May 9, 2023

Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza

Recipe: Lisa Ahier

“One of the great perks of living in British Columbia’s rainforest is the abundance of wild forest mushrooms. Chanterelles, pine, chicken of the woods, porcini . . . I encourage you to experiment with the different varieties and find what best suits you. The key to this pizza is the earthiness of the mushrooms and the sweetness of the caramelized onions. And the acidic nature of the goat cheese really perks it up.” – Lisa Ahier


Pizza Dough, Tofino-Style

  • 2 cups lukewarm water (about 110°F, from the tap), plus extra as needed
  • ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup dark beer (I like Hoyne Brewing Co.’s Dark Matter)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3¾ cups 00 flour
  • 3¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed
  • 1½ tbsp salt

Red Sauce

  • One 28-oz. can San Marzano tomatoes or whole plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup Roasted Garlic, puréed (recipe below)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano leaves

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

  • ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • ½ cup arugula or watercress
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup olive oil, plus extra as needed
  • ¼ cup grated hard aged cheese, like Parmesan, pecorino, Asiago or Romano

Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup, plus 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ lb. shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed, cleaned and sliced ½ inch thick
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned and diced
  • ½ lb. cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced ½ inch thick
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pizza Dough, Tofino Style (see above)
  • 1–2 cups Red Sauce (see above)
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Seed Pesto (see above)
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled soft goat cheese
  • 2 cups baby arugula


Yield: Makes 4 10-inch pizzas

Make Pizza Dough

  1. First mix: In stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, combine water, yeast, beer, oil and 00 flour and mix for 5 minutes on low speed or until well incorporated. If you don’t have stand mixer with dough hook, you can mix ingredients in large bowl by hand: Use one hand to mix dough until it forms a ball and all dough has pulled away from sides of bowl. Transfer to clean, dry work surface (marble or granite is fabulous) and knead, using heels of palm, for about 5 minutes, then stretch and flip. Repeat, until dough can’t be stretched any more. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. (Never let dough get a crust from air.)
  2. Second mix: Return dough to stand mixer or bowl and add all-purpose flour and salt. Mix for 5 minutes on medium speed. If mixing by hand, it will take about 7 minutes. Dough should form a cohesive ball and pull away cleanly from sides of bowl. If it is too wet and sticking to bowl, add more flour, 1 tsp at a time. If it is too dry and not all flour is incorporated, add more lukewarm water, 1 tsp at a time, until you have a smooth, shiny dough.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Divide dough into four pieces. One at a time, cup each piece of dough in your hand and roll it around in a circle on a clean, dry work surface until you’ve formed smooth, round ball. Place dough balls in large container, spaced about 4 inches apart, to allow room to expand.
  5. Seal container tightly with lid or plastic wrap and let dough rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Place in the fridge for at least 24 hours, and up to 72 hours. One hour before shaping and assembling pizzas, remove dough from fridge and let it come to room temperature.
  6. Form dough: Flour your hands and transfer one ball of dough to lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle more flour onto dough and your hands to prevent sticking.
  7. Starting at one side of ball, press down with your fingertips and gently stretch it with circular motion until it expands into disk about 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Continue massaging dough, shaping it with your palms and fingers until disk is about 10 inches across.
  8. Don’t worry about making perfect circle, or making doughy rim (aka cornicione); this will naturally form when baking. Just go for completely flat disk. Whatever you do, don’t overhandle dough: be gentle with blisters and bubbles that air will create in crust; they will add texture and character to final creation. Remember: no rolling pin!
  9. Flop dough onto lightly floured, perforated 14-inch pizza pan (or regular pizza pan or inverted baking sheet, if that’s what you have) and gently pull edges outward, leaving some space so as not to cover pan completely. I do this so that when transferring to and from oven, outer crust remains undisturbed
  10. Assemble and bake: Follow each recipe’s method for assembly and baking instructions, topping dough immediately with desired toppings. Timing is critical here! Waiting too long before topping stretched dough can result in dry dough.

Make Roasted Garlic

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Using sharp knife, cut ⅛ inch off top of garlic head, exposing some of  cloves inside. Lightly drizzle garlic with 2 tbsp olive oil and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place wrapped garlic on baking dish, in muffin pan, and roast in oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until soft enough that you’re able to squeeze cloves out of skins like toothpaste. (Muffin pan works really well for this, as it keeps garlic bulbs from rolling around.)
  2. Pulse roasted cloves in blender until smooth. (Great on sourdough!)
  3. To store, transfer roasted garlic to airtight container and pour olive oil on top to fill container. Store in sealed container in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Make Red Sauce

  1. In food processor or blender, purée all ingredients to desired smoothness (I like mine smooth enough to spread really well).

Make Pumpkin Seed Pesto

  1. In food processor or blender, combine toasted seeds, garlic, basil, spinach, arugula, lemon juice, chili flakes and salt.
  2. Pulse until herbs are finely chopped, then, with food processor running, drizzle in olive oil and blend to desired texture (I like it smooth and creamy. If you want thinner sauce, add a bit more olive oil). Transfer to bowl and fold in cheese.

Make Pizza

  1. In medium heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat, add butter and 2 tbsp of olive oil. As soon as butter melts, add onions and turn heat to medium-low, stirring onions frequently to prevent them from burning, until they reach rich, dark brown, about 20 to 30 minutes. By cooking low and slow, you are creating so much flavor, bringing out onion’s natural sweetness without any sharp, bitter taste. If onions start to stick or burn, turn heat to low and add 1 tbsp water. Stir too much and onions won’t brown; stir too little and they burn. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Heat remaining ¼ cup olive oil in separate medium heavy-bottomed frying pan over high heat. As soon as it starts to smoke, add all mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  4. Form dough for one pizza at a time on floured pan.
  5. Once you have shaped one piece of dough, immediately spoon ¼ cup red sauce and ¼ cup pesto on top. Use spatula or back of spoon to spread out evenly. Sprinkle with one-quarter of onions, ¾ cup mozzarella, one-quarter of the mushrooms and ¼ cup goat cheese.
  6. Repeat shaping and topping process with remaining balls of dough.
  7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese golden.
  8. Remove from oven and garnish with arugula.
Author: Alexandra Whyte

Jeremy Koreski


Excerpted from Together at Sobo by Lisa Ahier, with Susan Musgrave. © 2023 Lisa Elaine Ahier. Photographs by Jeremy Koreski. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved