I was really in the mood to make some delicious pizza last weekend. I remembered that my son Danny had eaten pizza in New York City a few months ago that he had gone nuts for. I wanted to recreate that pizza for Danny. I had so much fun experimenting with making the pizzas, and the results were amazing! First, I used half the recipe for my homemade pizza dough to make one large pie. The pie was half plain, and half mushroom. The second pie I made was specifically for my son Danny, to recreate the pie he had in NY. For that pie, I topped it with some caramalized onions, and then with some shredded romano cheese. Then I made some homemade spinach pesto, which Danny drizzed over some of his pizza. I can’t tell how delicious those pies were! Few pizzarias make pizza that taste this good!
Pizza Dough (This dough recipe makes 2 large pizzas, but the following instructions are meant to be enough for only 1 pizza.) For the dough recipe, type in calzone above in the search, and the recipe for the pizza dough will come up.
for the mushroom pizza: Heat saute pan. Put a little olive oil in a saute pan to coat. Put sliced mushrooms (about 8-10 oz.) in hot oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt, a few cracks of black pepper, and a light sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Let sit undisturbed till mushrooms brown on bottom. Turn and cook until nicely browned. If you have fresh garlic on hand, mince or chop one or two cloves and throw into pan at this point. Keep moving garlic around so it doesn’t burn. Garlic just needs to saute for a minute to become translucent and be flavorful. Although, I didn’t do this, you might want to add a sprinkling of either fresh thyme leaves (leaves from one sprig), or a sprinkling of dry oregano. Saute another minute or so. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place sheet of parchment paper on large, heavy duty cookie sheet or half sheet pan. Sprinkle parchment paper with yellow cornmeal (I use Quaker). Then, roll dough out on a lightly floured clean counter, or lightly floured piece of waxed paper or parchment paper to 1/4 inch thickness into either a large circle or rectangle. Once dough is rolled out, lift the dough with your hands and transfer it to parchment on cookie sheet. Then spoon about 1 cup of marinara sauce over dough. Sprinkle a very light sprinkling of red pepper flakes over sauce (if you like the heat). Then sprinkle about 8 oz. of coursely grated or thinly sliced whole milk (not fresh) mozzarella cheese evenly over pizza. Place mushrooms evenly over pizza. Sprinkle very lightly with dried oregano. Bake on middle rack in oven for about 15-18 minutes until the underside of the dough is lightly browned. Then change the setting on the oven to broil, and cook for about 3 more minutes until the cheese becomes bubbly, brown, and beautiful!
for the carmelized onion and romano pizza:
Thinly slice about 4 medium-large onions. Pour about 1/4 cup olive oil into a large saute pan. Get it hot over a medium flame. Add the sliced onions. Sprinkle them with kosher salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Saute for about 30-40 minutes over a medium flame, turning every so often. The idea is not to burn the onions, but to brown them. This takes a little while, so be patient. Set pan aside.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper over a large heavy duty cookie sheet or sheet pan. Then sprinkle some yellow cornmeal (I use Quaker) on the parchment paper. Roll dough out on lightly floured clean counter or sheet of waxed or parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thickness, either into a large circle or a large rectangle. Spoon about 1 cup marinara sauce over the dough. Distribute onions evenly over top of sauce. Sprinkle about 4 garlic cloves, minced on top. Then sprinkle about 4 oz. of shredded, not grated, romano cheese (which I use because romano cheese has no lactose in it), or shredded parmesan cheese over top of pizza. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt, red pepper flakes if you like a little heat, a little coarse black pepper, and sprinkle very lightly with dried oregano. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake in the oven on middle rack for about 15 minutes until the bottom of the dough is lightly browned. If pizza is browning too quickly, lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Serve with pesto on the side, and spoon a little on if your wish.
Slice, serve, and enjoy!