Note: this post was buried in my drafts. I have no idea why I never posted this.
I was flipping through the Gourmet Today cookbook and spotted a recipe for Chris Bianco’s pizza dough. On the opposite page (p. 303) was a recipe for using the dough to make a 14″ pizza with caramelized onions, mushrooms, and cheese.
I split the dough, and made two 10″ pizzas–one with sauce and cheese, one with the caramelized onions, mushrooms, and cheese. The recommended cheese is Swiss Emmental (or Gruyere or Fontina) with some Parmigiano-Reggiano. Since I was making a half-sized pie, I used half the topping ingredients (8 ounces slivered onions, 1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms, salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp. vinegar. The onions are carmelized and then the mushrooms are sauteed with the vinegar added at the end. I layered the pie with 1/4 lb of cheese and then added the onions and mushrooms. The Parmigiano went on last. I skipped the fresh thyme, )
The verdict: the regular pie was “shagadelic, baby!” (according to my husband) and the mushroom and onion pie tasted like a cross between pizza and really great onion soup (again, in my husband’s words).
The Gourmet site also has a recipe for Chris Bianca’s Pizza Margherita and some of his pizza making philosophy (which I didn’t read before making the recipe. Warning: very colorful language used.). I didn’t even know who Chris Bianca was when I made the pizza. Didn’t know that his pizza has been hailed as the best in America.
And here is another interview with Bianco.
And here is some Bianco reverse engineering obsessing on a pizza making forum.
More info is at Martha Stewart, where Bianco’s recipe for dough is accompanied by recipes for three different toppings (heirloom tomato, mortadella and mozzarella, and lemon and plave) and a photo tutorial on making the dough. Oddly, the dough recipe on the Martha Stewart site is not quite the same as the recipe on the Gourmet site. What is the deal with that? Will the real Bianco dough recipe stand up?
Martha Stewart also has a video of Bianco making lemon focaccio.
Also, take a look at these YouTube videos of Bianco making pizza. He emphasizes the importance of gentle handling of the dough when shaping the pizza rounds.
Caramelized Onion Mushroom Pizza Topping
Adapted from Gourmet Today. Enough for a 14″ pizza. Use half the amount for a small 10″ pie.
Heat 3 Tbl. olive oil in a large skillet and add:
1 lb. onions, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Stir to coat onions with oil and seasonings. Top skillet with a piece of parchment or foil and cook onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized, which means that they are softened and golden brown (onions will caramelize in 18-20 minutes). Spoon the onions from the skillet into a bowl and set aside.
Add another 2 Tbl. of oil to the skillet and and reheat, adding:
1 lb. mushrooms (can use a mix of wild or just domestic)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
Cook, stirring occasionally. The mushrooms will first give off some liquid and then that liquid will evaporate. When the liquid evaporates, the mushrooms will start to brown. When the mushrooms are nicely browned (8-10 minutes), take pan off heat.
Top the round of pizza dough with (scatter ingredients over dough in order listed):
8 ounces grated Swiss Cheese or Fontina
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Slide pizza into super hot oven (500-550 degrees) and bake for 10 minutes.
1 Tbl. fresh thyme leaves
Bake for another 2 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.
Bianco’s Pizza Dough
Adapted from Gourmet Today
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
3/4 cup warm water
Make dough (it will be a sticky dough–that is okay). Let dough rise, covered, 1 1/4 hours. Gently remove dough from bowl without deflating too much. Dredge dough in flour. Gently shape a 14″ round.