It’s officially winter (although it’s felt like winter for several weeks now), and that means it’s time for warm, rich foods. With that said, I’ve never been a fan of meals that are pure richness without some sort of brightness to break things up. That’s why I love this pizza: the mushrooms are rich and earthy, but the sweetness of the balsamic and the bite of the arugula ensure it’s not just heavy warmth.
This is the perfect pizza to pair with a giant mug of hot tea with way “too much” milk and sugar in front of a fire or wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket. Better yet, eat it snuggled up in bed watching something on TV. (If you want to be more civilized, try pairing it with a spinach, pear, arugula, candied walnut, and blue cheese salad. The arugula ties the salad to the pizza, while the blue cheese adds a sharpness that gives yet another layer of flavor.)
Arugula, Mixed Mushroom, and Balsamic Reduction Pizza
- 1 pizza dough ball (either basic pizza dough or 2-hour pizza dough is fine)
- 1 cup mixed mushrooms
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 2 teaspoons butter
- extra virgin olive oil
- 3 ounces mozzarella, cut into cubes
- ¼ cup arugula
- 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction (Note: if you have a nice bottle of well-aged balsamic vinegar that’s already thick and syrupy, you can use it straight instead of making a reduction)
Prepare and sauté your mushrooms:
- Preheat the oven to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a pizza stone, place it inside so it can preheat along with the oven.
- Trim the ends of your mushroom stems, gently rinse any mushrooms that need it, and cut any large mushrooms into small bite-sized pieces.
- Melt the 2 teaspoons butter in a large pan along with 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
- As the butter melts, peel, crush, and roughly chop the garlic clove. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt into the melted butter and cook briefly, just until the garlic becomes fragrant.
- Add the prepared mushrooms to the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms begin to give up their juices. Remove from the heat.
Assemble and bake the pizza:
- Stretch the pizza dough to an approximately 12” circle, then brush with a thin layer of olive oil.
- Top the pizza with the 3 ounces of cubed mozzarella and the prepared mushrooms.
- Slide the topped pizza onto your pizza stone (or a baking sheet) and bake at 550 degrees Fahrenheit until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted. (If your oven doesn’t cook evenly, turn it once halfway through.)
Finish your pizza:
- Take the pizza out of the oven and allow to cool briefly. Garnish with arugula, then drizzle with balsamic reduction.