Last night we had the happy coincidence of two friends traveling back home from Christmas celebrations, both of whom decided to stop and spend the night with us en route. We had a delicious, impromptu, and local dinner of sausage & pepper pizza, served up with Saranac ales, good conversation, and many laughs. Thanks, Frannie & Christina, for a great night!
Happy holidays everyone!
Sausage & Pepper Pizza
- 1 recipe Quick(er) Whole Grain Pizza dough
- 1/2 lb smoked cajun sausage
- olive oil
- about 1 oz hard grating cheese, such as Bardwell Farms Equinox
- 1 and 1/2 cups tomato sauce (I used Tomato Sauce with Fresh Basil)
- 6 – 8 oz fresh mozzarella
- 1 cup diced yellow bell pepper (frozen), or 1 fresh bell pepper, diced to 1/2-inch squares
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- cornmeal and/or extra flour, for sprinkling
- Make and shape the pizza dough. (I highly recommend that when making the dough, double the recipe and par-cook two extra pizza dough rounds for the freezer; so convenient when friends drop by for an impromptu dinner!).
- Preheat the oven as high as it will go (550 degrees F on my oven). If you have a pizza stone, try to allow at least an hour of preheating.
- Slice the sausage into thin rounds and brown, over medium heat, with a tiny bit of olive oil, in a large saute pan. Do not crowd the pan. Remove from the pan once browned and set aside.
- Prepare the mise en place. Grate (or slice) the cheeses as necessary. Set out the cheesse, sauce, herbs & spices, olive oil, sausage and extra flour or cornmeal in preparation for assembling the pizza.
- Transfer your pizza shell to a parchment-covered pizza peel, or one liberally sprinkled with cornmeal or flour. (Par-cooked pizza shells will not need parchment or cornmeal, although I always sprinkle some cornmeal for flavor). Or, if you do not have a pizza stone, transfer to a baking sheet or pizza pan.
- Assemble & cook the pizza. Drizzle about 1 tbsp of olive oil on the formed pizza shell, and spread over the surface of the dough with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle grated hard cheese over the shell. Then add dollops of tomato sauce, mozzarella, bell peppers, sausage, herbs and spices. If you wish, brush a little more oil along the edges of the pizza dough and sprinkle with grated hard cheese. Slide the pizza off the peel and onto your pizza stone, or transfer the pan to the preheated oven. Cook for 7 minutes, or until the dough edges have puffed up and browned and the cheese is bubbling and starting to carmelize. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 3 – 5 minutes before slicing.
Yields two, 10- to 12-inch pizzas.
- The frozen peppers were not completely thawed when I added them to the pizza; they added a bit too much water to the pizza after cooking. Next time I will thaw completely and dry saute them for a minute or two in order to leech out some of the water prior to cooking the pizza.
- It’s pizza: use what veggies, meats or cheeses you have on hand. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with homemade pizza!
Lasts for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Cooked pizza will also freeze well for up to 1 month. Par-cooked pizza shells will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Christmas! Well, really, this pizza can be made year-round, but I like to make pizza in the winter; it doubles to warm up the house.
- Flour and cornmeal: Wild Hive Farm, Clinton Corners, NY
- Sausage: Mountain Products Smokehouse, LaGrangeville, NY
- Grating cheese: Equinox raw, aged goat’s milk cheese, Bardwell Farms, West Pawley, VT
- Mozzarella: Lioni Latticini, Inc., Union, NJ
- Yellow bell pepper: Madura Farms, Goshen, NY (quick-frozen in August)
- Basil, oregano: Ryder Farm CSA, Brewster, NY (dried in Summer ’09)
- Tomatoes (in sauce): Dressel Farms, New Paltz, NY
- Onions, carrots, garlic, basil (in sauce): Ryder Farm CSA, Brewster, NY
- Honey (in pizza dough): New England Farms, Granville, NY
- Olive oil: Kalamata extra-virgin, Greece
- Instant yeast, salt, pepper, lemon juice: away