Homemade Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Blue Cheese and Thyme

Photos by Kevin Schuder

This recipe was created exclusively for TreeHugger by Kevin Schuder, Executive Chef at Yield Wine Bar, to pair with a bottle of Valeriano from our featured green wine maker Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. Valeriano is like a big bloody steak (and this is coming from a vegetarian!). It's bold, structured and tannic with flavors of summer cherries, currants and leather. But it's also quite balanced, so it pairs nicely with food. But you're going to need a strong dish like this pizza to stand next to the Valeriano.

It's no secret, we love pizza. In fact, Americans eat 350 slices of pizza every second! But now there's a reason to eat a lot more. You won't need any fancy Italian flour or your oven to reach 950 degrees. Heck, you don't even need a pizza stone. You just need to love pizza. Remember, the best part of a homemade pizza is that it can be a bit messy. It doesn't have to be a perfect circle. Mine have ranged from oval-shaped to hexagons. Circles are for quitters!

The Pizza Dough
© Kevin SchuderPhotos by Kevin Schuder

Inspired by the dough from Pizzeria Delfina in San Francisco, this recipe makes 3 12" pizza crusts.

1/2 t. fresh yeast (or 1/2 t. active dry yeast)
3/4 t. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup tepid water (you may need an extra teaspoon or two)
3 cups all-purpose flour (or imported Caputo '00' flour if you feel fancy)
1 1/2 T. kosher salt

1. In a large mixing bowl add the water then whisk in the yeast and olive oil.

2. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes.

3. Add the flour, mix into a homogenous ball.

4. Cover the mixture with a damp towel and let stand for 20 minutes.

5. Knead in the salt thoroughly.

6. Separate into 3 equal portions, place on a floured tray and lightly cover with plastic wrap.

7. Let it sit at room temperature for 4 hours until it each ball has doubled in size.

Remember, you could also purchase dough from the supermarket (Trader Joe's has a nice whole wheat pizza dough) or hit up your favorite local pizzeria!

The Toppings
Photos by Kevin Schuder

The best part of homemade pizza is you can top it however you like. One of my favorites is jalapenos and pineapple. But we want to compliment our featured wine--Valeriano from Jacuzzi Family Vineyards.

5 large red onions
4 T. canola oil
Blue cheese (we suggest a local cheese)
Fresh fresh thyme (dried is okay too)
Kosher salt
Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
Red chile flakes (optional)

1. Julienne all the red onions as shown above.

2. Begin heating a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven.

3. Add the oil and the onions, and gently stir to break them up and distribute the oil.

4. Turn the heat to low.

5. Cook down the onions for about 3 hours, stirring periodically to prevent from burning.

6. Salt to taste.

Photos by Kevin Schuder

7. The onions must be cooled down before they are added to the pizza.

8. Break the blue cheese into large crumbles and set in a bowl.

9. Strip the thyme from it's stems and set aside.

Photos by Kevin Schuder
Shaping and Baking the Pizza
© Kevin SchuderPhotos by Kevin Schuder
Sheetpan or Baking Stone
Parchment Paper
Your risen, pillowy dough
The toppings

1. Heat the baking sheet on your oven's highest temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Line the backside of a sheetpan with a layer of parchment paper.

© Kevin SchuderPhotos by Kevin Schuder

3. Shape the dough by tapping the center to deflate it. Stretch it by pressing it with your fingers away from the center.

Photos by Kevin Schuder

4. Grab it along the edges and turn it like you would a steering wheel and let gravity stretch it for you.

5. The trick is to grab the very edge so it is not paper thin in the middle nor very thick at the edge.

6. Give the dough a final stretch with the back of your hands if the shape or thickness still needs some correction.

Photos by Kevin Schuder

7. Set the unbaked crust on the parchment paper.

8. Top with a layer of the caramelized onions.

9. Quickly, open the oven, pull the rack out partway, and slide the pizza with the parchment onto the already hot pan or pizza-stone in the oven. Push it back and close the door.

Photos by Kevin Schuder

10. After 5 minutes, add the blue cheese and the thyme. Bake it for another minute.

Enjoy!

Photos by Kevin Schuder

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