Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA


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Mmmmmmmushroom Pizza
Only one picture of this pizza was taken because I couldn’t wait to dig in – I’m lucky it turned out.

If you like mushrooms, then you’ll like this recipe.  I love mushrooms.  Always have.  So much so, that when I was a child my father bought me a kit for growing mushrooms at home – we grew them in the attic and they were pretty awesome.  Gist, on the other hand doesn’t love mushrooms.  It’s a problem with a simple solution – when Gist is away, I eat mushrooms.  Lots and lots of mushrooms.  Obviously, Gist wasn’t home.

I went to Hannaford to pick up ingredients for this dish, mostly because they carry a whole-wheat pizza dough that I really like.  I bought ingredients both for this pizza and also for the dish I’m going to make on Sunday (Saturday will be another get-rid-of-leftovers day).  I bought:

  • 1 wheat dough ball for $1.59
  • 1 bag of Goya dried lentils for $1.69
  • 1 can of Hannaford frozen apple juice concentrate for $1.49
  • 1 28oz. can of Hannaford diced tomatoes for $.85
  • 1 15oz. tub of Hannaford ricotta for $1.99
  • 1 12oz. package of cremini mushrooms for $2.49
  • 1 green bell pepper for $.63
  • 1 12oz. package of white button mushrooms for $2.19

Grand total: $12.92.  I have $17.72 of this week’s $60 left.

This recipe comes from the Food Network’s Ask Aida, the episode was all about pizza.  As anyone who has known me for any amount of time can tell you, I love, love, LOVE pizza.  Pizza that features a whole lotta mushrooms?  Marianne’s personal food nirvana.  Gist and I watched the show together and once it was finished I said “I must make that, and soon.”  Gist’s response “Please wait for a night when I’m not home.  Please?”  Because sometimes I’m nice (and it would mean more pizza for me, me me!), I did just that.  It was well worth the wait!

Herbed Roasted Mushrooms with Fried Egg
Recipe courtesy Aida Mollenkamp


  • 1 1/4 pounds button or cremini mushrooms, quartered (I used both button and cremini and I used 24oz.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 sprigs rosemary (I used dried rosemary)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (1 pound) store-bought baked pizza crust (I used store-bought dough)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces fresh ricotta
  • 1 large egg (I omitted the egg)


Heat the oven to 450 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Combine mushrooms, 3 tablespoons oil, and rosemary on a baking sheet, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss to coat. Place in oven and roast until mushrooms are shrunken, and browned about, 20 minutes. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the balsamic and toss to coat. Scatter half of the Parmesan on the pizza. Discard rosemary and arrange mushrooms on top. Distribute ricotta across top and drizzle with remaining Parmesan and a little extra olive oil.

Bake until crust is browned, cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan medium heat, and add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. When oil shimmers, add eggs and fry until set, bubbly and brown on the edges, and the pan is almost dry. Carefully add remaining 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and cook until vinegar is reduced and syrupy. Place egg on top of pizza, drizzle balsamic reduction over pizza, and serve.

What I did differently: I used more mushrooms, I used dried rosemary, I omitted the egg, and I always cook pizza in my oven’s highest setting (550F).  If I were making this pizza for three or more people (and they were game), I’d include the egg – I think it sounds tasty but I left it out because I didn’t think that the pizza would keep well with it (and there was no way I was throwing a bit of this pizza away!)

What I’ll do differently the next time I make this: I’ll use more mushrooms (I told you I love mushrooms!) and I’ll omit the ricotta and add a bit more (maybe a quarter-cup) Parmesan.  If I had some on hand, I’d use half parm, half asiago.  Why would I omit the ricotta?  It’s creamy richness took away from balanced the woodsy mushroom/rosemary/hint-of-balsamic flavor and that’s a level of balance I just don’t need.  I love this pizza and it’s also great cold – I’m eating a piece as I type this – and I will definitely be making it again.

Now for my favorite part – the cost per serving breakdown (oh, math…).  I ate 3/8 of this pizza for supper (no side salad to distract me) so I’ll figure the cost using that number.  Actually I won’t – I hate math.  I’ll figure out a cost per piece, much easier…

The dough was $1.59/8=$.20.  The mushrooms were $4.68/8=$.59.  I used a half of the tub of ricotta, $.99/8=$.12. I’m still working on that wedge of parm I bought earlier in the week so we’ll calculate $.05 per piece, and I’ll estimate another $.05 per piece for the oil, balsamic and rosemary.  Cost per slice?  $1.01.  Cost per pizza?  $8.08 – a bit more expensive that a frozen pizza, cheaper than delivery and much tastier than both.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure – Gist and I also ate out on Friday (dun, dun, dun!)  She’s away all this weekend and we were originally going to have a dinner-and-DVD date at home on Friday night.  Something came up and she had to work, so we decide to have a breakfast date instead.  I love breakfast!  And it’s a super-cheap date – perfect for us.

Day 6/365 - Friday, March 13th 2009

We hit the Owl Diner for a late breakfast – it was delicious and nice time spent together.  I’m not counting it as taking away from the $60/week project because I’m not that strict, and had we not gone out, we would have been eating either toast or cereal, both of which we have on-hand at home.

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