushroom Pesto

The finished pesto was delicious.  I’m planning on using the recipe again, as a spread for crostini or maybe to toss with pasta.

Without further ado, here is the recipe I used – unadapted from Annie’s Eats.  Check her blog out; she’s got some incredible recipes!  I also used the pizza dough recipe she links to in her pizza recipe – including buying bread flour specifically for it.

Fontina Mushroom Pizza
Yield: 1 medium (12-14 inch) pizza
For the mushroom pesto:
5 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
¼ oz. dried porcini mushrooms
¼ cup very hot water
1 small shallot, roughly chopped
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp. fresh parsley leaves
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

For the pizza:
 oz. sliced mushrooms, preferably a variety
1 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
¼ cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
Salt and pepper
1 ball pizza dough
Olive oil
1½ cups shredded Fontina cheese
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • To make the mushroom pesto, preheat the oven to 450˚ F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Toss the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 15 minutes.  For the last 10 minutes of baking, add the garlic cloves to the pan.
  • While the mushrooms are baking, soak the porcinis in the hot water for about 5 minutes.  Strain out the rehydrated mushrooms (through a paper towel, to catch any dirt or other mushroom debris), and reserve the liquid.
  • In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the roasted mushrooms, peeled garlic cloves, porcinis, shallot, thyme, parsley, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and reserved soaking liquid.  Process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Stir in the Parmesan.
  • To make the pizza, increase the oven temperature to 500˚ F and preheat a pizza stone.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Sauté the mushrooms until browned and tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook just until fragrant.  Stir in the wine/chicken broth and cook until almost completely evaporated.  Remove from the heat.
  • Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round.  Lightly brush the perimeter of the dough with olive oil.  Spread the mushroom pesto over the crust in an even layer.  Top with the shredded cheeses and then layer with the sautéed mushrooms.
  • Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Mushroom Pesto Pizza


2 Responses to “Mushroom Pesto and Fontina Pizza”

  1. frugalfeeding March 6, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Wonderful sounding pizza. I’ve not made pizza for a while, but I think I shall soon. Perhaps I shall post the combo I come up with 😀

    • kitchenmommy March 6, 2012 at 11:23 am #

      Always looking for great new combos – or reinventions of the classics! Hope you get to enjoy some pizza soon.

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