As you know, pizza is one of the basic food groups for the sports-watching crowd. But you know once in a while, you have to shake things up when you cook for the gang on a weekly basis. I was originally planning on making a regular good ol' basic cheese pizza, when I started going off on a culinary tangent (as I have been known to do) and wound up with this creation: Balsamic 'Shroom & Carmelized Onion Pizza. Why not?
There are a couple of steps to prepare this pizza, but you can saute the mushrooms and carmelize the onions ahead of time, or you can even prepare them the day before you plan on making it. I used store bought pizza dough, but you can certainly make your own if you want.
What's cool about this pizza is that you have a couple of taste explosions going on that work really well together. The sweetness of the carmelized onions and the balsamic vinegar compliment the meatiness of the mushrooms, while the fontina and mozzarella cheeses anchor the flavor palate. Your buddies are not going to know what hit them when you unleash this on them. They'll be so preoccupied with how great it tastes that they won't be so depressed about their team missing the playoffs for the 10th year in a row and is a soap opera worthy of a plot line on "General Hospital." But I digress....
Balsamic 'Shroom & Carmelized Onion Pizza
10 oz package sliced crimini mushrooms
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp powdered rosemary (optional)
2 large onions, chopped finely
12 oz shredded fontina cheese
10 oz shredded mozzarella
4 tbs canola oil
1 package of pizza dough
1. For the balsamic mushrooms: heat 2 tbs of canola oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic powder, powdered rosemary (if using) and salt. Continue to saute for 7-10 minutes until the liquid that renders from it dissolves. Add the balsamic vinegar and let reduce. Place in a bowl and let cool.
2. For the carmelized onions: heat 2 tbs of canola oil in a saute pan on medium-low heat. Add the chopped onions. Salt the onions at this stage because you want the salt to draw out the liquid in the onions. Continue to saute down until the onions turn a dark golden color. Depending on the pan you're using, you may have to lower the heat a little because you want the onions to cook low and slow. You don't want them to burn. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes. Place in a bowl and let cool.
3. Roll and stretch out the pizza dough on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the fontina and mozzarella over the top of the dough. Next, add the mushrooms on top, followed by the carmelized onions.
4. Place in a pre-heated 550-degree oven. Because of the high heat, start checking the pizza after 3 minutes. Depending on your stove, you may need to rotate the pizza to make sure that one side doesn't cook faster than the other. The pizza should be done within 7 minutes (or sooner).
5. Remove from the oven, take the pizza out of the pan and let cool on a cooling rack.
6. Slice up, sit back and wait for accolades.
So there you have it! Hope you decide to check this out. Let me know if you do and how you like it!
See you next Wednesday.....