To get a jump on the Sausage and Red Pepper Pizza I made for dinner tonight, I filled up the food processor with the pantry ingredients to make our favorite whole-wheat pizza dough and set it off to rise while I got the laundry taken care of. Too bad I didn't come up with a more complicated pizza so I would have been too busy to deal with that!
To cut down on the grease factor, I used turkey sausage, hot Italian-style, and tossed the meat into a skillet, with a bunch of cubes from a red pepper to cook. This is the time you'll want to break down the sausage as it cooks into crumbles, however don't smooth it around too much - leave it on the chunkier side (about the size of a large marble) so you get bigger, meaty bites on your pizza. The sausage is nice as-is, but a minute or so before it was browned and cooked through, I scattered over cracked fennel seeds as I find I like a more poignant anise flavor to pair with the seasonings already inside.
Since I didn't want the sausage to cook much more, and we wanted a crispy thin crust, I went ahead and gave the stretched out round a quick pre-bake on the stone before continuing on. When you remove the crust, flip it over and add the toppings to the side that had is already slightly golden because of the contact with the baking stone - this helps protect that area from getting over-browned. A smear of pizza sauce, followed by a portion of the shredded mozzarella went on top, along with the sausage nuggets and red peppers. We rained down with more shreds of mozzarella over the top since extra cheese is always good idea.
Since the dough had already gotten a start, the pizza was ready in about ten short minutes when the crust had finished turning golden and the cheese melted on top. If you like an onion-y bite to your pizza, add rings of red onion on after you scatter the chunky bits of sausage and under the safety net of the cheese. With nothing complicated or fussy about homemade pizza and results much better than you'd get from the store (and not to mention better for you!), I hope we are inspiring others to settle into at least a night of pizza making at home each week!
Sausage and Red Pepper Pizza