Don’t you want me, baby?
Chock full of cremini mushrooms, onions, and mozzarella then finished with ricotta salata and arugula in lemon vinaigrette dressing, this is one pie that will quickly become a favorite. Pop to the next slide to begin the learning process!
Go straight for the cheese
At the base of every good pizza is a good mozzarella. Every month the Cheese Board goes through six tons of Zia Maria mozzarella. "We live and die by mozzarella prices," says pizzamaker Ridwan Schleicher. The pizza begins with two fistfuls of milky mozzarella distributed evenly inside a steel ring that encircles the dough. This ring isn’t really necessary for us at home—unless you're also churning out 700 to 1,000 of these top(ping)-heavy pies.
I hope you like onions
Cheese Board members Ridwan Schleicher, Willy Perez, and Pier-Antonino Cendron glance at each other, and laugh.“Eighty percent of our pizzas have onions!” This pizza is no exception, sprinkled with a handful of paper thin purple onions. The onions are partially sliced so the larger layers come out like ribbons and the inner layers are rings.
Two brazenly large handfuls of thinly sliced cremini mushrooms are scattered on top. This winter favorite comes from North Berkeley’s Monterey Market, where the Cheese Board buys most of its seasonal (and occasionally not-so-seasonal) vegetables.
You’re halfway there
Before baking, the Cheese Boarders lay another handful of mozzarella on top to seal in the vegetables. This method of sandwiching the topping between layers of mozzarella creates a rich cheesy base, infused with the flavors of the day.
Into the fire
And off to the oven we go! There is where your intuition is needed. Bake the pizza in a 400°F to 500°F oven "until it's done," about 12 to 16 minutes. The pizza is cooked on the reverse of a baking sheet, but before leaving the oven, cooks slide the firmed-up pie directly onto the rack to let the bottom crisp. With such high volume (and a nonstop line out the door) some pizzas are held on a large griddle to keep them warm as they wait their turn on the finishing table.
More cheese, obviously
When the pizzas are out of the oven, they are moved to the finishing table. Here the pies are sliced and dusted with a hearty sprinkling of shredded Italian Calabro ricotta salata.
Right before it's served, the pizza is topped with organic Jayleaf arugula tossed with the Cheese Board's lemon vinaigrette dressing. Two handfuls of the slickly dressed salad are tenderly laid on the pizza, and voilà, that thing's topped!