What do to when the mozzarella is moldy beyond recognition.

This weekend, Mom and I decided to make pizza. We mixed up some dough (based on the great whole-wheat recipe in Laurel’s Kitchen), and were just about to start getting the toppings in order, when Mom, after scraping the mold off the mozzarella, took a taste of the cheese within and made a wry face. She did what I have rarely seen my mother do: spit out into her hand what she had just attempted to eat, and throw it in the garbage.

She looked at me across the island countertop and said, “Muenster?”

We went to the cheese drawer, and yes, we had Muenster, as well as some veggie-studded jack, some Swiss, and some sharp cheddar. Muenster was the most mozzarella-like, but I was still skeptical.

“Here’s what I think. Either we put this dough in the fridge for another night and order a pizza, or we rethink the kind of pizza we’re making. How about goat cheese?” I pointed at the Lively Run chèvre with herbes de Provence we were noshing on with our wine.

We had already been struggling with the lack of traditional pizza ingredients in the fridge, so going the fancy-pizza route seemed a reasonable option. Plus, both Dad and Paul were out of town, and thus any protests that might have been made against a white pizza, or a mozzarellaless pizza, were absent. We rethought.

“I have some pesto in the fridge I need to use up,” Mom suggested.

“We could chop up some of the kale.”

“Onions?”

“Caramelized onions.”

“Oooh, yes!”

Thus was born our gourmet pizza du jour: whole wheat pizza with pesto, olive oil, caramelized onions, mushrooms, kale, balsamic, goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, and asiago.

Whole Wheat Pizza with Pesto, Olive Oil, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Kale, Balsamic, Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes, and Asiago

Dough
based on the recipe from Laurel’s Kitchen

1 T. active dry yeast
1 1/4 c. warm water
drizzle of honey
2 T. olive oil
1/4 t. pepper
1 1/2 t. salt
3 c. whole wheat flour
spices (garlic powder, oregano, basil, parsley, crushed red pepper, or whatever floats your boat)

Dissolve yeast in warm water, with honey. Once dissolved, pour into mixing bowl. Add olive oil and spices; add flour and knead. Set to rise, covered, in a warm place, for about an hour.

Get your toppings ready. We cooked down an onion in olive oil until it was nice and caramelized, then blanched the kale in the oils for a short time, adding a touch of balsamic at the end. We also chopped mushrooms, a few sundried tomatoes, and plenty of fresh parsley.

Preheat oven to 425. Punch down dough and pat into desired shape, or roll out if thin-crust pizza is desired. (We patted ours onto an oiled pizza stone.) Brush with olive oil (or spread with pizza sauce if making a red pizza) and par-bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and add toppings. (We spread ours with pesto, then added the onions, kale, tomatoes, dollops of goat cheese, mushrooms, and parsley, and topped with a sprinkle of grated asiago and a drizzle with olive oil to finish.) Return to oven and bake until cheese has melted and toppings look done.

Remove, enjoy, have another glass of wine.

It turned out to be one of the most delicious pizzas I have ever had. The crust ends, so nutty and hearty, were particularly good dipped in oil, balsamic, and spices. Not bad for a recipe concocted due to lack of ingredients!

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