Get ready to put on your sweat pants for this Pizza Italian Sausage Margherita. Why not add a couple of beers (the adult way) to wind down for the weekend!
Pizza is so common yet kids love it, adults love it – everyone loves it. Of course, that includes me.
Pizza for friend gatherings
Pizza for football games
Pizza for poker nights
Pizza for movie nights
Pizza for the World Series (Go Giants!)
For whatever occasion, pizza fits right in.
I like it especially for the crust and tomato sauce. That was how I ate my pizza during my childhood – tomato sauce and crust (cheese and toppings would be piled on my mom’s plate). Just like many little kids love ketchup with fries. The more ketchup, the better fries taste. Still today, I like lots of tomato sauce on my pizza, except they are now chunky…chunks of chunky with Italian sausage!
Because it is fun to eat. It’s a game of cheese. Bite into the cheese and pull on it. Let’s see who could get the longest string cheese.
Because it is finger food. It’s perfectly alright to get fingers all greasy and saucy (never like eating with folks and knives and don’t understand why either). Afterward, just lick them off.
Because it is doughie and crunchy in one piece. You get the soft part of the bread frist, then the crunch at the end.
And not to mention it is deliziosissima (don’t forget to give a sharp kiss to your finger tips). And this comes from an amateur who rolled dough for the first time! This is an easy to follow direction for making pizza dough.
Speaking of deliciousness, this pizza Italian sausage margherita will have you at “hello”. Those chunky tomatoes add texture. The crust is thin enough that you feel you are eating a pizza, not bread. The uneven shape makes give it a “rustic” and homemade look. The Italian sausage is juicy soaking in the chunky tomato pizza sauce, whereas the spiciness gives a kick at the end of each bite, making you want more and more and more.
Cheers to another fantastic Friday dinner!
Enjoy your weekend!
Pizza Margherita is named after Queen Margherita. It’s a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag – red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil).
Pizza Italian Sausage Margherita adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
Serving: Two 12-inch pizzas
1 cup warm water (about 110F)
1/4 tsp sugar
1 envelope (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for bowl and drizzling
cornmeal, for dusting
Italian sausage pizza sauce (see below for recipe)
1 lb fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil, some for garnish
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
In a small bowl, sprinkle sugar and yeast over warm water; stir with a fork until yeast and sugar dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt with a spatula. Add yeast mixture and oil; combine until mixture comes together but is still slightly tacky. Dough should pull away cleanly from your fingers after it’s squeezed. Turn out dough into a lightly floured work surface; knead four or five times (how to knead), until a smooth ball forms.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, smooth side up. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.
Punch down dough. Fold dough back onto itself four or five times, then turn smooth side up. Replace plastic wrap; let dough rise again in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.
Punch down dough; turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a bench scraper or knife, divide dough into two equal pieces. Knead each piece four or five times, then form a smooth ball. Return one ball to oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Pat remaining ball into a fattened disk; cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle a large wooden peel (or the flat side of a heavy baking sheet) with cornmeal. Using your hands or a rolling pin, stretch or press dough into desired shape, working from center outward in all directions. Transfer to the prepared peel.
Place a baking stone in the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450F. Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce over the desired shape dough, leaving a 1″ border uncovered. Arrange half the mozzarella slices over the sauce, and scatter with a handful of basil leaves. Sprinkle with pepper and half the grated Parmesan (if desired).
Slide pizza onto the baking stone. Bake until cheese is melted and crust is crispy and golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat rolling and topping with the remaining dough and ingredients; bake when first pizza is removed from the oven. Garnish with remaining basil, and slice pizza into wedges or squares using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, and serve immediately.
For Italian Sausage Pizza Sauce
Serving: two 12-inch pizza
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cans (15 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 lb tomatoes (tomatillo, kumato, tomatoes on the vine, etc.), peeled
3/4 lb Italian sausuage (omit for vegetarian version)
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add tomatoes to the skillet along with oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, crush and breakup up tomatoes with a spoon, until sauce has thickened, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool slightly before using.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add Italian sausage. Cook until light brown or tender. Remove from heat. Set aside.
Add sausage to the cooled pizza sauce.
A few notes:
– I replaced the baking stone (not available in the house) with a baking sheet, top with parchment paper. It works just as well.
– A pizza peel is not available at home so I first placed the dough on the heated baking sheet topped with parchment paper, then decorate with pizza sauce, mozzarella, etc. After it is done, put the baking sheet right into the oven, for 12 – 15 minutes.
– Extra dough could be kept up to one day in an airtight container.
– For a smooth pizza sauce, pass it through a food mill, or press through a sieve with a wooden spoon, into a large bow; discard solids.
– To speed up the cooling process of the pizza sauce, bath it in a ice bowl.
– Pizza sauce could be made ahead and refrigerated overnight.