Who doesn’t love pizza? And good pizza is well - irresistible. This will require a little bit of time, but all the steps are super easy. Although I attempted my own pizza sauce, it just was not as good (and I tried many) as my favorite purchased brand, Mezzetti, which has a deep richness that I could not duplicate. For best results, apply your toppings evenly and not too heavily. Baking the pizza can be done in a variety of ovens and the timelines for those are noted at the end of the recipe.
Ingredients (Makes 3 Medium or 6 Small Pizzas):
- 1 - pound Wild Idea Buffalo Italian Sausage
- 1 - recipe, pizza crust
- ½ - cup basil pesto
- 1 - cup pizza sauce (Mezzetti)
- 1 ½ - cups mushrooms, sliced
- ¾ - cup caramelized onions
- 12 - ounces fresh mozzarella or substitute chèvre with fennel pollen
- 9 - ounces Parmesan, grated
- salt, pepper & chili flake to taste
- flour & cornmeal
- Prepare pizza dough per instructions below. Lightly flour work surface and your hands. Stretch and hold dough with one hand and form a fist with the other and place under the dough. Place on peel, baking sheet, or pizza stone that has been generously covered with flour or corn meal. Adjust shape with hands by stretching or scrunching dough into place.
- In a large saucepan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and crumble sausage into pan. Lightly brown and stir occasionally breaking up sausage to desired pieces, about 4 minutes.
- Spread pizzas with basil pesto, followed by the pizza sauce.
- Top each pizza with desired amount of sliced mushrooms, caramelized onions, Buffalo Italian Sausage, mozzarella or chèvre, and parmesan cheese.
- Outdoor Brick Ovens: Have heat at about 700°. Slide pizza off peel and bake in oven for about 4 minutes, rotating once or twice while baking.
- Indoor convection ovens: Place oven rack to lower level and preheat oven to as high as heat will go, 500° to 550°. Bake on pizza stone or baking sheet for 8 to 12 minutes depending on your heat.
- Gas Grill: Line gas grill rack low to flames with bricks and place bricks on upper grill rack if you have one. Place pizza stone on top of bricks (good old fashioned red bricks work great). Turn all burners to high heat and allow the grill to get very hot, so bricks are heated through, about 30 minutes. The bricks will help in retaining the heat and offer a more even cooking distribution. Slide pizza off of peel onto pizza stone and close grill lid. Bake, turning once for about 6 minutes.
- Remove pizza from oven or grill and place on a cutting board. Allow the pizza to rest for a few minutes before cutting. Season with chili flake as desired.
Pizza Dough (Credit to Peter Reinhart) – This is fabulous dough! If not used for pizza it makes a great flatbread, brushed with a little pesto prior to baking.
Ingredients (Makes 3 Medium or 6 Large Crusts):
- 4½ - cups high protein flour (I used half Kernza whole grain flour & half organic bread flour)
- 1¾ - teaspoon salt
- 1 - teaspoon quick yeast
- 2 - tablespoons olive oil
- 1¾ - cup water, very cold
- In mixing bowl using a dough hook, sift flour, salt and yeast together. Add olive oil and water, scraping down sides as needed. Continue to mix for 6 minutes, stopping every two minutes to remove dough from the hook.
- Dust hands with flour and remove dough from mixer and place on flour dusted work surface. Knead dough for 1 to 2 minutes. Dough should spring back from touch.
- Divide into desired sizes and form into balls. Brush dough lightly with oil, place on lightly oiled baking sheet and cover loosely with saran or a plastic bag.
- Refrigerate for 8 hours or up to 3 days. Remove from refrigeration and allow to rest at room temperature for 4 hours. Proceed to Pizza instructions. Note: Dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
Basil Pesto (I am not a ground pine nut fan, but if you are, add ¼ cup to ingredients.)
- 2 - cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 2 - cups shredded parmesan cheese
- 3 - garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 - teaspoon salt
- 1 - teaspoon pepper (I like a little more)
- 2 - tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 - cup olive oil
Preparations: Place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate.
- 1 - tablespoon butter
- 1 - tablespoon olive oil
- 2 - cups onions, diced
- 1 - tablespoons sugar+
- 1 - teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- season with salt and pepper
- Heat butter and oil in sauté pan over medium high heat.
- Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate.
- Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally. Cook for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Photo Credit: Jill O'Brien