While most of my pizzas are inspired by a seasonal vegetable or favorite recipe, this one started with a cheese: Fat Cat from Birchrun Hills. It's a semi-soft, bloomy rind cheese made from raw cow's milk, in the style of blue cheese but without the addition of mold. In other words, it's intense with a little stink and a soft, almost fudgy texture that melts really well. If you can't find Fat Cat where you live, go to your neighborhood cheesemonger and ask for a stinky cheese that goes well with mushrooms. Mushrooms and leeks have a little stink of their own, so think of this pizza as an opportunity to experiment with stronger cheeses that can stand out and balance the other flavors. Taleggio, beer or wine-washed tomme, blue cheese, and triple creme are all great places to start.
Stinky 'Shroom Pizza
Makes one 12-inch pizza
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
- 8 to 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
- 4 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced into thin rings and rinsed well
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball Basic Pizza Dough (or pre-made dough)
- 1/4 pound creamy, stinky cheese, grated or crumbled (like blue cheese, taleggio, triple creme, or beer/wine-washed tomme)
Place your pizza stone (if using) on an oven rack about 8 inches from the broiler. If you plan to cook your pizza on a baking sheet, place a rack in the middle of the oven (you do not need to preheat the baking sheet). Preheat the oven to 500°F and let it heat up for at least 30 minutes while you make the dough and/or prepare the toppings.
To prep the toppings: Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they release their moisture and the pan starts to dry out again, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the leeks to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, or until they soften. Stir in the parsley and remove the skillet from the heat. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
To stretch/roll out the dough: Dust the ball of dough with flour and place it on a well-floured work surface. Using your hands or a rolling pin, gently stretch or roll the dough into a 12-inch disk.
If you’re using a pizza stone: Dust a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet generously 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: Place the remaining tablespoon of butter in a bowl and melt it in the microwave, about 30 seconds. Spread the mushroom-leek mixture on the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border of dough all around. Brush the exposed border of dough with the melted butter, and sprinkle the cheese over top of the vegetables.
To bake the pizza: If you're using a pizza stone, 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 using quick shimmying movements. Broil the pizza for 6 to 8 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese begins to brown. 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 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 at 500°F for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crust is golden and the cheese begins to brown.
Let the pizza rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.