For those of us who like to experiment with fresh ingredients and are looking for new ways to challenge your skills in the kitchen, this Shiitake Bacon Pizza Recipe will definitely encourage you to prep your cooking area and get to work!
We discovered this delightful dish after receiving a new cookbook called The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini and stopping dead in our tracks on page 205.
Of course being “all about the veggies,” we took to this recipe along with many others inside, and decided that this was a must share experience.
Go ahead and give it a try yourself.
Shiitake “Bacon” and Shredded Brussels Sprouts Pizza With an Egg on Top
Pan-roasting shredded shiitake mushrooms until they are golden and crispy deepens their smoky flavor and magically imbues them with a heady bacon-like flavor. I think they make a stellar pizza topping, one that’s even better with a cabbagey base of shredded Brussels sprouts. Thin ribbons of the portly sprouts crisp up in the oven, adding just another element of perfection. Other highlights are sweet red onions and a duo of creamy ricotta and Fontina cheeses. A cracked egg on top seems only appropriate, but you decide how irreverent you can be.
When you have the time to plan ahead, making pizza dough from scratch produces the best results. (Plus, it’s a satisfying and fun DIY project that isn’t as complicated as you may think.) You will need to make this one about two hours ahead, but you can take some shortcuts to get there sooner if needed. In a pinch, you can buy a little over a pound of store-bought pizza dough to produce two 12-inch pizzas. Investing in a pizza stone is worth it, but you can use a rimless baking sheet or the underside of a rimmed baking sheet if you don’t have one.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps very thinly sliced (see page 203)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, finely sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- All-purpose flour, for working with the dough
- Pizza Dough (page 206)
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
- 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
- 3 to 4 ounces (2/3 cup) freshly grated Italian Fontina cheese or 4 to 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 large eggs (optional)
- Coarse or flaked sea salt
- Your best extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven. (Alternatively, lightly oil a rimless baking sheet or the underside of a rimmed baking sheet and set it aside.) Preheat the oven to 550°F for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, set a plate lined with paper towels next to the stove-top and heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until they brown on the edges and crisp, about 3 minutes. Pull them from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the prepared plate to cool.
- Return the pan to medium-high heat and melt the butter in any remaining oil. Add the Brussels sprouts, fine sea salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they become tender and browned in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Generously flour a pizza peel or cutting board. Use your hands and fingertips to pull and stretch 1 ball of dough to form a 12-inch round over the peel. (Try not to pull or push air out of the crust. You want to push and stretch the dough out toward the sides, allowing excess dough along the edges to form the rim.) Don’t worry if you stretch it too thin and create a hole: Pull and fold over some dough surrounding the hole and press down with your fingertips to smooth and seal it.
- Scatter spoonfuls of half of the ricotta over the dough, and use the back of the spoon to spread it out. (It will not completely cover the dough.) Scatter half of the Brussels sprouts, then half of the red onion and half of the shiitakes over the ricotta. Top with half of the Fontina and the leaves from 2 thyme sprigs.
- Pull out the oven rack with the stone so that it is accessible but well supported. Gently shake the pizza on the peel to make sure it is not sticking. (If it sticks, carefully lift the pizza around the edges and scatter flour beneath it.) Carefully but quickly slide the pizza off the peel and onto the stone. Slide the rack back in and close the oven. (Alternatively, slide the pizza onto the oiled baking sheet and place it in the oven.) Bake until the crust is crisp and a light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes (up to 15 minutes on a baking sheet). If you are adding an egg, crack one into a ramekin or measuring cup and transfer it to the middle of the pizza after baking for 4 minutes (about 8 minutes if baking on a baking sheet). Continue to bake until the egg white is set but the yolk is still runny, and the crust is crisp and a light golden brown, another 4 to 6 minutes.
- Use the peel to lift the pizza out of the oven or grab the pizza crust with tongs to transfer it back to the cutting board. Sprinkle the pie with coarse sea salt and drizzle with your best extra-virgin olive oil. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.
