Perfect Sausage Pizza
I know that some version of sausage pizza goes back to ancient Rome but it's still one of the basic pleasures of life, so I set out to study and perfect it.
I followed this basic scheme: browned crumbled sausage on the pizza shell, then a layer of cheese and finally some tomatoes and herbs on top.
Of course the ingredients have to be the best: homemade dough, fresh Italian sweet sausage, real Mozzarella di Bufala made from water buffalo milk and a good aged Parmeggiano Reggiano. The baby pear tomatoes aren't always available but these days grape tomatoes are, and they are almost as sweet.
1 pizza shell (see Pizza Basics for recipe, procedure, equipment)
2 links sweet Italian sausage
10 baby pear tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 C Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese, shredded
6 oz fresh Mozzarella di Bufala, sliced thin
minced fresh basil or oregano
salt to taste
Roll or stretch the dough into a pizza shell and set it out to rise
for 30 minutes. Roast the tomatoes, cut side up, with a little olive
oil for 20 minutes at 350º (I do this in a toaster oven). Season tomatoes to taste.
Sauté the sausage, cutting it up into small pieces as it cooks, until just starting to brown. Drain. When the dough has completed its rising, spread about 2 T of olive oil on the dough surface and scatter on the sausage pieces. Bake 10 minutes on a stone in preheated 450º oven. Scatter on shredded cheese, then lay on the mozzarella slices. Place the tomatoes, cut sides up, around the surface of the pizza. Bake about 8 more minutes at 400º, until the crust is brown and the cheese well melted. Scatter on the minced herbs, brush the crust edges with a scant amount of olive oil, slice and serve immediately.