Mushroom and Caramelized Onion White Pizza (Schiacciata con Funghi)

>> Monday, November 2, 2015

Mushroom and Caramelized Onion White Pizza

Our daughter's boyfriend, affectionately known as The Boy, maintains that pizza is not pizza without the sauce. Maybe you're in the same camp. Well, call it Italian flat bread if you want, or schiacciata (SKYET-cha-ta) like Italians do. Whatever you call it, this is flat-out delicious.

We first tasted the crust for this pizza when we were in Rome. We had driven down from Tuscany that afternoon, and our travel agent arranged our reservations for dinner in a quiet restaurant where all the locals ate. We didn't order from the menu - the agent, who knew the chef, told him to show off all his specialties to us. He served us seven courses, and this dish was the first, with a glass of Prosecco. 

After dinner, one of the families at a nearby table took our photo. Wouldn't it have been great if my eyes were open?

Angela and Joe Duea in Rome


For the crust

1 envelope (2 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 to 120 degrees)
1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups flour, plus a little more for kneading
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 cup cold water
2 tbsp coarse cornmeal

For the topping

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups white mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 cups white onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups shredded mozzarella or provolone
1 tsp dry oregano, crushed


Pour the yeast into a small bowl, and slowly add the warm water, stirring constantly. Stir in the sugar. Allow the yeast to work into small bubbles for about 5 minutes. Stir in the oil.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together half the flour and salt. Make a hollow in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir until well mixed. Stir in the cold water. Gradually add the rest of the flour while stirring constantly, until the dough forms a ball.

Sprinkle a flat surface with flour, and put flour on your hands. Knead the dough on the surface until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, about 15 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl. Turn the dough over and cover it with a damp kitchen towel. Allow it to rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch down the dough and place it on the floured surface. Knead it for several minutes until elastic again.  Roll it out into a circle of about 1/4 inch thickness. Grease a round pan and sprinkle it with the cornmeal. Place the dough in the pan and cover it with the kitchen towel. Allow it to rise for 30 more minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large frying pan, saute the mushrooms in a tbsp of oil on medium heat until browned and soft, about 15 minutes. Set aside. Add another tbsp of oil and saute the onions on high heat until they start to brown. Reduce heat to medium and sprinkle with the sugar and garlic. Cook for 15 minutes more, until evenly browned and caramelized. Stir together the mushrooms and onion mixture.

Drizzle the dough with the last 2 tbsp of olive oil and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the mushroom mixture and then the cheese. Sprinkle the oregano over the cheese. 

Bake for 20-25 more minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the edges are browned. 

Serves 4-6.


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