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‘Shrooms on pizza

Yesterday I went on a mushroom hunt. I’m not talking about donning my rain gear and foraging through the Pacific Northwest forests in search of edible fungi. No. Rather, I hopped in our car and went to a couple of my favorite grocery stores before I came home with a nice variety of mushrooms for a pizza. (Albeit, an expensive pizza.) Oyster mushrooms, Shiitakes, Trumpet Royales, Alba and Brown clamshells, and dried Porcinis were all nicely laid out on the counter. I also had picked up a lovely bag of fresh pizza dough.

The impetus for this excursion was my desire to replicate a pizza I saw in the new (April, 2013) issue of Cooking Light magazine. It was a beautiful pizza, one you might dish up to good friends with a nice bottle of wine and a crisp salad.

The recipe is a winner. I’m giving it to you as written, but I made a few changes, which I have provided for your consideration. My changes: 1) I couldn’t find exotic mushrooms in any kind of pre-packaged “blend”. I just bought a random assortment. 2) I used twice the amount of pesto the recipe called for. Three tablespoons was barely even a light coating. 3) I also bumped up the cheese a bit. 4) Microwaving the pizza dough appeared to do nothing, so I just went ahead and let it rise once and then proceeded to roll it out.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 (4-ounce) packages fresh exotic mushroom blend
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons refrigerated pesto
  • 3 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)

Directions:

Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 500° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats).

Place the dough in a medium microwave-safe bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover and microwave at ­MEDIUM (50% power) 45 seconds. Let stand 5 minutes.

Combine 2/3 cup water and dried Porcini mushrooms in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave at HIGH 4 minutes or until tender; drain. Coarsely chop porcini.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl. Add fresh mushrooms and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in porcini, pepper, and salt.

Roll dough into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle (or circle) on a floured surface. Carefully remove pizza stone from oven; arrange dough on pizza stone. Spread pesto over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cheese over pesto; top with mushroom mixture. Bake at 500° for 13 minutes or until crust is browned and crisp. Cut into 8 pieces.

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