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Recipes Revealed: Leva Café's Potato and Mushroom Pizza

By Tina Faiz

Leva Cafe cappuccinos are legendary, but the mushroom and potato pizza is what keeps me going back. (Photos: Tina Faiz)

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"He'll have a cappuccino," says Jennifer Ogle, as a tall, silver-haired man walks into Leva Café. It's about 7:45am, and she knows all her regulars' caffeine of choice. "He likes to sit outside, regardless of the weather," she says without hesitation. That's the kind of neighbourhood café Ogle has built since 2007, tucked in a corner of a residential street in the picturesque Garneau community. Paolo, the as-Italian-as-it-gets barista who moved from Milan to Edmonton a year ago, takes the order and whips up the creamiest cappuccino you could imagine.

The secret? Aside from dark roast Danesi beans, soft water and a coffee machine that costs "tens of thousands of dollars," it's the cream on top. "You should never have foam in a cappuccino!" Ogle warns me. It should be a thick cream that doesn't fizz out, the consistency of paint, she says, achieved when frothy steamed milk it is banged on the counter to eliminate large air bubbles. All that ruckus creates the dense creamy goodness Leva's cappuccino is known for.

For me, Leva is the first place that comes to mind when choosing where to eat out. The rich dark brownies are moist and not too sweet. The soups are always flavourful, and you can ask for a free taster before you order. I suppress a child-like tantrum when the chipotle yam salad is not on the menu, which changes daily. And I almost always order the mushroom and potato pizza when it's available. The porcini cream sauce--a European blend of dried wild mushrooms cooked in whipping cream then blended with cambozola cheese--is full-bodied, thick and savoury (the recipe is below). The roasted potatoes on top are crispy like chips but also chewy and hearty. And the dough is perfectly crisp, in contrast to the soggy mess most thin-crust pizzas become.

The Italian feel, the use of local, organic ingredients and the order-it-and-it-will-be-great menu are why Leva has so many regulars. Oh, and the cappuccinos.

Leva Café
11053-86 Avenue, Edmonton
Open Monday - Friday 7a.m.-11 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. - 11 p.m., and Sundays 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
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Have you ordered this pizza at Leva Café? Or tried making this at home? Share your reviews in the comments section, below.
Leva Cafe recipe: Mushroom and potato pizza

recipe-revealed_leva_01.jpgPorcini mushroom and cambozola cream sauce is the secret to this pizza. (Photo: Tina Faiz)   

Pizza assembly:
Pre-heat oven to 400F degrees.

Roll out dough into 12-inch circle on a well-floured surface.
Spoon porcini-cream sauce (recipe below) on dough. Sprinkle a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese.

Layer roasted mushrooms (recipe below) on cheese. Layer roasted potatoes (recipe below) on the mushrooms.

Bake for 4-5 minutes, when crust is puffed and crispy and cheese has melted.

Pizza sauce: Porcini cream sauce

1 cup dried European Blend Chantrelle and Crimini mushrooms (available from Mo-Na Food at Downtown Farmer's Market)
4 cups whipping cream
1 wedge cambozola cheese, wrapper and sticker removed
Salt and pepper to taste

1.    In a heavy saucepan, bring cream and dried mushrooms to a boil.
2.    Simmer the cream and mushroom mixture for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
3.    Remove from heat and pour mixture into a food processor.
4.    Add Cambozola wedge to the food processor and blend for about 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is thick, smooth and a dark brown-grey colour.
5.    Pour into a lidded dish and freeze what you don't need. Refrigerate what you'll use in 3 days.

Pizza topping: Roasted potatoes

1.    Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees.
2.    Thinly slice one potato, with skin, and put in a mixing bowl.
3.    Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
4.    Arrange potatoes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
5.    Roast in oven for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and are slightly carmelized.
6.    Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.

Pizza topping: Roasted mushrooms

1.    Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees.
2.    Slice 1 cup of wild mushrooms, such as cremini, chantrelle, shitake.
3.    Place mushrooms in a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
4.    Arrange mushrooms on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
5.    Roast in oven for 10 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked through and are slightly caramelized.
6.    Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.

If there is a restaurant recipe you've been dying to make at home, e-mail me at edmontonam@cbc.ca. Tell me why you like the dish so much. Do you have a special memory of it? I will do my best to get it for you!