Monday, September 13, 2010

Mushroom, Olive, and Caramelized Onion Pizza

Sometimes we go back to basics. It is cool out; I want the house to be warm with the smell of bread baking and cheese melting. I love using pizza as an excuse to clean out the fridge and finding new combinations of flavors. 

For a long time I didn't like olives at all; now I know that I prefer those that don't come out of a can. Kalamatas are known for their strong salty flavor and beautiful deep purple color. How can you resist purple?

This pizza features the salty and sweet combo. By caramelizing the onions, they cook down and marinate in their own sugars, browning and sweetening up perfectly. I added mushrooms but feel free to add whatever you've got handy; ham might taste good on this too.

Ingredients (makes 1 pizza)
  • 1 batch pizza dough
  • 1/2 onion, halved and sliced
  • 1/2 package white mushrooms, sliced
  • about a dozen kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • cornmeal for sprinkling the pizza stone/pan
  • pizza sauce or spicy marinara sauce
  • 2-4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • parmesan cheese (freshly grated if possible)
  1. Prepare pizza dough about 2 hours ahead of when you'd like the pizza to go in the oven. Be sure to allow it to rise in a draft free location. If your house is cold, warm the dough bowl.
  2. Caramelize onions over medium-low heat. (Cover them, and add a splash of water if you need more steam. Other than that, leave them alone, stirring occasionally. You will see them become translucent, then eventually brown as they cook in their own sugars.)
  3. About 15-20 minutes before baking time, preheat oven to 450 degrees. (If you're using a pizza stone, this should preheat too.)
  4. When oven is preheated and onions are caramelized, remove pizza stone from oven. Sprinkle stone liberally with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Stretch dough onto stone. Top with sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, olives, and onions. Sprinkle with a generous amount of parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until crust is golden.

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