Having your own pizza oven in the backyard certainly encourages you to make pizza at home more often, and although I have a number of favorite pizza topping combinations, every once in a while I want to try something new. One day I decided I wanted an earthy, mushroom based pizza with truffles, and ended up with the delicious combination in this recipe. Unfortunately, here in Umbria fresh porcini mushrooms are not easy to find despite the fact that they seem to be sold everywhere in Tuscany just across the border. If anyone here in Umbria has a good source of porcini, please let me know!
I have found however, that frozen porcini mushrooms although not quite as good as the fresh ones, are a pretty good substitute. Since they are so meaty, when sautéed, frozen porcini mushrooms release all of their liquid and end up quite close to their fresh counterparts so I went with frozen porcini mushrooms for this pizza. We didn’t have fresh black truffles in the house at the time, but did have an opened jar of black truffle paste, or tartufata, and I had recently bought a nice piece of pancetta. Add my new favorite pizza dough, my fresh tomato sauce, and shredded mozzarella, and I ended up with a pizza any mushroom lover would enjoy. Although I bake all of my pizzas in a wood burning pizza oven, I realize that it isn’t possible for most people so I am giving instructions for baking your pizza in an oven. If you have a pizza stone, do use it, and if you have your own pizza oven you will already know how to bake your pizza so will not need my instructions!
For those that do not have any access to porcini mushrooms, fresh or frozen, you can use a mix of fresh wild mushrooms, portobello, or crimini mushrooms. There isn’t really a substitute for tartufata, but it can now be found in many specialty food stores. If black truffles are difficult to find, you can create a similar flavor by drizzling a little truffle oil over the finished pizza just before serving. If time is limited, feel free to buy already made pizza dough, although I always feel making your own is always worth the time and effort. A pizza is very forgiving as long as you use good ingredients, so simply choose the best toppings you can find, use your imagination, and enjoy!
Deborah Mele 2012
- 2 (8 Ounce) Balls Pizza Dough At Room Temperature
- 1 (14 Ounce) Can Imported Chopped Tomatoes
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Basil
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Pancetta
- 8 Ounces Mushrooms, Chopped Or Sliced (See Notes Above)
- Black Pepper
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 to 11/2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella (Depending On Preference)
- Black Truffle Paste (Optional)
- In a bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients then stir well, cover, and let set for at least an hour.
- In a frying pan or skillet, cook the pancetta until no longer pink, then add the mushrooms and cook until lightly browned.
- Season with black pepper and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to the highest setting (usually 500 degrees F.).
- For Each Pizza: On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to press your dough out to a 12 inch circle.
- Lightly cover a baking sheet (or pizza peel if using a pizza stone) with cornmeal, and place the dough on top.
- Lightly brush the outer edge of the pizza with olive oil, then spoon some of the sauce into the center and smooth with the back of a spoon, leaving a 1 inch border all around.
- Scatter half the cheese over the sauce, then scatter half the mushrooms and pancetta over that.
- Lightly drizzle some of the truffle paste over the top, and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
- Finish the second pizza in the same fashion and serve immediately after baking.