Sharp cheddar and meaty mushrooms with a kick of Italian chilies.
For The Dough (Makes enough for two 12" pizzas):
2 1⁄2 cup fifty-fifty blend of 00 flour and King Arthur all-purpose flour
2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp fresh yeast, or scant 1⁄2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp good olive oil
1 cup minus 1 tbsp lukewarm water
For The Toppings:
A big handful of lacinato kale,* ends trimmed, ribs removed
Some good olive oil
2 oz maitake (hen of the woods) mushroom, trimmed, cleaned, broken into pieces a little bigger than bite-size
A splash of Banyuls red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1⁄8 oz jarred Calabrian chilies
1 oz Prairie Breeze cheddar**
Half a garlic clove, peeled and very thinly sliced
1⁄2 oz parmigiano, finely grated
* Lacinato kale is an Italian variety of kale that's also known as dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale, black kale and cavolo nero. It has long, slim, dark green leaves and a less bitter, more delicate flavour than curly kale.
** Prairie Breeze is an aged cheddar that comes from Milton Creamory in Iowa. It has a nuttiness and tang that we love, but you can use any good aged cheddar here.
For The Dough:
Step 1: In a bowl, thoroughly combine the flour and salt and make a well in the centre.
Step 2: In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the yeast, olive oil and lukewarm water. Pour the wet mixture into the well in the dry mixture and begin mixing the two together with your hands, gradually incorporating the dry into the wet. This process will be more like mixing than kneading.
Step 3: After about 3 minutes, when the wet and dry are well combined, set the mixture aside and let it rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes. This allows time for the flour to absorb the moisture.
Step 4: Flour your hands and a work surface. Gently but firmly knead the mixture on the work surface for about 3 minutes. Reflour your hands and the surface as needed. The dough will be moist and sticky, but after a few minutes of kneading it should come together into a smooth mass.
Step 5: Divide the dough into 2 pieces, shape them gently into balls, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 24 and up to 48 hours before using. This process, called proofing, allows for the fermentation that gives the dough structure — which means a chewy, pliable crust — and flavour.
For The Pizza:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to the highest temperature possible. Place a pizza stone or tiles on the middle rack of the oven and let it heat up for 1 hour.
Step 2: Tear the kale into pieces a little bigger than bite-size, put them in a bowl, and dress with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Step 3: In a large sauté pan coated with olive oil and set over almost high heat, sauté the maitake pieces until they begin to brown at the edges. Don't move them around too much or they won't get a chance to brown. Add a splash of vinegar and let it cook off for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Step 4: Pull the stems off the chilies and roughly chop them. Break or cut the cheddar into small chunks, about 1⁄4".
Step 5: Scatter the garlic over the dough. Follow it with the kale, which should cover the round in a thick layer (don't worry if it looks like too much — it will shrink down in the heat of the oven). Distribute the maitake over the kale and follow it with the cheddar. Scatter the parmigiano on top and, lastly, the chilies.
Step 6: Bake the pizza until it's golden brown and bubbly.
See more recipes from Roberta's Cookbook.
Reprinted from Roberta’s Cookbook Copyright (c) 2013 by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, Chris Parachini and Katherine Wheelock. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.