Spelt Pizza with Garlic-Lemon Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions and Arugula

Hello!  As promised on facebook, I am back with the recipe from our pizza night last Friday!  It was a good one.  Before I get to that, a little follow up on the pickled beets.  Anyone brave enough to try them?  I failed to mention a couple of things.  If they spoil rather than pickle, you will know it.  The smell will be terrible, and you will know not to eat it.  This is not likely but thought I should mention it, since leaving food on the counter for three or four days may give you doubts.  Do make sure the beets always stay submerged in the liquid. These will get even better with time.  Mom and I eat some each day and they just get better each time.  Also, you do not need to sterilze your jar.  Just make sure it is really clean.  And yes, it really works even though there is no vinegar in them!  

So on to pizza.  I took a cooking class years ago with Rebecca Rather, a chef who used to have a really good bakery/cafe in Frederickburg, Tx.  Her place has since closed but her food is delicious.  It is not healthy food per se.  She makes lots of luscious baked goods with tons of sugar and white flour.  Her food is all from scratch and so it is delicious, just something you eat as a nice treat.  She has several cookbooks, the first of which I show you above.  In class we made a recipe from this book…..pizza topped with Caesar salad.  Just pizza dough cooked with olive oil and cheese, topped with the salad. It was really good and mom and I have made it since.

The original recipe is a white flour crust, topped with your traditional Caesar salad. I decided to take her crust recipe and make it a little healthier by adjusting the flour to include whole spelt.  Rather than Caesar I did arugula, and added the mushrooms and onions.  I haven't been eating tomatoes much (the whole nightshades thing), so I lean toward pizza without traditional tomato sauce.  This crust is easy, works every time, and tastes great. I think it is a great back-pocket recipe that you can use to make any kind of pizza.  Just top as you like.  If you roll it very thickly you may want to par cook it (meaning cook it about 5 minutes) before you add the toppings.  You want to make sure it gets done before it gets too brown on top.  I love that it has a subtle sweetness from a little honey, and has a little punch from a bit of crushed red pepper.  The flavors are subtle but add a nice something extra.  

Pizza before the salad was added

Pizza before the salad was added

The crust recipe makes enough for 4 8-inch pizzas.  I made two pizzas and froze the rest of the dough for next week.  (We actually got 4 servings from the 2 8inch pies.) You can make all four, just double these toppings to have enough. You could also make them bigger and only make two.  If you have a pizza stone, use it!  Just preheat it in your oven, and cook the pizza directly on the stone.  (If you have one, you know how to use it!).  So I hope you'll have pizza Friday!  I told mom we would have it again this week…..no salad this time, maybe something more traditional.  I'll post how it turns out this week….

And of course, to end here are my sweet kitties.  The first photo is the day I brought them home from the farm 6 years ago.  The second one is last week.  They are still such good buddies! 

Pizza with Lemon-Garlic Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions and Arugula

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: bake appetizer entree vegetarian arugula

Ingredients (4 servings)

    For the crust
    • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (110 to 115 F)
    • 2 (1/4 ounce) packages of dry yeast
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
    • 2 tsp honey
    • 2 -3 cups whole spelt flour
    • 1 -2 cups all purpose flour (unbleached)
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
    • 1/4 cup coarse corn meal plus extra for the pan
    For the onions
    • 1 large yellow onion, sliced into thin half moons
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • pinch of sea salt
    For the mushrooms
    • 1 small package of baby bella or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • pinch of salt
    • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
    • zest and juice of 1 lemon
    For the pizza toppings
    • 1/2 of a 7-ounce bag of arugula
    • 1 Tbsp tart vinaigrette of your choice
    • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
    • 1/2 cup grated mozzerella cheese


    Start by making the crust.

    This is easiest made in a mixer with a dough hook, but you can use some elbow grease and a large bowl and wooden spoon. Combine the lukewarm water, yeast, olive oil, and honey in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour, 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, the cornmeal, the salt and the red pepper flakes. Mix well. With the machine running, add another cup of spelt flour. Mix the dough on low speed for about 5 minutes. Remove dough from the bowl to a floured surface. If the dough is very sticky add more all purpose flour a little at a time, kneading as you go. You may need 1/2 to 1 cup more. Knead for about 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth, not sticky and very elastic. Use as much flour as you need to get the right consistency. Oil a large bowl. Form the dough into a ball, place in the bowl. Cover with a towel and set aside to rise. Let rise until double in size about 40 minutes.


    While the dough is rising make the onions. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat briefly. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook stirring often until the onions start to brown. Turn down the heat to low and cook slowly until the onions are very brown and sweet. Remove from heat and set aside.


    In a medium skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook stirring often until the mushrooms soften and start to brown. Add the garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook a minute or two to combine it all and lightly cook the garlic. Taste for seasoning adding more salt as needed. Remove from heat and set aside.

    For the pizza

    Preheat the oven to 400. Punch down the dough. Divide it into 4 even pieces. Put two into ziplock bags and freeze for future use. Alternately make additional toppings and cook as desired. Roll two pieces into balls and put on a cookie sheet. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes. (You may cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 hours at this point.) Using a floured rolling pin and a floured surface, flatten each ball into an 8 inch circle. Transfer to a baking sheet that is lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Brush each circle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Arrange mushrooms and onions over the crust. Top with shredded mozzerella. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until browned and cheese is melted. While baking, toss the arugula with dressing.

    To serve, cut each round into 4 pieces, or serve whole. Top with arugala and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Enjoy!

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