I really enjoy making homemade pizza, especially now that I’ve found a crust recipe that is super easy but still has good flavor and texture. I realize that pizza is one of those things where you can really just slap some sauce, cheese, and other ingredients together on a crust, bake it, and probably end up with something good, but my favorite cooking magazines keep sending these irresistible pizza recipes my way. I decided to try the recipe for Red Onion, Potato, and Goat Cheese Pizza from the November 2009 issue of Cooking Light yesterday so we would have something yummy to eat during our football game (go Huskers!). Admittedly, this particular pizza is a bit dressed up for game day, but we absolutely loved it.
I’ll share my crust recipe first; it’s adapted from an Emeril Lagasse recipe with a tip from Mario Batali.
Basic Pizza Dough
¾ cup of warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
¼ cup of light-bodied white wine
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon of honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of coarse salt
In a large bowl, combine the water, wine, yeast, honey and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, stirring until combined. Let stand until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 ½ cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until everything is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, ¼ cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky. You may not need all of the flour. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.
Oil the mixing bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours. Punch down the dough before rolling out the crust.
If you don’t want to make your own dough, you can certainly use the refrigerated kind. I just can’t do it anymore, though. 🙂
Now for the toppings… First, I put 7 ounces of fingerling potatoes (about 5 potatoes) in a saucepan, covered them with water, and brought them to a boil. I cooked them until they were just tender (12 minutes up here at altitude; 10 minutes is probably fine if you’re at sea level) and drained them. Once they were cool enough to handle, I sliced them into 1/4-inch slices and set them aside.
While the potatoes were boiling, I sliced a medium red onion into 1/2-inch rings. I heated 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and sautéed the onion until it was tender (8 minutes). (Note: I turned the heat down to medium at about the 4-minute mark because my onion was charring pretty quickly.)
Once the potatoes and onions were ready to go, I rolled my dough out to a 14-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. I sprinkled my pizza stone with cornmeal and transferred the dough round to the pizza stone. Next, I sprinkled 1 cup (4 ounces) of shredded part-skim mozzarella over the crust. I arranged the potatoes and onions over the mozzarella and then evenly topped the vegetables with 4 ounces of soft goat cheese and 1 minced garlic clove. (The recipe only called for 3 ounces of goat cheese but mine came in a 4-ounce package; I knew it would go to waste if I didn’t use it all.) Even though the recipe didn’t say to do this, I gave the entire pizza a sprinkle of coarse salt and ground pepper; I think sometimes Cooking Light recipes go too easy on the seasoning (probably because many of their readers are trying to cut things like salt – and sugar, fat, etc. – from their diets).
I baked the pizza in the lower third of my oven at 450F until it was browned (15 minutes), and then sprinkled it with 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves before serving.
Man, was this ever good. I loved the sweetness of the charred red onion, the tanginess of the goat cheese, and the bright flavor of the fresh thyme. Texturally, I thought the tender potatoes, creamy goat cheese, and chewy crust were just perfect together. I know one online reviewer of this recipe indicated that the pizza was “flavorless” beyond the goat cheese, so maybe the homemade crust and the sprinkling of coarse salt and pepper really does make a difference. (I’d like to think so!) The one thing I think would make a good thing even better in this case is BACON… Granted, it takes a nice vegetarian option and turns it into something different, but that addition would really send the flavors of this pizza over the edge. I can’t wait to try it!
TIPS: If you can’t get fingerling potatoes or don’t want to pay for them, you could absolutely get away with using red or white new potatoes. You might have to adjust the boiling time if the potatoes are on the large side; just make sure they’re tender (but not mushy or falling apart) before you drain them.
Also, as always, feel free to substitute a different kind of cheese if you don’t like goat cheese. I think 3 to 4 ounces of part-skim ricotta (distributed in teaspoon-size dollops, maybe?) would work well with this recipe.
Recipe link: Red Onion, Potato, and Goat Cheese Pizza