Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

You may have noticed that we don't give very specific quantities of toppings in our pizza recipes. That's because we have found that the measurements listed in many pizza recipes aren't actually helpful. We can understand a pound of sausage or four ounces of cheese, but what does one bell pepper mean anyway? Or three leeks?! Vegetables grow in so many shapes and sizes it seems silly to try to quantify how many you might need. Plus, to a large extent, the proportion of toppings is determined by each person's taste buds, and should therefore be adapted as you like.

We DO recommend not overloading on toppings, however, because if the crust gets too full it is much harder to move around and much more likely to get soggy. We also advocate a low-cheese, high-veggie, meat-as-flavor-accessory approach to pizza-making, which produces a much healthier pizza.

All of that to introduce this standard but always delicious pizza that has just a few basic ingredients (with some added tips and explanations).
  1. The crust, of course.
  2. Thin spread of strained tomatoes. Pomi is my preferred brand, since it comes in BPA-free cardboard containers, avoids the flat flavor of canned tomatoes and contains only tomatoes and nothing else (no salt!). It is soooo worth the extra price.
  3. Sprinkle of Italian herbs and seasonings. I usually like to apply my own combination of dried basil, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder and freshly ground black pepper, but sometimes I use a decent spice blend like Mrs. Dash's Italian Medley instead. If you take my advice and use Pomi tomatoes, you won't need to add any salt or sugar, but if you skimp and buy some cheap canned variety, you might want to add some of each to taste.
  4. Grated mozzarella
  5. Sliced baby bella (a.k.a. crimini) mushrooms
  6. Sausage, removed from the casings and browned. It's also definitely worth paying extra for really good sausage. We have the good fortune to shop regularly in Philadelphia's Italian Market, and we LOVE Fiorella's sweet Italian sausage with fennel. (I also love their antique cash register... )
  7. Since ML is addicted to spicy food, we often add chopped cherry peppers to at least part of the pizza, but that's entirely optional.
After baking it all in the oven until the cheese is melted and the crust edges are golden brown, we drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle it with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Shoot, now I'm hungry all over again.

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