Homemade pizza is by far one of my favorite things to make because it is such a fun and versatile food to put together. Making the crust satisfies my love of making anything that requires yeast and dough-rising. Second, you can put basically anything you would ever want on it, which means I get to venture to my local food co-op or farmers' market and pick the best and brightest of the local seasonal produce and cheeses.
Chris and I have been craving pizza for a few days, so I headed over to the Sacramento Natural Food Co-op to see what was available. I left with some beautiful chanterelle mushrooms and fresh baby arugula, among other items, all local of course. Putting the pizza together this evening was one of those great happy food moments. The dough, a different recipe than what I usually use, rose beautifully. As a shout-out to my dad, who always made homemade pizza dough when I was growing up, I sprinkled a little cornmeal on the pizza pan prior to laying down the dough. It is a great way to give the crust a unique and satisfying crunch. I spread out a generous helping of my husband's homemade pasta sauce, which we freeze copious amounts of every fall, then folded the dough over a little to make a little sauce pocket. I had pizza folded over like this during the summer, and loved how it turns pizza crust - which is usually dry, flavorless, and ignored - into a soft fold of dough that is a true part of the pizza. Topped with veggies and some herbed goat cheese and paired with a delicious glass of local red wine, this pizza was a perfect homage to all that is local and homemade.
Pizza with Mushrooms & Arugula
Makes 1 pizza
1 c water
1 packet (or 2 1/2 tsp) instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 c flour
1 medium size leek, thinly sliced (white part only)
1/4 lb chanterelle mushrooms (you can use other kinds as well, whatever you like!)
1 small portobello mushroom cap
1 c pizza or pasta sauce
Handful baby arugula (or regular arugula, torn)
4 oz of herbed chevre, or whatever kind of cheese you prefer
To make the crust, combine the yeast and water and let stand 5 minutes, until foamy. Add the salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 c flour; mix until combined. Add remaining flour, a little at a time, until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.* Transfer dough to an oiled mixing bowl. Roll dough around the bowl to evenly coat it in oil. Cover with a clean dish towel and let sit in a room-temperature, non-drafty place for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, a little salt and fresh ground pepper, and saute until leeks are soft and caramelizing, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms (and a little more oil, if skillet seems dry), saute 2-3 minutes; set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. If using pizza stone, put in oven while it is preheating.
After dough has risen, punch down. Brush olive oil on a pizza pan and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place dough on pizza pan and stretch out to cover whole pan. Add sauce; spread evenly. Fold over about 1-inch of the dough all the way around the pizza. Top with leek-mushroom mixture, arugula, and goat cheese. Place pizza in oven on top of pizza stone and bake for 15-20 minutes.
*Note: I use my stand-mixer with a dough hook for this recipe, which makes it pretty easy to see when the dough is truly ready, as it incorporates ingredients more evenly than mixing by hand. If you do this by hand, mix it slowly and gently, being sure that all flour is incorporated before adding more. I usually use just a little bit less than what this recipe calls for.