Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

Hmm, let's see if I can remember how to do this :-)

I can't make homemade pizza and not think about my father. He was very proud of his pizza, and he used to make it almost every week when I was growing up. He would always make it on a Saturday, starting during the afternoon, which made me think that it was labor-intensive. In truth, this was a really easy weeknight dinner! I used this recipe for a make-ahead dough. With the help of my stand mixer, it came together in under 5 minutes this morning. Even if you don't have a mixer, I think you could still make it in 10 minutes.

I let the dough rise for an hour while I got ready for work and punched it down just before heading out the door. It sat all day in the fridge. When I got home this evening, all I had to do was saute the sausage and mushrooms, roll out the dough, assemble the pizza, and bake it off. Less than 45 minutes after I came in the front door, I had a hot, fresh pizza to chow down!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 envelope (1/4 ounce) dry active yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for coating bowl

1 pound hot Italian turkey sausage
8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce, homemade or jarred
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Olive oil for drizzling
Sea or kosher salt

Stir the yeast into 3/4 cup of warm water (105 degrees F - 115 degrees F) and let stand until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Put the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour over the water-yeast mixture. Stir together until the dough is a shaggy mass. Sprinkle a work surface with flour and knead the dough until smooth and springy, about 1 minute. Alternatively, use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer to do the initial mixing, and switch to the dough hook for the kneading.

Lightly coat a medium sized bowl with olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for an hour. Punch the dough down and transfer it to an airtight container. Leave in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

When you're ready to make the pizza, take the dough out of the fridge. Punch it down again and let it sit while you get everything else ready. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Take the casings off the sausage and place in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, breaking the sausage up into bite sized pieces, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Place the sausage on a plate and set aside. Warm up a tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and saute the mushrooms until they release their liquid and turn brown.

Dust a work surface with flour and roll out your pizza dough until it will fit your pan. Drizzle olive oil over the rolled out dough and brush or smooth with your hands over the surface of the dough. Gently place the dough in your pan, oiled side down. You could also spread the olive oil out in your pan first and then flop the dough into it (I can't do this because my pan has holes in the bottom to keep the crust crisp!). Press the dough into the sides of your pan to form a crust.

Spread tomato sauce over the dough with the back side of a spoon and sprinkle with sea salt. Evenly place the sausage, mushrooms, and garlic over the pizza. Top with the mozzarella cheese and basil and scatter over the parmesan cheese for the final touch. Bake for 15 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes after taking it out of the oven. Cut into wedges and serve!

Rating: This is awesome

The great thing about pizza is that you can change it up to totally meet your tastes and what you have in the fridge. The dough is your canvas!

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