It came to my attention at a recent cooking class that, as a pizza blogger, I have been drastically under-serving the mushroom-loving population. So, to all you fungi-aficionados, here’s the pizza for you. A flavor-bomb of earthy, mineraly mushrooms brightened with the citrus notes of fennel and tarragon and mellowed with cream and Parmesan cheese. It’s the summery mushroom pizza of your dreams.
Mushroom and Fennel Pizza with Parmesan and Cream
Makes one 12-inch pizza
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 10 ounces cremini or Baby Bella mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (14 to 16-ounce) ball Basic or Slow-Rise Pizza Dough (or pre-made pizza dough)
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing the dough
- ½ medium fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
- ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Place your pizza stone or steel (if using) on an oven rack in the middle of your oven. If you plan to cook your pizza on a baking sheet, just place a rack in the middle of the oven (you do not need to preheat the baking sheet). Preheat the oven to 500°F (or the highest temperature your oven will allow, if using a pizza stone/steel) and let it heat up for at least 30 minutes while you make the dough.
To cook the mushrooms: Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté just until it has softened, then add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are tender and have released their liquid. Remove the skillet from the heat and season the mushrooms with salt and pepper to taste.
To stretch out the dough: Place the dough on a clean work surface and, using your hands, gently stretch it into a 12-inch square or disk, making sure that it retains the same thickness throughout (more or less).
If you’re using a pizza stone or steel: Dust a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet with flour or cornmeal. Place the dough disk on the prepared peel.
If you’re using a baking sheet: Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the dough disk on the prepared baking sheet.
To top the pizza: Brush the dough lightly with olive oil, making sure to get all the way to the edges. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to the dough and spread them out, then scatter on the fennel and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Drizzle the cream evenly over top.
To bake the pizza: If you’re using a pizza stone or steel, 10 minutes before you are ready to cook the pizza, increase the oven heat to broil. Slide the pizza from the peel (or inverted baking sheet) to the hot stone or steel using quick shimmying movements. Broil the pizza for 6 to 8 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese begins to brown in spots. Using the peel or inverted baking sheet, transfer the cooked pizza to a cutting board. If you are making more than one pizza, allow the pizza stone or steel to reheat under the broiler for 5 minutes before you cook the next one.
If you’re using a baking sheet, do not increase the oven to broil. Place the baking sheet on the rack in the middle of the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese begins to brown in spots.
Remove the pizza from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes, then sprinkle on the tarragon and finish with a pinch of salt and a grind or two of black pepper. Slice and serve.