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)
(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.