I have a confession to make. I used to be an onion hater. I would refuse to eat anything that contained them. If I saw even one in a meal my mother had prepared, just picking them out and continuing to eat my dinner like a normal person was not an option. Obviously, the entire meal was now infected with onion juice, so eating anymore was completely out of the question. It didn’t matter if I hadn’t noticed the onions until I was two thirds of the way done with my dinner, the rest was inedible once even a speck of onion was discovered. Yeah, I was that kid. Sorry, mom!
I’m not sure when I became an onion convert, but I definitely am. Maybe it was around the time I started cooking for myself and learned that onions are the backbone of just about every meal? All I know is that I can’t get enough of them, especially the caramelized onion variety. When onions are caramelized, they get sweet and have an almost creamy quality to them. Sometimes, they are a pain to make, but taking the time to caramelize onions slowly over low heat with butter is always worth it in the end.
It is especially worth it when the end result is this pizza. Paired with the funkiness of the brie and the sweetness of the balsamic syrup drizzled on top, this sweet and savory pizza is the perfect answer to what’s for dinner tonight. Even my 7-year-old friend Julio gobbled it up. So while it may not be 7-year-old Ashleigh approved, I’m making up for lost time and eating it now.
A note about pizza dough: pizza dough is easy to make, but I frequently cheat and use the raw dough from the store to save time. I’m not a dough snob, and it works just fine. If you want to take it up a notch and make your own pizza dough, I highly recommend Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.
- 3 yellow or sweet onions
- 5 tablespoons of salted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt, plus more to taste
- ½ cup of vegetable broth (to deglaze the pan as needed)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more the roll out the pizza dough
- 1 cup 2% milk
- ¾ cup mozzarella cheese, grated and divided (I grate it myself because fresh mozzarella is always better than the pre-shredded kind)
- 1 batch raw pizza dough (I bought some from the store, but if you have time to make it from scratch, I highly recommend Smitten Kitchen's recipe, linked above)
- 1 8 ounce wedge of brie, rind removed and cut into small pieces
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- Using a mandolin, food processor, or sharp knife, slice the onions into ⅛ inch thin slices.
- Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and turn the heat to low. Stirring frequently, allow the onions to caramelize until they are a deep golden brown color. The time this takes varies, but mine usually are the right color in about an hour. When brown bits form on the bottom of the pan, deglaze with a splash of vegetable broth and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to pick up those flavorful bits.
- When the onions are done, set aside and make the sauce. Using the same pan, melt the remaining butter and over medium heat. Once melted, add the garlic and flour. Stir constantly until there are no lumps and the mixture has turned brown, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and whisk constantly until it thickens and the mixture is smooth, another 3 minutes. Add ¼ cup of the mozzarella and allow it to melt. Then remove the sauce from the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Flour your counter and roll out the pizza dough. I made two medium sized rectangular pizzas, but you can make it any shape and size you want. Place the dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Top the dough with the sauce. Then add the onions, remaining mozzarella, and brie.
- Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and bake another 5 minutes, until it is brown and bubbly and delicious.
- While the pizza is baking, make the balsamic syrup. Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium-low. Stir together and simmer until it is reduced by half. When the pizza comes out of the oven, drizzle the syrup over the top to add a tangy, sweet element.
- Eat the pizza its own or with a simple green salad and a glass of wine for a full meal.