Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Veggie Sausage Pesto Pizza

Like many people, we really like pizza around here.  And as I've probably said before, I love making my own pizza because I can put exactly what I want on it.  I tend to load up on bold flavors and hold back on the cheese.  One of our favorite pizzas for the past couple of years has been the Spicy Kale, Pepperoni, and Mushroom Pizza that was one of the first recipes on this blog.    This past week I decided to modify that pizza a bit because I was having a craving for pesto.   The result was this pizza topped with pesto, mushrooms, red peppers, kale, chicken sausage, and mozzarella + Parmesan cheeses.  Of course it was delicious (it's hard to go wrong with pizza!) so I figured I should document it here on the blog.  

For my birthday I got a pizza stone which has been so much fun!   Because it retains heat very well, it makes the bottom of the pizza crust nice and crispy.  As I've been doing for the past six months or so, I used a half batch of sourdough starter pizza dough  for the crust (every couple of times that I feed my sourdough starter I make a batch,  divide it in two, and put it in the freezer for future pizzas).  I realized that a half batch of that dough is actually perfect for a relatively thin crust pizza to serve 3-4.  The thin crust cuts down on the carbs a bit, but it's not so thin that it's like a cracker.  I definitely recommend it!

Pizza is definitely the sort of thing that you can easily change based on what you have on hand or your preferences.  Skip the sausage, or change up the veggies or cheese and this would still be delicious.  Just remember- when you make your own pizza, you really can make it a lot healthier!

Veggie Sausage Pesto Pizza

yield:  1 14-inch pizza (serves 3-4)

  • 1 ball pizza dough (see what I use above; if it's been in the freezer, put it in the fridge the night before)
  • 1 batch pesto, made with kale and walnuts (you will likely not use all the pesto on the pizza; if you use store-bought, it will have a lot more oil so you will want to use less)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 10 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 links chicken sausage (we like all varities that Trader Joe's makes), sliced 
  • 2 cups kale leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • salt + pepper
  • about 4 oz. mozzarella, shredded
  • Parmesan cheese
  • red pepper flakes (optional)


1)  Take the ball of pizza dough out of the fridge and let it rest on the counter for a couple of hours to come to room temperature.  

2) Preheat oven to 450˚ F.  Once the ball of pizza dough is room temperature, shape it into the correct shape for your pan of choice.  I prefer a 14 inch round pizza pan.   I use a rolling pin and my hands (lifting up the dough) to help it into the right shape.  Transfer to your pan of choice coated with cooking spray and let sit while the oven is preheating.  Once the oven has preheated, put the pizza crust in the oven for 5 minutes to pre-bake the crust.  (Note:  if you are using a pizza stone, make sure the oven has been preheated for at least 30 minutes before putting in the pizza.  You do NOT need to pre-bake the crust if using a pizza stone.)

3)  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms, red bell pepper, and sausage to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and mushrooms have released moisture (about 8 minutes).  Add the kale to the pan and cook, continuing to stir occasionally, until all the kale is wilted.   Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

4)  To make the pizza, spread a thick layer of pesto over the pizza crust.  Top with the cooked veggies and sausage.  Sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese (a light layer is fine) and Parmesan cheese.

5)  Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, until the cheese and crust has some light brown spots.

6) Transfer to a wire cooling rack for a few minutes (to help make sure the crust doesn't get soggy).  Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if desired.   Cut into pieces and serve!   

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