We eat a lot of pizza in this household. Mark loves pizza and in particular he loves my homemade pizza. I worked in a pizza place in college and apparently my pizza making gene was activated and has never shut off. Tonight I was hankering for something pizza-like, but not a traditional pizza. No red sauce, but more of a non-traditional comfort food kind of thing. Something with sauteed mushroom and caramelized onions.
What I came up with was so good it was insane. I’m sure I’m not the first person to do this, but I had to share the deliciousness.
This recipe comes from Suzanne Dunaway’s great book No Need To Knead. I got this book of great bread recipes from a former boss. I can attest that every recipe in this book is wonderful. She calls this her Basic Pizza Crust. It calls for a food processor, but you can get away with not using one if you have a strong arm. It refrigerates like a dream in a plastic baggie; just let it come to room temperature before using it.
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 & 1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 cups flour
6 T olive oil (a better quality oil will give you more flavor)
1 tsp salt
Use a liquid measuring cup with a spout for the water and then sprinkle the yeast into it. Stir to dissolve the yeast.
In the food processor combine the flour, oil and salt. Start the processor and then pour in the yeast/water while it’s moving. Have it run until it starts to form a ball. Then take it out and put it in an oiled boil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 60 minutes or until double.
2 small onions or 1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
4 cups mushrooms, sliced (I used regular white mushrooms that came pre-sliced in the container.
Put about 2 T of olive oil in a skillet and heat over medium heat. When hot add the garlic, onion, and mushrooms and saute until nice and brown. This is going to take awhile as you don’t want the skillet spanking hot, you want time to build the flavor. Once they are done put them in a bowl because you’re going to need that skillet in just a second. And for heaven’s sake, DO NOT WASH THE SKILLET. (You may have to do this in batches. That is okay.)
This is a little time consuming, but oh so awesome. It is Julia Child’s recipe for a Sauce Chivry from her epic book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol 1. This book has everything you need to become a great chef. I promise. It also makes you talk like Julia Child while you are reading the recipe. Okay, maybe that’s just me.
With that skillet you have cooked the mushrooms and onions in, but NOT WASHED, pour in 1 cup of dry white wine and a 1/2 tsp of dry Thyme. Start it simmering and reduce it down to 3 T. Scrape up the browned bits and make sure those incorporate with the wine.
In a medium sauce pan, melt 2 T of butter over medium heat. When it is melted add 3 T of flour and stir it together, cooking for 2 minutes. Then you’ll add 2 cups of milk. Add the milk very slowly, about 2 or so tablespoons at a time, taking the time to whisk each addition into the flour and butter mixture. If you don’t go slowly you’ll get lumps and you definitely do not want lumps. Lumps = bad. Slow = smooth and delicious.
Keep whisking until it thickens. This can be tedious, but you have time because your wine is reducing. In fact, it’s probably down to 3 T by now. Once the sauce in the sauce pan is about the consistency of hair conditioner remove it from the heat and add the reduced wine. Be sure to scrape all the good stuff into the white sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Move rack to the lowest position in the oven.
Preheat oven to 525 F. No I am not kidding.
Divide the ball of risen dough in half and put each ball onto its own greased cookie sheet or oiled pizza stone. This is a really soft dough so you can pull it into a rectangular shape pretty easily. If you tear a hole in it just patch it with dough from a thicker part of the crust.
Smear each dough with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the white sauce. Top with the mushrooms and onion mixture. Then pour the white sauce over the top of that. Sprinkle with about 2 T to 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. I think Gruyere would be great, too.
Put one of the flatbreads into the oven and increase the temperature to 550F. Again, I am not kidding.
Bake for 7 to 10 minutes. Start with 7 and then add time. The temperature is so hot the crust and cheese can burn in an instant, so watch it in the last minute or two.
This is what it looks like……
The olive oil in the dough makes the baked crust flaky and slightly crunchy. The mushrooms give it a hearty texture and the Sauce Chivry makes it feel gooey and gives the whole thing that good-down-to-your-soul comfort food feel. Mark and I ate one whole 8″x15″ flatbread ourselves. And I probably could have been convinced to eat another slice if there had been any left.
This would be great party food or a wonderful appetizer. Good enough to get you invited back. Make it. You won’t be disappointed.
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