Here’s a pizza experiment with mushrooms, maximizing the mushroom flavor of a predominantly mushroom pizza and obtaining a balance between the mushrooms, the tomato-less sauce, the cheeses and the dough, while using every part of the mushroom (the caps as well as the stems) to achieve this and using the oven-roasting juices of these same roasted mushrooms to create a delicious mushroom pizza sauce.
All pizzas don’t always include tomato sauce, even though its acidity and sweetness make the whole pizza experience more enjoyable because it makes everything lighter and provides an excellent contrast to the other ingredients. We’re trying something different here.
For this mushroom pizza with mushroom sauce (no tomatoes here), I use the sliced and roasted mushroom caps as one of the toppings and the roasted mushroom stems to make the sauce. The only additional ingredients used to flavor the mushroom caps and stems, for the topping and the sauce, as they are roasting, are some shallots, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, black pepper, dried herbs and bay leaves.
Here’s a little bit of technical information about whole mushrooms : a whole mushroom is composed of 75% cap and 25% stem; roasting mushrooms, depending of the temperature and length of time, will result in water loss and thus weight loss of about 30%-40% and during this time, some of that roasting juice, 2-3 tablespoons, can be recuperated, half-way through the short roasting time, to include in this pizza sauce.
If you prefer, you can use only mushroom caps for the topping as well as the sauce, but I don’t like wasting the stems, but it makes no difference in the final result, so do what is easier for you. You may also decide to make a larger quantity of the mushroom sauce on one day and freeze the extra amount in individual portions for another day and make the topping on pizza day, that’s up to you.
The mushroom sauce that replaces the tomato sauce, is composed of the roasted mushroom stems, shallots and garlic, which are later recombined with the recuperated oven-roasting juices and reduced to a purée in a food-processor, to which I add some dried oregano and thyme and fresh parsley, as well as a hint of vermouth (or port) and finally, a little bit of cream cheese and parmesan, to make it smoother and perhaps a little more olive oil.
The assembly is relatively simple : pizza dough, mushroom sauce, grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese or strained mozzarella balls, an extra light sprinkling of parmesan, the sliced roasted mushrooms, some extra sliced roasted shallots and some fresh parsley leaves.
I prefer to leave the final ratio of the toppings to the dough up to you, since I often overdo it but we can have a talk about my abnormal pizza-making preferences.
I overload my pizzas ! A normal person would make double the number of pizzas with my quantity of toppings but I treat my pizzas like a full meal and one of my large 40 cm pizzas can heartily feed 4 people, with absolutely no need for side-dishes or accompaniments. Is it a mistake ? Probably, for a pizza aficionado or expert or purist, but I hope that the love and generosity and obsession that I put into my pizza-making, is not mistaken for ignorance, because it’s easily fixed, just make more dough balls and make more pizzas with the same amount of toppings that I use for just one pizza.
A normal person’s thin-crust pizza requires a ball of dough that weighs approximately 250 grams, that when stretched out, measures 25 cm in diameter, with a nice puffy edge of about 3 cm going all the way around. The added toppings, also if you’re normal, will usually weigh from two-thirds and maximally up to an equal weight to the dough weight. Broken down, this would imply some sauce, some cheese and whatever else that defines that pizza, so let’s say 80 grams sauce and 80 grams cheese and up to 80 grams of prepared meats or vegetables. This size of pizza feeds 1 person.
A gluttonous person’s pizza (this definitely means “me” when making a heartier and heavier pizza) will usually require a ball of dough of 325 grams, stretched out to 30 cm, with a narrower edge of 2,5 cm and the prepared toppings for my pizzas will weigh 600 grams or almost double the initial weight of the dough, composed of 100 grams of sauce + 100 grams of sliced sausage + 200 grams of pre-cooked vegetables + 200 grams of cheeses. Despite the thin and crunchy crust, the pizza slices are always approximately 3 cm high, even towards the middle, due to the large quantity of toppings, like a deep-dish pizza, yet sturdy and this version obviously feeds 2 people quite well.
Why am I telling you all of this ? Simply because if you decide to make any of my older pizza recipes (like my Montreal-style all-dressed pizza, see recipe here, or my Spanish-style chorizo pizza, see recipe here), then feel free to make double the amount of dough (thus double the number of pizzas) to make more pizzas with my abnormally large quantity of toppings.
For this mushroom pizza recipe, which is quite rich and heavy, I’ve decided to take baby steps and simply keep the ratio of total toppings to the dough at 1:1 or almost equal weights of each.
It’s the best I can do for now … :)