Words by Lisa Ahier

One of the great perks of living in British Columbia’s rainforest is the abundance of wild forest mushrooms. Chanterelles, pine, chicken of the woods, porcini… I encourage you to experiment with the different varieties and find what best suits you. The key to this pizza is the earthiness of the mushrooms and the sweetness of the caramelized onions. And the acidic nature of the goat cheese really perks it up.


2 tbsp butter

¼ cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 onions, thinly sliced

½ lb shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed, cleaned and sliced ½-inch thick

2 large portobello mushrooms,
cleaned and diced

½ lb cremini mushrooms,
cleaned and sliced ½-inch thick

½ tsp salt

Pizza dough (see recipe below)

1 to 2 cups red sauce (see recipe below)

1 cup pumpkin seed pesto (see recipe below)

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup crumbled soft goat cheese

2 cups baby arugula


Pumpkin Seed Pesto

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

¼ cup minced garlic

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1 cup spinach leaves

½ cup arugula or watercress

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp crushed red chili flakes

1 tsp salt

½ cup olive oil, plus extra as needed

¼ cup grated hard aged cheese, like parmesan, pecorino, asiago or romano


Red Sauce

1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes or whole plum tomatoes

1 tbsp salt

¼ cup olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

¼ cup roasted garlic, pureed

1 cup fresh basil leaves

¼ cup fresh oregano leaves

In a food processor or a blender, puree all the ingredients to your desired smoothness. (I like mine smooth enough to spread really well.)

Makes 4 cups.


Pizza Dough

2 cups lukewarm water (about 110°F, from the tap), plus extra as needed
*Note: This recipe was originally printed with an error. Two cups lukewarm water is the correct quantity. We’re sorry for any confusion or inconvenience this may have caused!

½ tsp active dry yeast

¼ cup dark beer

3 tbsp olive oil

3¾ cups 00 flour

3¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed

1½ tbsp salt


How to Make Pumpkin Seed Pesto:

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Spread pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and pop it into the oven. Roast for 4 to 5 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

In a food processor or blender, combine the toasted seeds, garlic, basil, spinach, arugula, lemon juice, chili flakes and salt.

Pulse until the herbs are finely chopped, then, with the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and blend to your desired texture. (I like it smooth and creamy. If you want a thinner sauce, add a bit more olive oil.) Transfer to a bowl and fold in the cheese.

Makes 4 cups.

How to Prepare the Dough:

First mix: In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the water, yeast, beer, oil and 00 flour and mix for 5 minutes on low speed or until well incorporated. If you don’t have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can mix the ingredients in a large bowl by hand: use one hand to mix the dough until it forms a ball and all the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer to a clean, dry work surface (marble or granite is fabulous) and knead, using the heels of your palm, for about 5 minutes, then stretch and flip. Repeat, until the dough can’t be stretched any more. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. (Never let your dough get a crust from the air.)

Second mix: Return the dough to the stand mixer or bowl and add the all-purpose flour and salt. Mix for 5 minutes on medium speed. If mixing by hand, it will take about 7 minutes. The dough should form a cohesive ball and pull away cleanly from the sides of the bowl. If it is too wet and sticking to the bowl, add more flour, 1 tsp at a time. If it is too dry and not all the flour is incorporated, add more lukewarm water, 1 tsp at a time, until you have a smooth, shiny dough.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and let rest for 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into four pieces. One at a time, cup each piece of dough in your hand and roll it around in a circle on a clean, dry work surface until you’ve formed a smooth, round ball. Place the dough balls in a large container, spaced about 4 inches apart, to allow them room to expand.

Seal the container tightly with its lid or plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Then place in the fridge for at least 24 hours, and up to 72 hours. One hour before shaping and assembling the pizzas, remove the dough from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.

Makes enough dough for four 10-inch pizzas.


How to Make the Pizza:

In a medium heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat, add the butter and 2 tbsp of the olive oil. As soon as the butter melts, add the onions and turn the heat to medium-low, stirring the onions frequently to prevent them from burning, until they reach a rich, dark brown (about 20 to 30 minutes). By cooking low and slow, you are creating so much flavour, bringing out the onion’s natural sweetness without any sharp, bitter taste. If the onions start to stick or burn, turn the heat to low and add 1 tbsp water. Stir too much and the onions won’t brown; stir too little and they burn. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Heat the remaining ¼ cup olive oil in a separate medium heavy-bottomed frying pan over high heat. As soon as it starts to smoke, add all the mushrooms and cook until tender (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and season with the salt.

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Form the dough for one pizza at a time on its floured pan.

Once you have shaped one piece of dough, immediately spoon ¼ cup red sauce and ¼ cup pesto on top. Use a spatula or the back of the spoon to spread them out evenly. Sprinkle with one-quarter of the onions, ¾ cup mozzarella, one-quarter of the mushrooms and ¼ cup goat cheese.

Repeat the shaping and topping process with the remaining balls of dough. Bake each pizza for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese golden. Remove from the oven and garnish with arugula.

Makes four 10-inch pizzas.

Wine Pairing


Hester Creek Old Vines Trebbiano, $25

All three named ingredients here work well with this rare Okanagan version of one Italy’s most planted grapes. Hester Creek keeps the alcohol low and channels the grape’s citrus and firm stone fruit notes to surround the rich onions and tame the bite of goat cheese. That this wine, grown from vines that date to 1968, is just $25 is a modern wonder (and an unbelievable steal). —Neal McLennan, Wine Editor

Recipe from Together at SoBo available on bookshelves now.


This story was originally published in the May/June 2023 print issue of Western Livingfind the digital issue here.