Pizza bianaco
What, no tomatoes?

30 minute meals are things I don’t really believe in. Whenever a recipe says: ‘You’ll be eating dinner in less than 30 minutes!” I think: “No I won’t.” And, generally, I’m not. The recipes never take into account not knowing where your ovenproof dish is; or that the dried oregano is right at the back of the spice cupboard, which you have to totally empty out all over the kitchen and then put away again; or that your oven hates you and makes the temperature plummet by 20°C when you’re not looking.

And this recipe is no exception, even though I have made it and I was actually eating my dinner 30 minutes after I grasped the sieve and bag of flour. In fact, I found myself loafing about and had time to fit in a sophisticated pre-dinner vermouth while I waited for the magic to happen in the oven.

But if you can’t find the yeast; or throw the mushrooms all over the floor and have to wash them twice; or don’t focus all your attention on making this like it’s the most important thing in the world, then I can’t promise you won’t find yourself waiting 35, 40 or even 45 minutes for your tea. There, disclaimer made.

This is one of those recipes that came about because I lined up all the half eaten things from my fridge and then puzzled out what to make. It was a collection of things bought and meant for something specific, but then abandoned to age behind the crusty jars of jam and curry paste. The mushrooms had started to wrinkle, the garlic had green plugs in their hearts.

It was the milky dregs of a tub of mascarpone that turned me to pizza bianco. I had a hankering for pizza because it was a Friday night and you should always have party food on a Friday night. But I didn’t want to wait hours for the dough to rise, and I didn’t have any sort of tomato or tomato-based product in the house.

So I picked things out of the fridge and then listlessly put them back. None of them were pizza. But one of them was mascarpone. And another was Parmesan. An idea formed.

A quick google (thank you The Internet) revealed that pizza bases could be made with self raising flour. Within minutes I was pulling, turning and kneading a soft ball of dough, humming with inventive joy. The self raising flour means the base is cakier than a regular, yeasty strong flour dough but dammit: pizza in 30 minutes! What more demands on life can you make?

30 Minute Mushroom & Mascarpone Pizza Bianco
Serves 1

150g self raising flour plus a little extra for dusting
1/2 tsp fast action dried yeast
A few splashes of extra virgin olive oil
75-100ml warm water
3-4 mushrooms (I used chestnut)
2 garlic cloves
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Small chunk of Parmesan
3-4 tbsp mascarpone 
Flat leaf parsley, to garnish

1 Preheat your oven to 240°C/Fan 220°C/Gas Mark 9/475°F. Pop a baking tray in the oven to heat up.

2 Sift the flour into a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt. Whisk in the yeast. Add a splash of olive oil and half the water. Use your hand to gently stir the wet and dry ingredients together, adding in a little more water, splash by splash, till you have a soft dough. Turn out onto your work surface and knead it for a minute or two to bring it together. Try to not to add extra flour as that will make the dough dry. Pop the dough back in the bowl. Cover with a tea towel. Leave it somewhere warm for 10-15 minutes.

3 Wipe the mushrooms clean. Slice them. Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Pop them both in a bowl with the lemon zest. Add a splash of oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir to mix them all together. Finely grate the Parmesan cheese.

 4 Dust your work surface with a little flour. Turn out the dough. Roll it out till it’s around the size of a dinner plate.

5 Take the baking tray out of the oven. Carefully lay the pizza base on the tray. Sprinkle over the Parmesan. Top with the sliced mushrooms. Spoon over some mascarpone in little dollops. Drizzle over any oil left in the mushroom bowl.

6 Bake for about 10 minutes till the pizza is golden and bubbling. Scatter with some parsley (or thyme, rosemary or marjoram) to serve. 

Tagged with: PizzaVegetarian

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