Monday, May 30, 2011

Pre-Race Pizza

You'll soon realize this blog could've easily been titled "Pizza and Other Things We Made When Not Making Pizza."  The fact is, we love pizza.  It's versatile, easy and (when you make it yourself) healthy.

I ran the Bolder Boulder 10k this morning, so last night's dinner was pre-race pizza.  For a runner, there's nothing better than pizza.  Except maybe pasta.  You'll see a lot of that here, too.

And I ran a course PR (personal record) at the Bolder Boulder today.  So if you want to run fast in your next race, you should make this pizza and drink this wine because they obviously have performance-enhancing qualities.  (Note: This claim has not been approved by the FDA.  Your results may differ.  Side effects may include . . .  blah, blah, blah.)

Pepperoni Pizza with Shiitake Mushrooms, Red Onion and Brocollini
Brad and I wandered around Whole Foods yesterday afternoon in search of pizza toppings and came up with a great combination.  We wanted something with a bit of crunch, and the brocollini was perfect.  And I just love the buttery flavor of shiitake mushrooms, but you could use whatever kind of mushrooms you prefer.

We drank one of our favorite rose's, Vin Gris of Pinot Noir from Robert Sinskey Vinyards.  This rose' is so good, and the vineyard makes it in such small quantities, that as summer goes on our friends begin to ration and mete out their Sinskey rose'.  As a result, it becomes a sort of social currency.  Those who are known to have a bottle or two left on hand are never without an invite to a party or dinner.

You heard it here first, the key to being popular is Sinskey rose'.  Forget money, forget good looks, forget a sense of humor.  When the days get long and hot, people want the pink.  If you see it in your local liquor store, buy it.  It probably won't be there the next time you stop in.  Especially if you live near us.

Pepperoni Pizza with Shiitake Mushrooms, Red Onion and Brocollini
If you made the Salami pizza last week like we did, you'll have that second pizza crust in your freezer.  You will also need some simple tomato sauce; here's the recipe for both.

For the pizza toppings:

2 oz pepperoni, torn into bite-sized pieces
3 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 bunch of brocollini, chopped into about 1 1/2 inch sections
1/8 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup finely shredded asiago cheese
1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil

Assembly and Baking Instructions

Place pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 450.  Ideally you should let the pizza stone heat for 45 minutes to an hour, but we've heated it for less time and still had ok results.

Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a pizza peel or large rimless baking sheet and place the ball of dough in the center.  Coat your fingers with olive oil and press the dough from the center outward into a 12-inch round with a slightly raised edge.  If the dough springs back, it is not quite ready to work.  Cover it with a clean kitchen towel, pour yourself a glass of wine, and let it rest a few minutes before continuing.  Patience is key here, as the thinner the dough is, the cripier the crust will be.  And the dough will not let you work it until it is good and ready.  It's kind of stubborn that way.

Brush the raised edge of the dough with a light coating of olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.  For this pizza we used rosemary sea salt.  You don't want to put a lot of salt on the crust, think about how much salt you'd sprinkle on a soft pretzel.  Spread the dough evenly with the tomato sauce, leaving a 1/2 inch border uncovered.  Combine the Asiago and cheddar cheeses and scatter about half over the sauce, then top with the pepperoni, shiitake mushrooms, red onion, brocollini and the rest of the cheese.

Carefully slide the pizza-topped parchment paper from the peel or baking sheet onto the hot pizza stone.  Bake until done.  Just kidding.  Bake until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, 9-12 minutes, sprinkling the parmesan cheese on top after about 5 minutes.  Using the pizza peel or rimless baking sheet, remove the pizza from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board to slice.

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