If the only thing keeping you from eating more vegetables in interesting ways is not owning chef and former Eataly vegetable butcher Cara Mangini’s new cookbook, you’re in luck — it’s out and it’s awesome. Fresh produce shines front and center in this inventive collection of recipes, so pick up a chef’s knife and get chopping.
Pan-roasting shredded shiitake mushrooms until they are golden and crispy deepens their smoky flavor and magically imbues them with a heady baconlike flavor. I think they make a stellar pizza topping, one that’s even better with a cabbagey base of shredded Brussels sprouts. Thin ribbons of the portly sprouts crisp up in the oven, adding just another element of perfection. Other highlights are sweet red onions and a duo of creamy ricotta and Fontina cheeses. A cracked egg on top seems only appropriate, but you decide how irreverent you can be.
When you have the time to plan ahead, making pizza dough from scratch produces the best results. (Plus, it’s a satisfying and fun DIY project that isn’t as complicated as you may think.) You will need to make this one about two hours ahead, but you can take some shortcuts to get there sooner if needed. In a pinch, you can buy a little over a pound of store-bought pizza dough to produce two 12-inch pizzas. Investing in a pizza stone is worth it, but you can use a rimless baking sheet or the underside of a rimmed baking sheet if you don’t have one.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps very thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, finely sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- all-purpose flour, for working with the dough
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
- 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
- 2/3 cup freshly grated Italian Fontina cheese or 4 to 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 large eggs (optional)
- Coarse or flaked sea salt
- Your best extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (105°F to 115°F), plus up to 2 teaspoons more if needed
- 4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour in a pinch)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to oil the bowl
For the dough
In a 2-cup liquid measure, combine ¼ cup of the warm water and the yeast. Let the mixture swell for 5 minutes. Lightly flour a work surface, pizza peel, or cutting board.
Add the flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
Add the remaining 1¼ cups of warm water to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Pulse the dry ingredients again, then gradually pour the yeast mixture and then the olive oil through the top feed tube. Continue to pulse the dough until it pulls away from the side of the bowl and forms a ball. (Add up to 2 teaspoons more of warm water, adding one at a time, and pulse if it is not coming together.)
Use a silicone spatula to scrape the dough out onto the prepared work surface. Knead it briefly until it is slightly sticky. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a large oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it aside in a warm part of the kitchen to rise until it doubles in size, about 1½ hours (at least 30 minutes if you can’t wait).
Flour the work surface again. Punch down the dough and scrape it onto the work surface. Divide the dough in half and knead each piece briefly into a smooth ball. Flatten the balls into thick disks, wrap individually in plastic wrap, and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes. To use the dough the next day, refrigerate the disks and bring to room temperature before proceeding.
For the pizza
Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven. (Alternatively, lightly oil a rimless baking sheet or the underside of a rimmed baking sheet and set it aside.) Preheat the oven to 550°F for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, set a plate lined with paper towels next to the stovetop and heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until they brown on the edges and crisp, about 3 minutes. Pull them from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the prepared plate to cool.
Return the pan to medium-high heat and melt the butter in any remaining oil. Add the Brussels sprouts, fine sea salt, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they become tender and browned in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.
Generously flour a pizza peel or cutting board. Use your hands and fingertips to pull and stretch 1 ball of dough to form a 12-inch round over the peel. (Try not to pull or push air out of the crust. You want to push and stretch the dough out toward the sides, allowing excess dough along the edges to form the rim.) Don’t worry if you stretch it too thin and create a hole: Pull and fold over some dough surrounding the hole and press down with your fingertips to smooth and seal it.
Scatter spoonfuls of half of the ricotta over the dough, and use the back of the spoon to spread it out. (It will not completely cover the dough.) Scatter half of the Brussels sprouts, then half of the red onion and half of the shiitakes over the ricotta. Top with half of the Fontina and the leaves from 2 thyme sprigs.
Pull out the oven rack with the stone so that it is accessible but well supported. Gently shake the pizza on the peel to make sure it is not sticking. (If it sticks, carefully lift the pizza around the edges and scatter flour beneath it.) Carefully but quickly slide the pizza off the peel and onto the stone. Slide the rack back in and close the oven. (Alternatively, slide the pizza onto the oiled baking sheet and place it in the oven.) Bake until the crust is crisp and a light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes (up to 15 minutes on a baking sheet). If you are adding an egg, crack one into a ramekin or measuring cup and transfer it to the middle of the pizza after baking for 4 minutes (about 8 minutes if baking on a baking sheet). Continue to bake until the egg white is set but the yolk is still runny, and the crust is crisp and a light golden brown, another 4 to 6 minutes.
Use the peel to lift the pizza out of the oven or grab the pizza crust with tongs to transfer it back to the cutting board. Sprinkle the pie with coarse sea salt and drizzle with your best extra-virgin olive oil. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings.