Arugula and Mushroom Pizza with Goat Cheese

Years ago, and I mean over 10 years ago, before my cousin Nando was even married and even before I had my twins Anjali and Rani, Nando invited us to dinner at his home in Sunnyvale, California.  What could Nando really make for dinner I wondered?  I was skeptical.  I offered to cook something and bring it to the dinner.  But Nando declined the offer and said he had it all covered.

On a Saturday evening, Hitesh, Sri and I went to Nando’s for dinner.  At this dinner I discovered the best and most unique homemade pizza I had ever tasted. This pizza was delicious and so original at that time. Today there are so many creative choices for pizzas, but over a decade ago, Nando’s pizza was new and unique.  I got the recipe from Nando and I have made this pizza tons of times over the years, and it’s always a big hit.  I haven’t changed a thing in this recipe in all these years.  It just works the way it is.

IMG_9339Funny story about this pizza.  I made it once when Nando, Uma and their daughter Kavni were over.  Nando raved about it.  I told him it was his recipe that he had made years ago.  He just looked so surprised and said he didn’t recall that at all.  It was such a long time ago when he made this pizza for us, and from the looks of it, he hasn’t made it since.  Lucky for him I have his recipe and still make it today for all our enjoyment 🙂

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I’ve thought about accompanying this with salad or soup.  But this pizza has everything one needs to make it a one-pot meal – veggies, starch, protein, and spices.  We just enjoy it by itself with a glass of wine or a spritzer for the kids. This pizza makes a great appetizer too.  I’ve made it for parties and it’s gone in seconds!  Here is the recipe for Nando’s Arugula and Mushroom Pizza with Goat Cheese.

Nando’s Arugula and Mushroom Pizza with Goat Cheese:

Ingredients:  I get all the ingredients for this pizza from Trader Joe’s.

  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat pizza dough.  I’ve tried their regular pizza dough in this recipe but it doesn’t taste as good as the whole-wheat pizza dough which has a nice nutty flavor and texture in this pizza.
  • 1 bag of wild arugula or wild rocket
  • 1 container pesto
  • 1 bag of Quattro Formaggio grated cheese
  • 1 block of goat cheese
  • 1 box mushrooms
  • 6 cloves of garlic (3 for the mushroom sauté and 3 for the arugula) You can add more or less of garlic to your taste
  • Salt/pepper
  • Olive Oil

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Directions:

Prep the vegetables:

  • In a saucepan sauté garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • Add the entire bag of arugula and sauté about 3 – 5 minutes until the greens are wilted.  Set aside.
  • In the same pan add 1 tbsp olive oil.  Add garlic and sauté.
  • Now add the chopped mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes until the mushrooms become tender and release their juices. Set aside

Prep the pizza dough:

  • Follow the directions on the back of the pizza dough package.
  • Spread olive oil on a large pizza pan.  I like a baking pan with holes as it cooks the pizza dough more evenly.

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Pre-cook the pizza dough for 10 minutes in the oven until slightly cooked. Because the vegetables have a lot of moisture, it helps to pre-cook the pizza dough slightly. This prevents the dough from getting soggy.

Assemble the pizza:

  • Spread pesto sauce on the pizza dough.
  • Now add the cooked arugula. Make sure to squeeze out the water before spreading it on the pizza.
  • Add sautéed mushrooms. Same here, just use the mushrooms without the water that is released.
  • Dot soft goat cheese all over the pizza.
  • Sprinkle Quattro formaggio cheese as much as you want.
  • Sprinkle salt & pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Bake pizza in the oven for 15 minutes or until you see cheese bubbling.  We like our pizza crust crunchy, but if you like it a little softer, bake for 10-12 minutes.

Take out of oven and slice into pieces, and its ready to serve!  

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