One of the many, many things I enjoy about cooking is the creation factor, and sometimes you can end up with a result that’s very different (but in a surprising, gratifying way!) to what you originally set out to make.
This pizza is just one of those instances, as I started out wanting to replicate one eaten a while back at the Boston Brewery – a memorable combination of mushrooms, chorizo and lashings of truffle oil – but in the process it evolved into something new and equally delicious.
The driving factor was a small bottle of liquid gold – black truffle oil – which a colleague of mine very generously picked up for me on a weekend visit to Manjimup, a small country town in the middle of the giant karri forest in southern Western Australia.
Having used chorizo in so many recipes recently (and at the risk of you all saying, ‘really…? again???’), I substituted finely shaved prosciutto, which crisps up beautifully after a hot blast in the oven.
I also drew influence from a pizza you may remember me raving about from my travels in Ireland last year, a thyme-marinated mushroom and goat’s cheese version.
I found a lovely, creamy white-mould chèvre from the Yarra Valley (like a brie made with goat’s milk instead of cow’s) which underpins everything with a salty, earthy, almost smoky flavour.
Lightly frying the mushrooms beforehand means they won’t turn into dried-up, shrivelled morsels on the finished pizza but most importantly, it also allows them to absorb the heady flavour of fried sage.
mushroom, sage & prosciutto
pizza with truffle oil
1 quantity of pizza dough (see recipe here)
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ½ cups tomato passata
bunch of lemon thyme, leaves picked
1 tsp castor sugar
100g goat’s brie or other white-mould chèvre
about 200g field mushrooms, torn into bite-sized pizzas
about 200g enoki mushrooms, cluster base removed and stalks separated
¼ cup chopped fresh sage leaves , plus extra leaves for serving
150g prosciutto, finely sliced
truffle oil, for drizzling
Preheat your oven to its highest setting (at least 250°C).
To make the tomato sauce, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat.
Add the crushed garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic softens and just begins to caramelise.
Add the tomato passata, sugar and thyme leaves to the saucepan, bring to the boil and then reduce heat to the lowest setting.
Season, then simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sauce has become rich and thick. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, heat a good glug of olive oil in a large frypan. Add the mushroom pieces and chopped sage, tossing frequently over high heat until the mushrooms are golden and the sage is fragrant.
Remove from the heat and tip the mushrooms onto absorbent paper.
The pizza recipe I’ve included here makes about six medium-sized pizzas but you can divide your dough depending on the thickness and diameter you prefer (as you can see, mine is decidedly oblong and rustic)…
Remember the dough will rise, so even if you think you’ve rolled it thin enough, give it another going over to stretch it out a bit more and it should cook to the perfect thickness.
Spread the pizza bases with a thin layer of tomato sauce and dot with small wedges of chèvre. Sprinkle a handful of mushrooms over in a loose layer, then scrunch up torn slices of prosciutto and push them in amongst the other ingredients.
Top with a final few wedges of chèvre (to melt nicely over the whole affair) and whole sage leaves (to crisp up on top of everything).
Place in a hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the base is golden brown and cooked through.
Drizzle with truffle oil, cut into thick slices and serve immediately.