We all know that there’s really no need for a pizza day because, well, who does not love a good pizza (nearly) every day?
But hey, since it’s 2021 and we’re in need of any reason to celebrate, we’re here to tell you that 9 February is National Pizza Day. And what better way to celebrate than with mushroom pizza, with caramelized onion, brie, and roasted garlic?
National Pizza Day
It’s hard to believe that before WWII pizza wasn’t well known outside of Italy! It has since gone from a cultural meal to a popular takeaway- or restaurant meal in most countries around the world. Proof of this is the fact that one of the very best pizzas I have ever eaten was in Taichung, Taiwan!
Though flatbreads with toppings were consumed by ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks, the modern birthplace of the pizza is southwestern Italy’s Campania region, home to Naples. Founded around 600 BC as a Greek settlement, Naples in the 1700s and early 1800s was a thriving waterfront city.
Technically an independent kingdom, it was notorious for its throngs of working poor, or lazzaroni. These Neapolitans required inexpensive food that could be consumed quickly.
Pizza — flatbreads with toppings that can be eaten for every meal — fulfilled this need. These early pizzas featured tasty toppings such as tomatoes, cheese, oil, anchovies, and garlic. More well off Italian authors judged Naples’ innovation, often calling their eating habits disgusting.
In 1861, Italy finally unified, and King Umberto I and Queen Margherita visited Naples in 1889. Legend says that the traveling pair became bored with their steady diet of French cuisine and asked for an assortment of pizzas from the city’s Pizzeria Brandi, founded in 1760.
The variety the queen enjoyed the most was called pizza mozzarella, a pie topped with the soft white cheese, red tomatoes, and green basil — much resembling the Italian flag. Since then, this particular choice of toppings has been dubbed the Margherita pizza.
However, even with the Queen’s love for the dish, pizza would remain little known in Italy beyond Naples’ borders until the 1940s.
Across the sea, immigrants to the United States from Naples were replicating their flatbreads in New York and other American cities. They were coming for factory jobs but accidentally made a culinary statement. Relatively quickly, the flavors and aromas of pizza began to intrigue non-Neapolitans and non-Italians alike.
Mushroom Pizza With Caramelized Onion, Brie & Roasted Garlic
Pizza is one of the easiest treat meals to make at home and can be much healthier than a bought pizza. Adding mushrooms makes it even healthier! Just one of the reasons our family loves mushroom pizza.
Mushroom, Caramelized Onion, Brie & Roasted Garlic Pizza
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 onions sliced
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tsp soft brown sugar
- 500 g readymade white bread dough*
- polenta or cake flour for dusting
- 3 tbsp sundried tomato pesto OR Neapolitan pasta sauce
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 big brown mushroom thickly sliced
- 100 g portabellini mushrooms thickly sliced
- 125 g brie cheese sliced
- micro herbs
- milled black pepper
- course sea salt
- Heat the oil in a heave-based pan over a very low heat.
- Separate the onion slices into rings and add to the oil, with the crushed garlic.
- Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and soft.
- Stir in the sugar, and cook, uncovered for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onioins are golden and caramelized. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C.
- Roll out the bread dough onto a floured or polenta dusted counter top until ½cm thick.
- Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
- Spread a layer of sundried tomato pesto or Neapolitan pasta sauce on top of the dough.
- Top the pizza base with the reserved onion mixture.
- Add the sliced big brown and portabellini mushrooms and garlic.
- Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the brie and return to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese just starts to melt.
- Top with salt and pepper, and some parsley or coriander leaves before serving.
If you love pizza but would prefer a low-carb option, try out our “meatza“.
Happy pizza day!
DISCLAIMER: This post was sponsored by The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association. The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association provided me with this recipe and associated images. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the developing company, and/or its affiliates, in any way. The fact is, I’m crazy about mushrooms, and want to shout it from the rooftops anyway.
History of National Pizza Day – https://nationaltoday.com/national-pizza-day/