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My new favorite pizza

Last night’s dinner was “whistle sound…” pitch perfect (if you’ve ever seen the Fantastic Mr. Fox you’ll know what the cuss I’m talking about…. sorry, I couldn’t help myself, we just watched that flick with the kids last night… and I laughed… hard.)

Well, along with the movie, we also made homemade pizza and Pioneer Woman’s homemade Blackberry Ice Cream for dessert.

And it was good.  I mean really, really good.

We made several different pizzas last night, but one of them was a stand out…

and the reason was:

That’s right.  Goat Cheese.  It’s tangy and creamy, and it makes this pizza taste divine.

But there are other reasons why this pizza is my new favorite.  Caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, fresh basil, Italian sausage… need I say more?

Now I’m not going to lie to you.  This pizza takes some work.  But I had the time to cook yesterday, and I loved every minute of it.  And the results are so worth it.

So for want of a better name, here’s how to make Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, Sausage, and Goat Cheese Pizza:

To make pizza, you are going to need to make pizza dough. I always try to make my dough several days in advance.  It really improves the texture of the dough. Here is the pizza dough tutorial you can check it out if you wish.  I’ll also share the recipe at the bottom.

Start by caramelizing the onions.  It takes forever to caramelize onions… so they go first.  I like them sliced fairly thin for a pizza topping.  This process can be used for lots of other foods… to top a hamburger if you are me.  For this pizza, I sliced up one whole onion.  It may look like a lot, but it really shrinks down once they are caramelized.  Plus, you need to plan for all the people stopping by the bowl, who “just want a taste.”

Heat the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of butter.  Pour in the onions.  Cook for about ten minutes over medium high heat.

Add salt to taste.  You may also add a teaspoon of sugar, but I don’t.  Continue to cook, scraping up the brown bits every few minutes, until onions are golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Set the onions aside in a bowl.

Next wash the mushrooms.  And whatever you do, don’t run them under water.  They are like a sponge and all that water will keep them from caramelizing.  I just use a clean damp dishcloth to wipe off any dirt.  Then slice them up.  I’m using button mushrooms today, but my favorite on this pizza is Crimini.   But they just didn’t look good at the store.  No worries, they both work great.

Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil and melt 1 tablespoon of butter over high heat. Toss in the mushrooms.  The trick to getting a nice caramelized color on your mushrooms is to resist the urge to stir them for a few minutes.  Be sure to season with a little salt to taste while they are cooking.  Once golden brown, set aside in a small bowl.

I always brown my sausage before putting it on pizza.  You don’t want to run the risk of it not cooking all the way on top of the pizza.  I used Italian Sausage.

Now it’s time to make the sauce:

And you’re going to want to start with these.  Or grape tomatoes.  If you have cherry tomatoes, cube them up.  If you have grape tomatoes, leave them whole.

Also chop up 1/2 onion and 1 to 2 cloves of garlic.

Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a hot pan.  Add onions, and a pinch of salt and cook for a few minutes.

Add the garlic and tomatoes.  Cook for until garlic is fragrant, about a minute.  Then give the tomatoes a little smash with the back of your spatula.  This will release some of the liquids and keep the garlic from burning… and ruining your day.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the tomatoes have cooked til they are nice and soft, I like to give them a little smash with my potato masher.  It makes my sauce less chunky.  If your sauce is too thick, you can loosen it with a little water or olive oil.

Now to assemble the pizza.  I roll out my pizza as round and thin as I can, rub it with a little olive oil and pierce it all over with a fork.  Pre-bake it on a pizza stone in a 500 degree oven for 2 minutes or in a pan for 3 minutes.

Pour the sauce and spread it around.  Notice my pizza round isn’t exactly round.  I never worry about perfection with these crusts.

Pinch off little pieces of goat cheese all over the pizza.  And then on go the onions.

Sprinkle on the sausage.

Add the mushrooms, a little grated Parmesan cheese, and top it with the basil chiffonade.

Just a quick tip on cutting the basil:

I stack up the leaves of the basil and roll them up.

Now it’s easy to slice through the layers making nice little strips.

Throw the pizza into a 500 degree oven on a pizza stone or on a pan for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pizza crust is golden brown, and the pizza is hot and bubbly.

Here’s the recipe:  If you’d like to print the recipe, here’s the link on Tasty Kitchen.

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, Sausage, and Goat Cheese Pizza

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes (whole) or cherry tomatoes (cubed)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pour olive oil to a hot saute pan.  Add onion, and a pinch of salt and cook for several minutes.  Add tomatoes and garlic.  Cook until the garlic fragrant, about a minute then give the tomatoes a little smash with the back of your spatula to release some juices.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tomatoes are soft and starting to break down.  I like to smash them a bit with my potato masher to make them less chunky.

For the toppings:

  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (for The Onions)
  • 1 teaspoon Butter (for The Onions)
  • 1 pinch Kosher Salt (for The Onions)
  • ½ teaspoons Sugar (optional)
  • ½ pounds Crimini Or Button Mushrooms, Sliced
  • ½ Tablespoons Olive Oil (for The Mushrooms)
  • ½ Tablespoons Butter (for The Mushrooms)
  • ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt (for The Mushrooms)
  • ¼ pounds Italian Sausage, Browned
  • ¼ cups Fresh Basil, Chiffonade
  • 4 ounces, weight Goat Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese

Prepare all the toppings.  Pre-bake your pizza round in a 500 degree oven for 2 minutes on a pizza stone or 3 minutes on a pan.  Top with sauce.  Pinch small pieces of cheese evenly over pizza.  Add remaining toppings.  Cook in a 500 degree oven for 8 – 10 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Here’s the recipe I use for dough:

Dough for three 14-inch pizzas or 4 thin 12 inch rounds:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons dry yeast
1 1/2 cups to 1 1/2 cups plus 4 tablespoons warm water
4 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups bread flour

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine sugar and salt in warm 1 ½ cups warm water.  Add yeast and allow yeast to activate about 10 minutes.  Add flour, olive oil and up to 4 tablespoons warm water if needed and knead dough until well mixed. After allowing dough to rise, form into pizza rounds,  and rub tops with olive oil.  Prebake pizza dough about 2 minutes at 500° F. on a pizza stone or about 3 minutes on a pizza pan.  Top with sauce, cheese and favorite topping ingredients.  Cook pizza in the oven until cheese is bubbly and starting to turn golden on the edges between 8- 12 minutes.

****The dough for pizzas is best when dough is prepared the day (or several days) ahead.   Place dough in a large bowl, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature about three hours before using.

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