Wild Mushroom Fennel Pizza

Wild mushrooms, fennel, fresh basil, heirloom tomatoes and almond ricotta make for one fancy, delicious plant based pizza.  Using the freshest produce you can find makes a big difference in the flavor.  Heirloom tomatoes are unreal in this recipe, and no doubt, just because they are heirloom tomatoes.  And it's a hearty pizza.  This is not authentic thin crust margherita pizza.  This is Portland, Oregon plant based pizza at it's best.  Seriously delizioso!  

While the white truffle oil is optional, it is also a very powerful flavor enhancer.  If you choose to use it, about 10 drops evenly distributed across the pizza will do the job.  Using a very small amount will heighten the mushroom flavor without overpowering the rest of the pizza.  If you choose not to use it, the pizza still tastes amazing!

I used a standard food processor for this recipe.  If you have a high speed blender (Vitamix, Ninja), there is no need to soak the slivered almonds.  Have at it!  If you are like me and have a standard food processor or blender, soaking the almonds for 2.5-3 hours takes a little time, but it's worth it.  It will provide a much more smooth (not crunchy!) almond ricotta.

I also used a ready-made vegan crust by Rustic Crust, but you can easily make this recipe gluten free by selecting a gluten free crust.  If you opt to make pizza dough or go with a different variety of pizza crust, make sure to adjust the cooking time and temperature accordingly.  

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Wild Mushroom Fennel Pizza

Almond Ricotta:

1 ½ cups blanched slivered almonds

¼ cup nutritional yeast

2 garlic cloves

¼ cup lemon juice

½ tsp dijon mustard

Salt, to taste

Pizza:

1 12 inch ready-made pizza crust (see note above)

1 large fennel bulb, chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

8 ounces OR 2 cups sliced wild mushrooms (I used cremini, shiitake, and oyster)

1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp Italian seasoning, divided in half

3-4 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced

Garlic powder, to taste

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

Fresh basil, to serve

White truffle oil (optional)

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1. Soak slivered almonds in water for 2.5-3 hours.  Drain off water and add to food processor or blender.  Add everything else listed under "Almond Ricotta" and blend until smooth.  If it's too thick add water 1 Tbsp at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.  Place pizza crust on a cookie sheet or pizza stone.  Spread almond ricotta evenly over the ready-made crust and set aside.

Wild Mushroom Fennel Pizza

2. Preheat oven to 450 F.  In a large skillet, add fennel, olive oil, garlic, salt and black pepper.  Sauté over medium heat for ~5 minutes or until the fennel is soft and slightly browned.  Add wild mushrooms and continually stir for 5-7 minutes or until mushrooms cook down.  Add lemon juice, and stir until it evaporates away.  Spread evenly over the almond ricotta, and sprinkle with ½ tsp Italian seasoning.

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3. Top pizza with sliced heirloom tomatoes.  Sprinkle with ½ tsp Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.  Bake at 450 F for 13-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with fresh basil and evenly distribute ~10 drops of white truffle oil (if using).  Slice and serve.

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