Portobello pesto pizza (and a new start)

Today I am taking a defibrillator to my blog.

As you can see, blogging inactivity has become the norm for the past week or so.  Sure, sure, I have plenty of excuses.  Whether it was my flu/summer cold showdown, visits from my family and boyfriend, or trying out some new Ottawa restaurants, I’ve been rather busy.

I’ve also been uninspired.  The second half of June left me in a slump, and it was only two days ago that I decided to finally start journeying out of my rut.  Now that I have less than a month left in Canada before my big European adventure, I figured I should probably food blog all I can.  Before I know it, this blog will be transformed into a storybook of my travels and lofty international tales.  To say I’m excited would be an understatement.

Anyways, what better way to kickstart my July blog posts than with foods that I love?  Pesto, portobello mushrooms and so much cheese.  It was impossible to go wrong.  Oh right, and the crust was also infused with the garlic oil Brittany got me for my birthday.  All in all, this vegetarian, Natalie-friendly pizza is probably one of the best things I have ever made.

And who better to share it with than my future travel companion himself, Gord?

My handsome travel and dinner companion.

We gorged on this pizza, since we’re blissfully naïve and under the impression that we’ll somehow lose weight in Europe.  Hah. Good one, right?

Like I said above, this pizza was amazing.  Even when it was in the oven it smelt delicious.  Seriously, I thought I was going to have to take it out early and eat it in a cavewoman-like manner.  It was painful enough having to take my usual two dozen pictures pre-meal eating.  Gord had already shovelled half a piece into his mouth while I was still plating.  I can’t say that I blame him.

In the end, is there really anything more beautiful than portobello mushrooms?  I think I cried a bit when I was cutting these.  They’re just such a wonderful, meaty vegetable.  Okay, it’s happened – I’m officially romantically involved with a vegetable.

An iPhone picture I took in the midst of making the pizza. Please take a moment appreciate the pesto and portobello mushroom concealed beneath the cheese.

PS: I splurged on REAL Parmesan cheese to make this pizza.  I found a small, fairly inexpensive block and snatched it up before anyone could find it.  There is still half in the fridge.  Happy times will be had in future meals.
PPS: I couldn’t find any actual provolone cheese, so I used the slices that were packaged for sandwiches.  That’s okay, right?

Recipe: Portobello pesto pizza
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Pizza dough
– 2 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
– 2 tsp quick-rising, instant dry yeast
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 1/4 cup hot water
– 1 tbsp garlic infused oil

In bowl, combine 2 3/4 cups of flour, yeast and salt. With wooden spoon, gradually stir in water and oil until dough forms.

Once most of the liquid has been mixed in, start kneading with your hands.  It will be messy.  That’s okay, it’s more fun that way.  Knead, knead, knead until you have a ball of dough.  Add the tablespoon of flour if you need to make things less sticky.

Place in greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Flip out onto a floured surface (my minimal counter space) and use a rolling pin or your hands to shape dough.

Pizza toppings
– 1 tbsp unsalted butter
– 4 portobello mushroom caps, washed, dried and chopped
– 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
– 1/2 cup pesto
– 10 slices of provolone cheese (once again, I used the sandwich packages)
– 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 375°.  If you are using a pizza stone, like I did, make sure it goes in while the oven is preheating (also make sure you spread lots of cornmeal over it so the dough doesn’t stick!).

In a large pan, melt butter over medium high heat.  Add mushrooms and red onion and saute with a wooden spoon until vegetables are soft and brown and the mushrooms have released all their liquid.  About 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Spread pesto evenly over the pizza dough (which should now be sitting on the preheated pizza stone).  Scatter mushroom and red onions over the top, distributing evenly.

Arrange provolone cheese slices on top of the mushrooms and sprinkle the whole thing with Parmesan cheese.

Cook in the oven until cheese is bubbly and slightly golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Makes 8 extremely satisfying servings.

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3 thoughts on “Portobello pesto pizza (and a new start)

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