Hello and welcome to Pizza and a Movie! The weather has turned chilly and rainy in Athens, so a hot slice of pizza and cozying up for a movie sounds like the perfect way to spend the evening. Today’s combination is hard to beat: a rich and savory mushroom mix sautéed in pork fat with thyme and fresh parsley; pork belly and lightly fried potato slices with fresh mozzarella and grated Asiago. Let’s make a Super Mushroom pizza!
Go ahead and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. I am starting with fully cooked pork belly that I sliced up and browned in the skillet, but you can certainly use bacon. Slice it up into 1″ pieces and fry it in the skillet until just cooked, but not too crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. While the bacon is frying, you can slice your potatoes on a mandoline, about 1/8″ thick.
Once the bacon comes out of the pan, toss the potatoes right into the pork fat. Try to keep them in a single layer, so you may have to do two batches depending on the size of your skillet and your potatoes. I am using little baby potatoes. Once they are turning golden brown (about 5-7 minutes), use a fish spatula or a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper.
I found a nice pre-sliced mushroom mix with crimini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms. Feel free to use your favorite mushrooms. Once you transfer out the potatoes, just toss the mushrooms right in the pan – we’re not wiping it out or anything. With the mushrooms, toss in a few sprigs of thyme, sprinkle with Kosher salt and let the mushrooms cook; releasing their liquid, let it evaporate so the mushrooms will get a nice browning on them. Once they’re cooked down and golden, toss in a couple tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley, give it a good stir, transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and remove the thyme sprigs.
Prep Your Station
Prep your station with all of your ingredients and the dough ball dusted with flour. I am going to cook this pizza on a large sheet pan. So have a lightly oiled sheet pan to the right of your station.
You can use a rolling pin to roll out the dough, or you can do it by hand. On a lightly floured surface, smooth flour all over the dough ball. Form the crust by using your finger tips to press the dough down about 1/2″ from the edge of the dough, while using your left hand to cup the outer edge of the dough as you go around the dough. Then, with the palms of your hands, press down and flatten the whole center of the dough. Pick up the flattened dough and place the top side on the back of your left hand. With both hands under the dough, gently stretch the dough with the backs of your hands. Move your hands around as you stretch, to stretch it evenly.
Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
The dough I have today is a pre-made dough from Publix. I normally get my dough from Trader Joe’s. So this one was a new one for me. See how wide that crust baked up? This dough is more like bread dough than pizza dough, as it turns out. The crust looks like it would have a crispy exterior, right? Surprisingly, the outer crust was very soft. the bottom is crispy, but the top is like a loaf of bread. Very interesting indeed!
It’s still delicious though! It’s hard to go wrong with herby, pork fat-fried mushrooms; they have so much meaty mushroom flavor. The potatoes have a nice textural difference and the pork belly gives it some nice chew. Are we ready to start the show? Let’s do it!
Movie Night: Pretend It’s a City
I must confess that today’s movie isn’t technically a movie. It’s a documentary miniseries, featuring the humorist Fran Leibowitz in conversation with Martin Scorsese. Each episode is about 30 minutes, so in this age of binge-watching, it’s easy to watch a few episodes and call it a movie. When I was in high school I had heard of Fran Leibowitz’s books, Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, but it wasn’t until about 10 years ago when I watched her first documentary, Public Speaking that I really became interested in her.
In the same vein as Public Speaking, Pretend It’s a City features Leibowitz espousing her philosophies and opinions in the most genuine, unvarnished way. While the framework for her opinions and ideas revolve primarily around living in New York City, her complaints and observations about society at large are totally relatable. Her wit is quick and she is really funny. Her memorable stories are interspersed with past interviews and conversations, audience Q&A, and nostalgic video clips from the 60’s and 70’s. This was a fun series to binge, I hope you check it out, if you haven’t already! Pretend It’s a City is streaming on Netflix.
Well everyone, happy Friday! I hope you enjoyed this week’s installment of Pizza and a Movie, and if you missed any Pizza and a Movie posts, you can check them out here. Let me know if you make today’s Super Mushroom Pizza and how it goes for you; reach out on facebook or Instagram to say hello! Take care and be well, xo Kelly
Super Mushroom Pizza
A rich and savory mushroom mix sautéed in pork fat with thyme and fresh parsley; pork belly and lightly fried potato slices with fresh mozzarella and grated Asiago.
- 6-8 Slices of Bacon, sliced into 1" pieces and fried (or fully cooked pork belly, sliced and browned)
- 4-6 Small Baby Potatoes, sliced into 1/8" thick slices (baby red potatoes, or fingerling potatoes)
- 2 Packages Mixed Mushrooms, sliced (or your favorite mushrooms)
- 2-4 Sprigs Thyme
- Kosher salt and Pepper, to taste
- 3-4 tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup Fresh Mozzarella Pearls, each pearl halved
- 1 cup Asiago Cheese, grated
- Drizzle of Olive Oil
- 1 Prepared Pizza Dough
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Fry the cut bacon slices in a skillet until cooked through but not too crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon, set aside.
Add potato slices in a single layer to skillet with bacon fat and cook until the potatoes slightly brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon and sprinkle with salt and pepper, set aside.
Add mushroom mix to skillet with the remaining bacon fat, add the thyme sprigs and a sprinkling of salt. Cook until the mushrooms cook off most of their liquid and begin to brown. Add the fresh parsley, stir and transfer mixture to a bowl, remove the thyme sprigs and set aside.
Lightly oil a large sheet pan and set aside your pizza station.
Flatten dough out to about 14 inches in diameter and lay it on the sheet tray.
Brush a light coating of olive oil over entire dough and layer some Asiago cheese.
Then the potatoes, then the bacon, add the mozzarella pearl halves; then add all but a small handful of the mushroom mixture. Add the remaining Asiago cheese and top with the remaining mushroom mixture.
Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.