Pan-roasted shiitake mushrooms and shredded Brussels sprouts take center stage on this earthy vegetarian pizza, playing nicely with melty ricotta and Fontina and a playful egg on top.
This post is sponsored by Workman Publishing Company in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.
I’ve eaten a lot of pizza in my thirty-two years on this planet.
Like…probably more than my fair share. Let’s be real. (Takin’ one for the Gluten Free team!)
I’ve tried everything from plain cheese to meat lovers, Hawaiian (my fave) to white with broccoli. When you add it all up, you’ll see that I’m pretty hard-pressed to find a slice I haven’t at least liked a little bit.
I especially enjoy homemade pizza, and when the opportunity to try a Shiitake “Bacon” and Shredded Brussels Sprouts Pizza from The Vegetable Butcher cookbook by Cara Mangini arose, I jumped at the chance to make it for a special #WeekdaySupper!
I have way too many “things” in my kitchen. Between pots, pans, baking sheets, cake and cupcake tins, casserole dishes, bowls of every size, utensils, gadgets, small appliances…I’m having a hard time finding a place for everything anymore.
I either need to move to a house with a bigger kitchen, or somehow find Hermione Granger’s Bag of Holding.
Check it. Second Potter reference in two weeks. If you didn’t know I was a nerd yet, now you do.
In spite of my overflow of stuff, I finally bit the bullet and bought a pizza stone for this recipe, on the recommendation from Cara herself (“Investing in a pizza stone is worth it…”) I’ve simply ignored that suggestion from every one of the probably two dozen others that have offered it in the past, but something about this pizza experience told me it was time to make a space in the kitchen for a big slab of stone.
That something was a big fat FAILURE.
Oh yassssss folks, I screw up in the kitchen a whole lot.
So maybe my first stab at this recipe wasn’t a total disaster. It was entirely edible, it was just a bit on the extra crispy side, partly due to using my air-bake pizza pan and forgetting that my oven bakes hotter than it should. Pan-roasting the mushrooms and Brussels sprouts before baking the pizza gives them such wonderful depth of flavor, but it also chars the sprouts slightly in the best possible way. Unless you overbake them on top of your pizza.
Prior to putting them on the pizza, I couldn’t stop eating them straight out of my skillet. Which was OK, since I was having serious reading comprehension issues that particular day, anyway.
Let me ‘splain, Ricky!
I was a gifted reader in my elementary school days. Awards and medals and everything. But apparently, when you get older, aaaaallllllll the talents you had as a kid get picky and choosy about when they want to cooperate with whatever activity you’re participating in.
Making this recipe is a perfect example. I ran to the store and grabbed every ingredient I needed, which was a good start. I even found Fontina cheese!
Winner winner veggie pizza dinner.
Back at home, stoked as all get out, I measured and prepped all my ingredients, following the recipe To. The .Letter. Somehow my eyes skimmed over the part right at the top where it says, in red caps, MAKES TWO 12-INCH PIZZAS.
Well…ding dong here only bought one pizza dough. YES, I cheated and bought pre-rolled dough from work. In the interest of saving time and the fact that one pizza is enough for me and Mr. Crumby.
So there I was, happily reading the assembly directions. Scattering spoonfuls of HALF of the ricotta. Scattering HALF of the sprouts, onion, and mushrooms over the ricotta. Topping with HALF of the Fontina and thyme.
When I moved on to the next step…it’s oven time? I was totally confused and had to reread the step I just finished. Where were the directions for the second layer? What was I supposed to do with the rest of these lovely ingredients.
I quickly scanned over the entire recipe from the title down, and finally it dawned on me: two pizzas.
Not to be deterred, I scooped some more ricotta on and piled the remaining veggies and some more cheese on, thinking nothing of it. I shifted a few sprouts and ‘shrooms around for aesthetic value and popped it in my oven. No worries, right?
I was a big ball of fail that day, baking the pizza for 8 minutes instead of 4 before adding the lovely egg, then adding another 4 minutes on to that.
Extra crispy crust, anyone?
Trial and error. My various mistakes that day led me to scoring a beautiful stoneware pizza stone, in the hopes that it would right my kitchen wrongs.
While it won’t stop me from overfilling cupcake liners as often as I do, it will absolutely help my pizza game.
So, if I can impart any advice on you as you go on your merry way, probably judging me (rightly so) for burning a perfectly good pizza?
- READ DIRECTIONS VERY CAREFULLY AND THOROUGHLY. Two or three times. Don’t be like me and waste food in the worst possible way.
- Invest in a good pizza stone. It just might change your culinary life.
- Know your oven. Become close friends. You control whether dinner is edible, not your appliances.
- Get The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Magini. If you’re a veggie lover, and want to know more about how NOT to ruin some of the prettiest, tastiest, strangest veggies around, Cara shares all kinds of great knowledge, from proper washing, slicing, and prep.
No one should have to eat burnt pizza. NO ONE.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps very thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ pound Brussels sprouts, finely sliced
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- All-purpose flour, for working with the dough
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
- ½ small red onion, very thinly sliced (½ cup)
- 3 to 4 ounces (⅔ 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
- 1½ cups warm water (105°F to 115°F), plus up to 2 teaspoons more if needed
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
What’s your favorite vegetable-centric meal? Let me know below and you could win a copy of this book!
We are sharing recipes from this wonderful book all week! Take a look at what’s coming up in the next few days…
MONDAY | Shiitake “Bacon” and Shredded Brussels Sprouts Pizza with an Egg on Top
TUESDAY | Grilled Asparagus, Taleggio, and Fried Egg Panini by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
WEDNESDAY | Asparagus, Hazelnuts, and Mint with Quinoa and Lemon Vinaigrette by The Chef Next Door
THURSDAY | Turkish Carrot Yogurt Dip by Life Tastes Good
FRIDAY | Grilled and Smothered Artichokes by Moore or Less Cooking
Wanna get to know Cara Mangini? As one of the first official “vegetable butchers” at Eataly in New York City, she draws her inspiration from her familial line of traditional butchers – taking what she knows about cuts and prep to a totally different level. She is now the owner and executive chef of Little Eater, a produce-inspired restaurant, and Little Eater Produce and Provisions, an associated local and artisanal foods boutique, in Columbus, Ohio. Check out our Sunday Supper interview with her, then follow her on Instagram before you pick up her amazing book! Amazon and I can help with that! (<– affiliate link)
If you’re a veggie fan, this book is a no-brainer, but if you need a bit more convincing, it helped take my vegetable-loving game to a whole new level. I was already pretty familiar with how to prep the mushrooms and Brussels that I used in this pizza recipe, but I’ve always been intimidated by more intricate veggies like artichokes and fennel. Nearly every vegetable, both ordinary and non, is featured in this book, and she makes butchering any of them simple with step-by-step instructions, complete with photos. There are more than 150 original recipes to put your newfound vegetable knowledge to the test, including Kohlrabi Carpaccio to Basil Penne with Pine Nuts and Mozzarella, to a Parsnip-Ginger Layer Cake ,and you’re bound to find a new one to love by the last page.