Nothing says Friday Night Date quite like pizza, but nothing diminishes the glow of evening quite like fatty, oily cheese over top glue-like white flour crusts. On the other hand, a whole grain crust, smothered in silky, rich mushrooms and olives, with just a touch of spice creates a superb starter course.
Makes 1 large pizza
1/2 cup warm spring or filtered water
1 package active dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups warm spring or filtered water
2 cups semolina flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup loosely packed dried porcini mushrooms, soaked until tender
8-10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
10-12 oil-cured black olives, pitted, finely minced
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. Stir in oil and salt. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in semolina flour. Slowly stir in whole wheat flour to form a soft, moist dough (which makes a crispy crust). Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes to achieve a smooth elastic dough. Add flour as needed for kneading, but not too much or the dough will become dry. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and oil the surface of the dough to prevent a crust from forming. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
While dough rises, prepare the topping. Place oil, garlic and onions in a skillet and turn heat to medium-high. When the onions begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and the red pepper flakes and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms, season lightly with salt and sauté until mushrooms release their juices into the pan and re-absorb them, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in olives.
Preheat oven to 400o. Lightly flour a round baking stone or lightly oil a pizza tin. Punch down dough and, on a lightly floured surface roll out to the size of the stone or tin. Transfer dough to the prepared stone and spread topping over the crust, leaving about 1 inch around the rim. Drizzle with oil and bake for about 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and carefully slide pizza from the stone or tin directly onto oven racks to crisp the crust for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing.
Cook’s Tip: You can purchase a whole wheat pizza crust as many supermarkets and natural food stores. Be sure to read the labels to ensure you are not getting ingredients you don’t want to eat.