Once, while speaking with a group of people from all over the world, I was put on the spot about my favorite Roman food. I thought for a second and said I really liked pizza. One of the people quipped, “You’re so American. You are so predictable and have no taste!” Well, he is right. I am so American and may be predictable, however, I do not think I am alone in my love for a good Roman-style pizza with thin crust, crispy around the edges. This week’s recipe is for funghi (mushroom) pizza by Nick Anderer, chef at Marta in New York, a Roman pizzeria. If you’re curious how the food conversation ended, the guy who said I had no taste in food said his favorite food is tripe! I’ll let you decide on your own at whose dinner table — mine or his — you’d prefer to eat! A quick note about the recipe: Nick notes that in the restaurant they use a live mother yeast instead of an instant dry yeast. This recipe represents a way to replicate his recipe by substituting mother yeast with the use of a “preferment.” –Kristina
About Nick: Nick Anderer was born to a Japanese mother and German-American father and grew up with a variety of eclectic culinary influences, mainly inspired from his mother’s home-cooking. After a stint studying in Rome, he decided to dedicate himself to the art of Italian cuisine and delved headfirst into the culinary scene, dusting off traditional Italian cookbooks and incorporating them into his work at a variety of renowned Manhattan restaurants including Babbo, Gramercy Tavern and Maialino. He just opened Marta in September, which has become NYC’s signature Roman pizzeria.
See how to make Nick’s pizza at home after the jump!
Pizza Dough for home cooks
For the Dough
- 3.5 cups bread flour
- 1/8 cups whole wheat flour
- 1.75 cups room temp water
- 1 package instant dry yeast
- 1.5 tablespoons sea salt
- To make the “preferment,” add a small pinch of instant yeast to the room temperature water, add 1 cup bread flour and all the whole wheat flour and mix till homogenous. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15-18 hours.
- Using the dough hook of a stand mixer, mix the preferment, remaining flour, and remaining yeast till shaggy but hydrated (no clumps of dry flour).
- Cover the bowl of your stand mixer and allow dough to rest for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
- Add the sea salt and mix till smooth, with full gluten development.
- Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place into a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap.
- After 1 hour, divide dough into 5-6 equal pieces and gently round the cut pieces. Alternately, the dough can also be stored overnight in the refrigerator. Always cover the dough to keep it from drying out.
- Place a baking steel (the best) or a pizza stone (okay) on the top rack of your oven. Preheat to 550 degrees (or to max temp).
- Using a light dusting of flour, gently roll out your dough balls to the desired width (10-12) inches or until very thin), top with ingredients, and bake till crispy and delicious.
- 3 large bunches of hen of the woods (maitake) mushrooms
- 1 pint of chanterelle mushrooms
- 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 Tablespoon picked thyme
- 3 cups grated fontina
- 1 cup low moisture mozzarella (or Fior di Latte) cut into small cubes
- Fresh squeezed lemon to taste
- Olive oil to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Break the hen of the woods into small pieces and clean the chanterelles by scraping thestems and cutting into bite-size pieces.
- Sauté over high heat with olive oil, salt and pepper until the mushrooms are barely wilted.
- Cool the mushrooms, and once they are fully cooled, spread across pie in one thin layer.
- Sprinkle the grated fontina to barely cover the mushrooms.
- Sprinkle the picked thyme, cubed mozzarella, and red onions throughout (just enough to get some in each bite).
- Transfer to oven and once fully cooked, remove and hit it with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice before serving.
Why Nick loves this pizza: The best thing a pizza can do is to allow prime ingredients to really sing. That’s what this pizza does for mushrooms with their intense earthy flavor accented with pungent fontina and subtle aromatics from the thyme.