We were struck with a pizza craving yesterday afternoon while watching an old episode of Man vs Food. Fortunately for us, it was still early enough in the day for me to get a yeasted dough ready to bake at a reasonable hour for dinner. I mixed up a half batch of olive oil dough and got it proofing in the oven while I went to work on the sauce, complicating matters for myself by using fresh tomatoes: they were greenies brought home last month from the community garden that finally decided to ripen, and I blanched and peeled them, then ran them through my food mill and simmered the resulting puree until most of the water had gone out of it.
By the time the tomato sauce was thick enough, the dough was proofed and ready to stretch. We selected a topping blend of sauted mushrooms, onions, bacon, and thinly sliced red potatoes, all cooked until just tender with some Italian herbs. Jeremy shredded up a pile of cheddar and colby-jack cheeses in our new box grater (no mozzarella on hand!), and we assembled a good-sized pizza on parchment paper. Fewer than 10 minutes in the roaring oven and it was ready to eat.
This was an excellent combination, if I do say so myself. I’ve had trouble with my pizza sauces being too watery in the past, but that was not the case this time around. I find that I don’t mind mushrooms on pizza, provided they have been cut up rather small and sauted before going on the pizza, and the presence of bacon doesn’t hurt either. As for the potatoes, I have been wanting to try them on pizza for ages, and they were great. They cooked with the other toppings just for a few minutes, until the slices lost their opacity but before they could start falling apart. This would probably be even better with wild mushrooms, pancetta or prosciutto, and a more interesting cheese blend, maybe including fontina and provolone, even Gruyere.
Incidentally, this last photo shows my son’s opinion of pizza—the little bread fiend always flips his slices over and goes for the crust first. Toppings just make eating that crust messier!