This mushroom and goat cheese pizza uses a sous-vide machine to infuse and perfectly cook the mushrooms for this vegetarian pizza that’s also topped with shallot, red pepper flakes, and a scattering of arugula.
*NOTE: Why You Need To Try Sous Vide Mushrooms And How To Select The Right Mushrooms To Use
Why bother to sous vide something as quick-cooking as mushrooms? As authors Lisa Q. Fetterman and Scott Peabody explain, using sous vide on mushrooms not only draws moisture out and makes the mushrooms brown better when exposed to high heat later on the pizza, it also essentially works as a marinade, infusing them with an additional oomph of flavor, in this case, umami from the soy (umamoomph?) and amping up their inherent mushroominess.
Using the sous vide technique on the mushrooms also, conveniently, ensures that exceptionally perishable mushrooms keep longer in your fridge without fear of slime or mold and can be kept at the ready to add to other dishes on crazy hectic weeknights. (You can also keep the reserved cooking liquid from the bag in an airtight container for an additional week and rely on them to lend lend that umamoomph to soups, braises, and sauces.)
As for which types of mushrooms to sous vide, the authors mention that this recipe will work with any sort of mushroom. The ones that show off the best texture and richest taste, in their opinions, are king trumpets, whose large meaty stems make them perfect for grilling; maitakes (which translates from Japanese as “dancing mushroom” and are also known as hen of the woods, whose frilly edges crisp up nicely on top of the whole wheat pizza; and portobellos, whose large, sturdy caps are as robustly flavored as you’d expect. If you can’t find these varieties, the more common cremini—which is actually a baby portobello—will also work quite respectably.
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pizza
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Serves 4
Special Equipment: Sous-vide machine
- For the sous vide mushrooms
- For the pizza
Preheat the water bath to 185°F (85°C).
Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel or quickly rinse them under cold running water and pat them dry. Trim any woody stem ends and cut or break apart very large mushrooms into smaller chunks. (If using portobellos, snap off and discard the entire stem, but otherwise leave them whole. Cremini may also be left whole. Both will need to be sliced later before topping the pizza.)
In a medium bowl, combine the mushrooms, 1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce to taste, salt, and herb sprigs, if using, and toss lightly to evenly coat the mushrooms. Transfer them to 1 or 2 one-gallon (3.8-l) freezer-safe resealable plastic or vacuum seal bags, filling each bag no more than halfway full. To ensure that the bag(s) will sink in the water bath, add 1 to 2 pounds (455 to 910 g) weights or a few butter knives to each bag. Before sealing the bag(s), arrange the mushrooms in a single layer with as little overlap as possible for even cooking. Seal the bag(s) using the water displacement method or a vacuum sealer, adding more weights or knives if necessary.
When the water bath reaches the target temperature, lower the bagged mushrooms into the water bath, making sure they stay fully submerged. If necessary, place something on top of the bag. Cook the mushrooms for 15 to 30 minutes, to the desired tenderness.
Remove the bag(s) from the water bath. Let the mushrooms rest in the bag(s) at room temperature for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour before using. (The mushrooms may also be chilled in an ice water bath, still sealed, until completely cold, and then refrigerated for up to 1 week.)
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Place an inverted baking sheet or a pizza stone in the oven.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the sous vide mushrooms from the bag(s) and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate. (Reserve and refrigerate any liquid in the bag for another use. Its complex savory flavor will punch up all manner of braises, soups, and sauces.) Slice or break any larger mushrooms into bite-size pieces.
Line a pizza peel or cutting board with parchment paper. If desired, slick the paper with 1 tablespoon olive oil or simply dust it with flour or cornmeal. Lightly flour a work surface. Dust the pizza dough with flour and gently flatten it on the work surface and spread out the dough with the heel of your hands. Use a floured rolling pin to form the dough into a 1⁄4-inch (6-mm) thick round that fits the size of your pizza peel. (The thinner it is, the crispier the end result will be.) Working your hands under the rolled dough, carefully lift it and transfer to the prepared parchment paper. (Alternatively, in place of a peel and parchment, you can also simply slick a second baking sheet with olive oil and then transfer the rolled-out dough onto it and assemble the pizza there.)
Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the surface of the dough and scatter the sliced shallots on top. Distribute the mushrooms evenly in a single layer on top, crumble the goat cheese all over, and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil evenly over the top. Lift the pizza peel or cutting board and slip the parchment and pizza (or the second baking sheet, if using) directly onto the preheated, inverted baking sheet or pizza stone.
Cook the pizza for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges of the crust, cheese, and mushrooms are deep golden brown and crisped, rotating the parchment (or pan) as necessary so that the pizza cooks evenly. Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, thyme, marjoram or oregano, arugula, if using, and additional Parmesan. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 8 slices and serve immediately.
Recipe Testers' Tips
I’ve made pizza many times before but never one as tasty and satisfying as this. The combination of goat cheese and mushrooms was phenomenal. And with the arugula topping, it was one of the prettiest pizzas I’ve seen and confirms the adage that you eat with your eyes first. In fact, it was difficult to actually stop eating it, it was that good.
I started a couple of hours ahead of time to sous vide the mushrooms, using portobellos because maitakes weren’t available. I used gluten-free soy sauce and added thyme. I employed the water displacement method for sealing, and it took several (as in more than 10) pieces of silverware to weigh the bag down enough to submerge it. The kitchen was permeated with the earthy aroma of the mushrooms as they cooked, signaling something to look forward to later.
I bought gluten-free pizza dough rather than making the pizza dough included with the recipe and this is where things fell apart. Literally. Since gluten-free doughs are notoriously fragile and break easily, it was difficult to roll it out and then transfer it to the parchment paper. In fact, it broke so badly that I took advantage of its other quality (no gluten) to gather it up and reroll directly on the parchment. Without the gluten, I wasn’t worried about the dough becoming too tough or overworked and having the parchment under the dough was genius for moving this fragile dough. The paper fanned out beneath the finished product added to the pizza’s attractiveness once fully cooked.
The most important thing to know is that you CAN make a good whole wheat pizza at home and it’s easy enough to do on a weeknight! Just mushrooms and cheese give you plenty of flavor so you won’t miss tomatoes at all.
This pizza can be made straight through in one day or evening, or with a little planning ahead, you can prepare the mushrooms the day before and let the dough rest overnight in the fridge.
I tried maitake, oyster, and cremini mushrooms and all were perfect after 30 minutes SV as well as making a delicately flavored mushroom broth that I saved for another cooking project. I found 2 tablespoons soy was a little more than I needed, so for the later batches, I reduced that to 1 tablespoon and it was more to our taste. If you don’t often vacuum seal wet ingredients, it might take you a little experimenting to get the best result (my sealer has a manual vacuum-before-sealing feature that worked best for me). You also do not want to fill your bag more than half full before sealing.
If you do not have SV equipment available, you could certainly do a nice job briefly dry sautéing the mushrooms, though you would miss out on the bonus of mushroom broth as well as the ability to handle a bounty of mushrooms and prepare them for several days of cooking or different recipes. I slit the corner of each bag as I used it, draining it and saving it in the fridge.
I liked the thyme and drizzle of olive oil, but also found fresh marjoram and oregano also produced a good result. I was restrained on the red pepper flakes and let more be applied at the table. The combination of the chèvre and Parmesan worked very well with the mushrooms, although I also tried adding a small amount of marinated artichoke hearts to our final pizza and that was smashing.
A whole recipe serves 4 to 6 so, since it’s just 2 of us, we reserved and reheated half the pizza for the next day.