Homemade Sausage, Mushroom, and Tomato Pan Pizza


2 sweet Italian sausage links (about ½ lb)
fresh mozzarella balls (these are the small ciliegine)
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic


I start with my baby bella mushrooms.
I trim, wash, and slice them, then set them aside for later.
Meanwhile, I turn my large wok up to frying heat. I’ve skinned my sausage links, and broken the tender nubby meat into bits and dropped them to sizzle and brown in the pan. I toss these yummy morsels around well, allowing them to cook thoroughly and render their sweet inner oils.
I set the meat aside, reserving the fats…
To which I add my mushrooms (and a glug or two of EVOO as needed), to soften and brown — but NOT enough to melt to liquid, so keep the heat high, and toss well until well coated with oil and just crisping at the edges. Remove from the heat and set aside.
So here are my toppings: my sausage is browned, my mushrooms are flash sauteed, and my tomatoes have been cored, sliced, and salted (which sweetens them, and helps them bleed — allowing their juices to run off, which will result in a toastier pizza crust). They’re ready to go, so I set them aside while I prep my crust.
First, I heat my oven to 400 degrees, and I set my cookie sheets — one layered on top of the other, to help distribute the heat (since my oven is small and heats from the bottom mercilessly) — on the middle rack to heat to sizzling hot. This will crisp my bottom crust.
I turn my cold dough onto a floured surface and trim about 1/4 of it off for rolls.
Using my hands, I stretch my dough into a rough oval shape. See all those bubbles at the edge? I brought my dough out of the fridge too early, setting it on the counter to take my set-up shot, and then forgetting to return it to the cold until I needed it. This reactivated the rising yeast — the warmth — which results in these bubbles you have to pound out. Popped blackened crispy bubbles on the crust of boutique pizzas mean they were stretched way too long ago, by a lazy pizza cook rolling his dough out well before it’s needed. Just FYI. So I pound out these bubbles…
Then take my rolling pin to this *very* elastic dough…
Until I have it thinned out (whoops — and torn in one place!) to about the size and shape of my cookie sheet.
The next steps go very quickly – so I’ve opened up my packages of cheese (my ricotta and my fresh mozzarella), set my parm close to my hand grater, and have that along with my sausage, tomatoes, and mushrooms at the ready. I pull my pan(s) out of the oven, and they are VERY hot; I douse them with several healthy glugs of EVOO, spreading it with a pastry brush.
I quickly move my stretched out dough to the pan, fitting it in as best as I can.
I layer my tomatoes first, then my sausage and mushrooms.
Finally, I dot some ricotta cheese, about a dozen ciliegine, and some freshly grated parm over the whole pan. This goes into my hot oven, on the top rack, for 15-20 minutes.
My remaining dough I split into four parts, which I roll between my hands into foot long sausages, which I then tie into knots. I throw these knots into a small pan, and chuck them in the oven, too, until they are nicely baked and browned.
At the last moment, these get doused with my butter, which I’ve melted, and my garlic, which I’ve minced and lightly sweated in said melted butter. Then I grate some more parm on top, and toss this whole mess in a nice bowl until my knots are glistening with fat and stuck all over with gooey white cheese.
My pizza is ready when the edges are brown, the bottom crisp, and the cheese perfectly melted and a bit caramelized on the edges. I transfer this to a cutting board, and slice through it, using a satisfying whack, with my Chinese cleaver.
At the last moment, I dress some baby herb greens with EVOO, salt, and pepper, which I serve alongside my homemade (‘cept for the crust, which is for another day — and another kitchen) pizza. Savory sausage, earthy mushrooms, hot tomatoes, stringy and fluffy cheeses, served on top of a chewy crispy crust, with salad and garlic knots. I could have had some simulacrum of this delivered to me — made with a heavy tomato sauce, way too much processed cheese and low-grade meat — for about the same price, but at what cost? My hubby and my tummy thanked me for this marvelous meal – and the satisfaction of falling in love with pizza again was just an added bonus.




Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 7:14am


Related Cooking Videos