The Baking Illustrated Challenge: Sausage and Bell Pepper Pizza with Basil and Mozzarella

I am not sure what to say about this pizza. We enjoyed it and ate the entire thing within a few days. Once I was able to get the whole process of making pizza down it became easy. I really enjoyed the sweet peppers and it was a nice change from what we normally have. If you enjoy sausage, and peppers then you will enjoy this pizza.

Source: The Baking illustrated cook book

Sausage and Bell Pepper Pizza with Basil and Mozzarella

1 recipe Pizza dough

3/4 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage, broken into bite-size pieces

1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing on the stretched dough

1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, halved, seeded, and cut into thin strips

salt and ground pepper

Semolina or cornmeal for dusting the pizza peel

1 1/2 cups quick tomato sauce for pizza combined with 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

1. Prepare the dough as directed in the Pizza Dough recipe. Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven. heat the oven to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a chef’s knife or dough scraper to divide the dough into three pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball and cover it with  a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

2. While preparing the dough, put the sausage and 1/4 cup water in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until the water evaporates and the sausage cooks through and browns, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add enough oil so that the amount of fat in the skillet equals 1 tablespoon. Add the bell pepper and saute until softened slightly, about 5 minutes. Season the bell pepper with salt and pepper to taste. Set the bell pepper aside.

3. Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping the others covered, shape the dough as directed in the illustrations on page 138, then transfer it to a pizza peel that has been lightly dusted with semolina.

4. Lightly brush the dough round with olive oil. Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the dough round, leaving a 1/2 inch border uncovered. Scatter a third of the sausage and a third of the bell pepper over the sauce.

5. Slide the dough onto the heated stone. Bake until the crust edges start to brown, 6-12 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the cheese and continue baking until the cheese melts, 2-3 minutes more. Remove the pizza from the oven, cut into wedges, and serve immediately. Repeat steps 3,4 and 5 with the remaining two pieces of dough and the remaining toppings.



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