Makes two 12-inch pizzas
- 1½ cups warm water (105°F to 115°F), plus up to 2 teaspoons more if needed
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour in a pinch)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to oil the bowl
- In a 2-cup liquid measure, combine ¼cup of the warm water and the yeast. Let the mixture swell for 5 minutes. Lightly flour a work surface, pizza peel, or cutting board.
- Add the flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add the remaining 1¼cups of warm water to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Pulse the dry ingredients again, then gradually pour the yeast mixture and then the olive oil through the top feed tube. Continue to pulse the dough until it pulls away from the side of the bowl and forms a ball. (Add up to 2 teaspoons more of warm water, adding one at a time, and pulse if it is not coming together.)
- Use a silicone spatula to scrape the dough out onto the prepared work surface. Knead it briefly until it is slightly sticky. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a large oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it aside in a warm part of the kitchen to rise until it doubles in size, about 1½hours (at least 30 minutes if you can’t wait).
- Flour the work surface again. Punch down the dough and scrape it onto the work surface. Divide the dough in half and knead each piece briefly into a smooth ball. Flatten the balls into thick disks, wrap individually in plastic wrap, and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes. To use the dough the next day, refrigerate the disks and bring to room temperature before proceeding.
Mushroom Ragout with Pappardelle
Makes 4½ to 5 cups sauce; serves 4 to 6
Mushrooms are a natural choice for a meaty, bolognese-style sauce. I use a mix of oyster and cremini mushrooms, balancing earthy flavors, textures, and cost. Sometimes I add dried porcini along with their soaking liquid to punctuate woodsy notes. (But I don’t fuss if I don’t have them.) I might throw in king trumpet and abalone mushrooms when I have access to special varieties. If you have a good mushroom purveyor at your farmers’ market or a specialty shop in your area, explore other options and experiment with a mix of them.
This ragout is at its very best with pappardelle, a silky, broad-noodle pasta that holds this sauce beautifully; but you can serve it with rigatoni, too. Store-bought, dried pappardelle usually comes in an eight-ounce package, so make sure to buy two for a full batch. If you want to cut the servings to make only eight ounces of pasta (to serve 2 to 3 people), feel free—although I still recommend making a full batch of sauce. It freezes well, and you can freeze half of it in an airtight container; just be sure to do so before adding the cream and parmesan. Or you may want to keep leftovers in the fridge instead: It is even better the next day and just as good on garlic-rubbed toast.
I recommend using a food processor to make a textured but creamy sauce. Without a food processor, you can finely chop all of the vegetables for a chunky, less uniform sauce. It’s still delicious.
- 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
- 1 pound oyster mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and coarsely chopped (see Note)
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and quartered (see Note)
- Fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra as needed
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- 1 pound dried pappardelle pasta
- Place the onion, carrot, and celery in a food processor and pulse, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed, until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a medium-size bowl; set aside. Place the oyster and cremini mushrooms, 1 pound at a time, in the food processor and pulse, scraping down the side of the bowl, until they are finely chopped and form a coarse paste. Set aside.
- Set a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it to a boil.
- Meanwhile, place the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the reserved onion mixture, ¼teaspoon of salt, and the ¹/₈ teaspoon of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and begin to caramelize and the cooking liquid evaporates, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and red pepper flakes, creating a thick paste. Continue to cook, stirring almost constantly and being careful not to let it burn, until the paste has combined with the other ingredients and browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the mushrooms and another ¼teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are completely tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the wine and stir any brown bits off the bottom of the pan until it evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cream and the ¹/₃ cup of parmesan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
- When the salted water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions until it is al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water.
- Add the pasta directly to the sauce along with 1 cup of the reserved pasta water and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Gently toss to coat well, adding more of the pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce and coat the pasta. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and top with more freshly grated parmesan.
Note: Don’t discard the stems of cremini and oyster mushrooms—you can use them! Just trim off the tough stem ends.