Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mushroom and Taleggio Pizza with Gremolata

So, in case it hasn’t been apparent, I haven’t done much cooking for almost a week now. I was away for the weekend, and while I did make some good stuff for dinner for me and my partner-in-crime/bff on Saturday night (spinach and fresh ricotta gnocchi, key lime pie cupcakes), I didn’t have my camera with me, so neither of those things end up counting (because no one wants a recipe without a photo!). Also, the bf has been away for the past few days, so my dinners have consisted of what I like to call squirrel meals, by which I forage in my pantry and fridge for random things to eat that, together, can possibly constitute the bulk of a real meal. Maybe I should just call it “small plates” so that I don’t sound pathetic.

I rarely have the desire to cook a good meal for just myself. When it’s just me (and when I was living alone in NYC) I rarely made the kind of food that I have been making and posting on here for the past year. I only cooked like this once a week, when I would either have a friend over for dinner or when I would go over to my bff’s and cook dinner for the two of us. I really love cooking for people that I like, but I derive very little joy out of cooking for myself and I just don’t care enough to do it. I can’t be the only one with that mindset, right?

That being said, this pizza is something I made for my brother a few weeks ago and never got around to posting. I made a version of this for my mom when she was visiting a few months ago, and that first creation was based on a risotto I had eaten in NYC a very long while ago. I’ve always loved the earthy combination of mushrooms and taleggio cheese, and the risotto I had topped it off with bright lemon and parsley instead of earthy sage (as I would have expected). I loved the flavors, so I decided to turn it into a pizza, because my mom and brother (and my dad, who, unfortunately, never got this pizza – sorry dad) and I are all pizza lovers – what do you expect, we’re New Yorkers.

By the way, I had no idea what gremolata was until I looked it up a few months ago. Turns out I had been using it for ages but I had no idea that there was actually a term for a mixture of finely chopped parsley, garlic, and lemon zest. Like pesto, gremolata can be made with a variety of herbs and other add-ins, but the one I use here is the classic one.

Mushroom and Taleggio Pizza with Gremolata
(makes one 10” pizza)

2 tablespoons semolina or cornmeal, for dusting
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 6-ounce ball of pizza dough (this is the recipe I use)
4 ounces cremini mushroom, sliced 1/8” thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
4 ounces taleggio cheese, cut into ¼” cubes
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (from approximately a handful of leaves)
1 teaspoon lemon zest (from approximately one whole lemon)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (from 1 medium clove)


Place a pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven. Heat the oven to 500° F at least 45 minutes before baking the pizza. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can use a baking sheet (but don’t preheat the sheet).

Dust a pizza peel or large baking sheet with the semolina or cornmeal. Coat your hands with the flour. Stretch out the pizza dough into a 10” circle, leaving a lip around the edge for the crust. (The rest of the dough should be very thin and slightly transparent). Place the dough onto the peel/baking sheet.

Toss the mushrooms with the olive oil, then evenly distribute them over \the pizza. Evenly distribute the cheese over the mushrooms.

If you’re using a pizza stone and peel, transfer the pizza to the stone; if you’re using a baking sheet, place the sheet on the oven rack. Bake until the edges of the crust are golden brown; this takes about 8 minutes on a pizza stone and it should probably take the same amount of time on a baking sheet. [Once you hit the 7 minute mark, keep a close eye on your pizza – it will go from pale to burnt in a matter of minutes, and no one wants a burnt pizza.]

While the pizza is baking, mix the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic in a small bowl (this is now the gremolata).

Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle it with the gremolata. Let the pizza stand for 1-2 minutes before slicing and serving.


Lisa said...

Oh, that looks and sounds so delicious, and right up my alley. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

completely agree on cooking for oneself. great way to lose weight, actually.

Meghan said...

i could really use this pizza right now!

it looks amazing... and gremolata is the perfect topping!

Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks great - I love mushrooms, especially on pizza.

As for cooking for oneself, I actually find it kind of freeing. While my husband is very adventurous and brave, he still has a tendency to turn up his nose at a lot of things (especially pulses.) When he's on the road I have the opportunity to get really wild.

K8teebug said...


I agree. Cooking for someone else is much more rewarding than cooking for yourself. (As long as it's something good like this pizza)

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not her brother said...

gremolata, despite my skepticism (not too much since what she makes is always good, but i am her brother so i can be a pain in the ass) is fantastic on the pizza.

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