This post is part of “The Art of Cheese”, a partnership between Honest Cooking and Castello Cheese.
Havarti cheese, sautéed shiitake and baby bella mushrooms, fresh rosemary and thyme, and a little drizzle of white truffle oil for good measure makes for a supreme pizza creation.
By Laura Davidson
I know that I’ve said this a million times, but my love of cheese has no bounds. I think I received my first cheese knife when I was 10 years old. I also requested stinky cheese courses for special dinners at an equally ridiculous young age.
I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
So when I had the opportunity to team up with Castello to create a recipe using their Reserve Aged Havarti Cheese, I was all over it. I have to admit, I’m a relative newbie to Havarti cheese, which made this project all the more exciting. I love working with new ingredients!
Plus, I’m a big fan of their wide variety of cheeses. If you’re unfamiliar with traditional Havarti, it is a semi-soft Danish cheese that has a very buttery texture similar to Swiss cheese.
Unlike traditional Havarti cheese, which is aged for roughly three months on average, Castello’s Reserve Aged Havarti is aged for 12 months. A full year! It is also imported all the way from Denmark, so you know it is made by the pros.
By aging the Harvarti for a longer period of time, the cheese develops a harder, crystalline texture (similar in some ways to a good-quality parmesan cheese) and a much stronger flavor, while still retaining the creamy, rich, buttery qualities that has become known for. It is a nutty and buttery, and just a bit salty.
And while it is the type of cheese that would be perfectly suited for a cheese platter accompanied by fresh fruit, I chose to go a slightly different route and put it on a pizza with earthy mushrooms, herbs, and truffle oil.
The cheese is just strong enough in flavor and dimension that it still shines in this dish! To increase the melting factor just a bit, I added a touch of grated fontina cheese as well.
This pizza is rich and wonderfully addictive. I promise that if you cut this baby into little squares or wedges and serve it as finger food over the holidays, that people would go absolutely nuts.
- 1 cup + ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons warm water (105 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 1.5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- cornmeal, for dusting
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced into ¼-inch slices
- 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, stems removed and sliced into ¼-inch slices
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary (1-2 sprigs)
- 2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves (3-4 sprigs)
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 5 ounces Castello Reserve Aged Havarti Cheese, grated
- 3 ounces fontina cheese, grated
- white truffle oil, for drizzling (2 teaspoons roughly)
- In a medium, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add the warm water, and stir mixture with a wooden spoon until the dough just begins to come together. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it for three minutes, or until it is smooth and slightly elastic.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 2 hours or until double in size.
- Heat very large (more surface area the better) skillet over very high heat. Add the olive oil, followed by the sliced mushrooms, spreading into a single layer with a wooden spoon.
- Continue to sauté for 5 to 6 minutes--the mushrooms will quickly begin to release their moisture--keep cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the chopped garlic and continue to sauté, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. De-glaze the pan with the dry sherry.
- Place back on the heat, add the chopped rosemary and thyme, and continue to cook over medium high heat until all of the sherry has evaporated. Set aside mushrooms to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit--if you have one, preheat a baking or pizza stone (alternatively, you can use a baking sheet) for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll or stretch the dough until it forms a rough 10-inch circle. The dough will be thin. Transfer it to a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal (or the baking sheet, if using).
- Brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the pizza, leaving a ¾-inch border on the edges. Spoon the mushrooms and distribute them evenly on top of the cheese.
- Slide the pizza gently onto the baking stone (or place the baking sheet in the oven) and bake for 8 to 10 minutes (it will take slightly longer if you are using a baking sheet) or until the dough is golden and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Immediately drizzle the top of pizza with white truffle oil, and garnish with additional rosemary sprigs or thyme leaves, if desired. Slice and serve.
After deciding to take a leap of faith, Laura enrolled in culinary school to pursue her passion for all things food. On her blog, Blogging Over Thyme, she shares her experience as a culinary student, her favorite recipes, stories, and photography!