Balsamic Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Pizza

By • May 7, 2010 19 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe is my adaptation of a vegetarian pizza from a pizzeria in Providence, near Brown University. I loved it so much, I wanted to develop my own version. For the blue cheese, I've used Gorgonzola Dolce to great result, but our cheesemonger was out of that this weekend, so I asked for a recommendation, and bought Windsor Blue, from New Zealand. You want a buttery and slightly sweet blue. As with my Iron Skillet Pizza, I make the dough a day before and let it proof overnight in the fridge, for better flavor and texture. This dough recipe is different, however, because I bake the pizza differently--on a pizza stone instead of in an iron skillet. I want this dough to be light and crunchy-crisp. I forget where I first saw the idea to use parchment paper between the crust and the stone, but I love it. It's neater and easier than using corn meal, and it keeps fats (cheese, fat from animal protein, oil, etc.) from baking onto the stone. I think somehow it does a better job crisping the crust, but I have no idea why. Paging Harold McGee! This crust is versatile; it's good with meaty pies and vegetarian, and the crust itself is vegan. I also use this recipe for grilled pizza. I've been working for years to find a crust recipe I really love; this is it.adashofbitters

Serves 4-6

Pizza crust

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine or dry vermouth, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Other Toppings

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium red onions, cut into half moons
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 7 ounces sweet blue cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  1. A day in advance, start the dough.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine yeast, sugar, olive oil, wine or vermouth, and water; let sit 5 minutes or until frothy.
  3. Add salt, and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Combine on low speed until flour is incorporated, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add remaining flour, half cup at a time, until incorporated. Increase speed to medium and mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and crawls up the dough hook, about 1 minute. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if dough is dry and not coming together. If dough is too wet, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Continue kneading on medium 2 more minutes, until dough is silky smooth.
  5. Grease a medium bowl with olive oil and add dough to the bowl. Cover and let the dough rise until it doubles in bulk, about an hour.
  6. Punch down, reshape, and let rise again (covered) in the refrigerator, at least 2 hours or overnight. Bring dough back to room temperature 2 hours before you plan to roll it out.
  7. On day of assembly, start the onions.
  8. Heat a large saute pan over medium and add olive oil.
  9. When olive oil is hot, add onions and salt. Saute until they just begin to color, stirring frequently. Add balsamic vinegar and stir to combine. Turn heat to medium low and cook for about 30-35 minutes, or until onions have cooked down and caramelized deeply. Remove from heat and set aside.
  10. Place a pizza stone on bottom rack of oven and preheat to 450ºF. (You can do this while onions are caramelizing.)
  11. Place one sheet of parchment paper on a pizza peel or the back of a cookie sheet. Place dough on parchment. Using hands, gently stretch dough into a rectangle, about 15 inches by 12 inches. (The crust won't be thin by NYC standards, but I love it anyway.) It sometimes helps to stretch the dough a bit, let it rest for a few minutes, stretch it some more, let it rest a bit, lather, rinse, etc.
  12. Spread caramelized onions evenly over dough. Crumble all but about 1 ounce of blue cheese and sprinkle evenly over onions.
  13. Using pizza peel, guide pizza onto heated stone. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove, using pizza peel. Sprinkle thyme and remaining cheese over pizza.

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