So I finished a juice fast last week. Ten days. High-five internet friends!
Do you know what I craved when I was juicing? Not pizza. I craved curry. Lots of spicy curry. And anything with salsa on top. When I started eating solid food again, I craved juice. Crazy, right?
My husband was a little worried about me drinking only juice, but I felt pretty good. No tummy troubles whatsoever. Just a little hungry and tired was all. Okay, truth? I was a kind of a monster. And it was really, really hard to make meals for my family while I was chugging away on my green juice. I blame it more on “that time of the month” than the juice though. That and it was 10 whole days without chocolate. I’m no chocoholic, but I do like to have a good piece or two of Amano after dinner every night.
So where was I? Oh, yes. It was hard to make delicious food for my family when I was drinking juice. And that is how I felt last night as I was making this pizza for my hubby. (The kids got a plain version because I wasn’t up for the fighting last night.)
The caramelized onions. The mushrooms. The sausage I didn’t care so much about. But the crust! Oh, the crust! Have you ever tried Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day? Man. The olive oil dough for flatbread and pizza looks fantastic. And according to my family, it is fantastic. I was cursing my gluten-free diet because that smell from that hot oven of dough rising and cheese browning was too much for me to handle. I almost caved. See? It’s not so easy to eliminate things from your diet. It makes you want to scratch your eyes out sometimes.
I topped the pizza with arugula and gave it a good drizzle with a sweet condensed balsamic vinegar we bought at Caputo’s a few months ago. It’s the special kind of balsamic that only comes off the shelf when we’re drizzling. It is not for dipping bread in. It’s not for vinaigrettes. However, if you need a little spoonful, that is perfectly acceptable.
According to my husband, the arugula makes this pizza. I can’t take total credit for the pizza or feel too deprived considering I had such a fantastic similar pizza at Vinto a few weeks ago.
Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Sausage and Fresh Arugula
to make 2 large pizzas
1 lb. pizza dough (I recommend a half batch of this recipe or a full batch of this recipe)
1/2 lb. bulk sausage, cooked and crumbled
Extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
2 onions, very thinly sliced
6-8 oz. mushrooms (use your favorite–we like cremini or button mushrooms)
1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and pepper
1/2-3/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or grated (or another melting cheese like fontina)
4-5 cups fresh arugula, washed and dried
highest quality balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 475-500 degrees F. (If you don’t have an exhaust fan on your oven, do 475 degrees.) If you have a pizza/baking stone, place it in the oven as it preheats. If not, then prepare two large baking sheets by sprinkling them with cornmeal. Set aside.
Prepare toppings first.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil. When it’s very hot, add the onions and cook, stirring constantly, until they start to turn golden. Turn down the heat and continue cooking the onions until they have softened and reduced in volume. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until mushrooms have taken on a golden color. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use. Remove the thyme before using.
Roll pizza dough out on a lightly floured surface. The dough should be a little more than 1/4″ thick, or to your liking. (A thinner crust will obviously cook much faster with less chance of it becoming soggy.) Transfer a wooden pizza peel that has been dusted with cornmeal, or to the baking sheets. Even spread half of the onions and mushrooms and the sausage on each pizza. Top each with half of the mozzarella.
Bake the pizzas one at a time for about 10-15 minutes each. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before topping with the arugula. Drizzle each pizza with the balsamic vinegar and slice into wedges.
Makes 2, 12-14″ pizzas to serve 4-6 people.