This is wine bar food at its best—blue cheese melted into buttery-soft, wine-braised onions and topped with a sprinkling of fresh parsley. The ingredients are simple, the presentation is elegant, and the flavors are bold yet harmonized. To the caramelized onions' soft bite and deep, luscious flavor, the blue cheese (Blue Bell, from Valley Milkhouse Creamery) responds with a sharp, roof-of-the-mouth tang and smooth, velvety texture. And, scattered over all, parsley's chipper staccato brightens the mood and tickles the tongue.
Buy a good bottle of red wine for this pizza, since you'll have plenty left to enjoy after making the onions. I used a Zinfandel this time, and the wine flavor really shone through in the finished product.
Wino Onion and Blue Cheese Pizza
Makes one 12-inch pizza
- 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium yellow onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup robust red wine
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball Basic Pizza Dough (or pre-made dough)
- 1/4 pound creamy blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
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 the butter in a cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet (not not-stick) over medium heat. Add the onions to the skillet with a pinch of salt. Stir gently.
Cook the onions for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until they are caramelized to your liking. If they start to burn, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet and continue cooking.
When the onions are caramelized, pour in the wine, scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet, and cook for 2 minutes until the liquid is almost completely evaporated. Season the onions with salt to taste and remove the skillet from the heat.
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: Spoon the onions onto the dough and spread them evenly, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Sprinkle the cheese over top.
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 5 to 7 minutes (3 to 5 minutes in a gas oven), until the bottom of the crust is crispy and the top is blistered. 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 about 10 minutes, until the crust is crispy and the top is blistered.
Let the pizza cool for at least 5 minutes, then sprinkle the parsley over top; slice and serve.