June 23, 2008

Whole Wheat Pizza with Caramelized Shallots, Goat Cheese, Cremini Mushrooms, & Watercress

My friend, Sarah, was in town from London this past week, and we met for dinner at a fun Italian restaurant located in the West Village. With Italian food fresh in my mind, I yearned for more and as a result decided to make pizza—from scratch.

I was visiting another friend, Zaidee, a few weeks ago and together we made pizza using a recipe for whole wheat dough from her Canyon Ranch Cooks cookbook. This is a cookbook geared towards those who eat healthy—something I strive towards but often stray from. Surprisingly, the dough was super simple to make (aside from some stickiness) and tasted pretty good for something that is healthy. However, all healthy aspects of the dough recipe were offset by the naughtiness of my rich toppings. Oh well.

Once you make your dough and roll it out, you can really then top it with whatever your heart desires. On this particular Sunday evening, my heart desired the sweetness of caramelized shallots matched with the creamy tang of goat cheese combined with the earthiness of cremini mushrooms freshened up with the peppery, fresh flavor of watercress. Yum!

Once my pizza was finished I sat down and indulged in my creation, which was scrumptious. On Sundays some people reach their spiritual ambitions by hearing sermons in church. I on the other hand reach my spiritual journeys through food. Oh, and wine helps too. As I devoured my pizza along with my glass of Sauvignon blanc, I did feel like I was in heaven.

So here is how you too can make this pizza. Feel free to just take the dough recipe and experiment with your own combination of toppings. Or try mine. I think either way you will be delighted. Of course, I’m sure that a proper pizza dough recipe is better, but for a healthy crust, I think this is good.

Dough Recipe, adapted from Canyon Ranch Cooks
(Canyon Ranch thinks this is for 6 servings, but I think that’s crazy talk—it is a health cookbook after all. Realistically it is for 4-5 entrée servings.)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the water, yeast, sugar, salt, and olive oil. Using a dough hook on medium low speed, slowly add the whole wheat and all-purpose flour and continue mixing until the dough separates from the side of the bowl. (If you do not have a mixer, or are like me and are too lazy to lug that huge thing out, you can do this by hand. Just stir the flour in with a spoon and mix well—this will take some elbow grease.)
  2. Lightly coat a medium sized bowl with olive oil. Form the dough into a ball and place it into this bowl. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 1 hour to rise.
  3. Set the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat baking sheet with olive oil (I used parchment paper for easier clean-up).
  4. On a floured board, punch down the dough and lightly knead for 30 seconds. Divide the dough into equal servings. Roll out the balls of dough into thin layers and place onto baking sheets.
  5. Add your toppings (see my suggestion below) and bake for 10 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
Kristin’s Toppings
(just use these measurements as guides and go with what looks right for the size of your pizza)
  • Olive oil
  • 4 large shallots, sliced
  • 24 large cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 10 oz goat cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 ¼ cups watercress sprigs
  • Truffle oil (optional)
  1. As the dough is rising, slowly sauté the shallots with some olive oil over medium low to medium heat. (By sautéing the shallots slowly, this allows for the sugars in them to caramelize.) Meanwhile, in another pan sauté mushrooms with some olive oil. If they get soggy, turn up heat a little and continue sautéing uncovered. When the shallots and mushrooms are done, spread out on a plate to cool.
  2. Spread a thin layer of olive oil over the top of the rolled out dough (including the edges). Evenly scatter the chopped garlic. Add the goat cheese in dollops and flatten out with the back of the spoon. Now add the mushrooms and shallots. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake pizza in oven until done per directions above. Take the pizza out of the oven and top with watercress sprigs. Drizzle additional olive oil (or truffle oil, if you have any) over the top and serve.

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Anonymous Roland said...

WOW!! I can't wait to try this one Kristin! Looks fabulous!

9:02 PM  
Blogger christinaj said...

Yum! This looks so great! Anytime you want to come over and teach me how to do this, while we drink wine, of course, im so game! xo christina.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Joan Stepsen
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6:12 AM  

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