"Let me tell you 'bout my best friend....."
Well, no, pizza is not my best friend, thank goodness! But one of my husband's favorite meals is my *cough* homemade pizza. No, I don't have a cold, it's just that I have to shake my head when he brags about it to our friends and family. Why? Because it starts with Betty Crocker Pizza Dough mix, that's why. Nothing against Betty, but the Italian-wannabe, gourmet-wannabe in me wants so badly to make pizza dough from scratch, but I get vetoed every time. Don't even THINK about requesting whole wheat pizza crust in my house!
So, maybe once every other week, when hubby gets a hankering for homemade pizza I make my "His N Hers" Pizza - his half never changes: sauce, mozzarella, thick sliced pepperoni. If an extra spec of oregano or stray mushroom wanders over to his half, believe me, I hear about it!
Now I, on the other hand, am the adventurous one...er, well...when it comes to pizza. At first I just subbed veggies for the pepperoni on my half, then I tried a sauceless, then a cheeseless, then a barbecue chicken one, and once a Thai peanut chicken one. I've even considered some sort of fish pizza, like a deconstructed fish taco on pizza dough. (I am, after all, Dr FrankenMeatloaf, remember?) But I think I might be happily stuck in a pizza rut for a few weeks, as the one I made the other night was so yummy....
Carmelized Fennel, Portabella and Goat Cheese Pizza
Ingredients....If you were to make a whole pizza
1 tbsp. butter (I do use Smart Balance here)
2 tbsp. olive oil, separated
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, halved then thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and Pepper
Prepared pizza dough (Betty Crocker optional...)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (or more)
1 large portabella mushroom cap, sliced
2...maybe 3 tbsp fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Forgive me, but I wasn't thinking "BLOG" when I was making this, so no pictures of the sauteeing fennel and onions...
Put butter and olive oil in skillet over medium heat; add fennel and onions and saute abut 5 minutes; add garlic and saute another 3-5 minutes until softened and just golden. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
Drizzle about 1 tsp of olive oil on the pizza dough, then sprinkle with oregano and basil. Lightly sprinkle the mozzarella...
Despite the lousy lighting in my kitchen at night, note the lovely contrast between hubby's side and mine...
Top with the fennel-onion mixture, then arrange portabellas on top.
Oh dear, here's hubby's pizza trying to steal the show...
Back off, pepperoni! I'm on a DIET!!!!!
Season it with more oregano and basil if you like, or even an additional teeny drizzle of olive oil.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes....pay no attention to that greasy, slightly burnt pepperoni in the background....
Love must be blind...or maybe he just loves burnt, greasy pepperoni.
Mine was divine!
If you've never had fennel, let me tell you a bit about the flavor...
It has a somewhat licorice aroma, but I am one of those people who gags at the sight of a black jelly bean or those gray Necco Wafers....blecch! Yet strangely, I love fennel. When raw, the flavor is crisp and sweet, and it's a lovely addition to salads, especially if citrus is somehow involved. But when you cook fennel, either saute it or roast it, the flavor is similar to a cooked super sweet onion, but without the onion flavor...and really, no detectable licorice flavor. Believe me...I would have noticed.
Uh, no, I did NOT eat a whole half pizza. I could have....but the next day for lunch, wanna know what I did? I scraped what fennel/onion/mushroom/cheese mixture used it to make a Fennel, Onion, Portabella and Goat Cheese Quesadilla...... it disappeared before I could photograph it!