Thursday, May 19, 2005

White Pizza with Sweet Italian Sausage

White Pizza with Sweet Italian Sausage (Adapted from Food and Wine)

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 ounces (3/4 pound) sweet Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup ricotta
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons chives, divided
salt and fresh ground black pepper
cornmeal, for dusting
12 or 16 ounces prepared whole-wheat pizza dough (I used our favorite recipe)
1/2 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) fresh grated Asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with a pizza stone placed on the lowest rack.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Slightly flatten the sausage meat - place sausage into the skillet and cook until completely cooked through and both sides have browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage meat to paper towel-lined plate and let cool slightly. Crumble meat into bite-sized pieces. In a medium bowl, add half of the mozzarella and sausage, tossing to combine.

In another medium bowl, stir together ricotta, 1 tablespoon parsley and 1 tablespoon chives - season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle enough cornmeal to lightly cover a pizza peel. Stretch and roll out dough to a rough 12" to 13" circle and transfer to the cornmeal-dusted peel. Slide the crust onto the stone and cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and place the crust onto a wire rack.

Dollop ricotta mixture all over the top of the crust, leaving a 1" border around the edge. Brush border with remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. Using an off-set spatula, spread ricotta evenly to cover the top. Scatter cheese and sausage over the ricotta. Top with the remaining mozzarella and Asiago.

Slide crust back onto the stone and bake until the cheese has melted and the crust is crisp, about 8 to 12 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly. Scatter with remaining 1/2 tablespoon of parsley and chives to serve.

Makes about 4 servings.

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