Friday, July 17, 2009

Cheesy Pizza with Chicken Sausage

Where did summer go again? Not that I'm complaining or anything, but it is kind of crazy that we are in the middle of July and the high today barely reached 60 degrees... the chill in the air was refreshing, but dang! At least I didn't have to worry about heating up the house by making this Three-Cheese Pizza with Chicken Sausage for our Friday Night Pizza!

Chicken sausages come in an array of different flavors and I don't think you could go wrong with any of them in the pizza - we used a spicy variety that was studded with sun-dried tomatoes. Just to deepen their flavor, we did grill them off first in a grill pan to heat them through and give them a caramelized finish.

While those were cooking and cooling, I put my my fingers to work by stretching and pulling our favorite whole-wheat pizza dough into a large, rough circle. Use a rolling pin if you wish, but one of the reasons I love this dough so much is because of how malleable it is to work with - we can even get it quite thin when we want without it tearing into a mess of holes. Enriching the dough with a hint of garlic, and also helping it gain a sharp golden color, and we gave the round a good rubdown with garlic oil just before we slid it onto a heated pizza stone for a quick head start to the crust.

Once the bottom began to turn a light color, I swept it off the stone and turned it uncooked side down onto a rack. Turning it over like this allowed me to brush the once-bottom of the crust with a bit more garlic oil (bonus flavor!), and will also eventually give both sides contact with the stone for the best crispness. Smearing a healthy amount of sauce on top gave us a base to start sprinkling on a blend of aged provolone and shredded mozzarella cheeses. When those sausages had cooled down enough handle, we gave each a quick link a quick run through with a knife, on the diagonal, leaving us with slick sausage "coins" to layer over the pizza. More of those two cheese went on top, adding to the gooey cheese factor, along with nuggets of feta for its mild, yet salty edge.

Before going back into the oven, a smattering of dried oregano seasoned the top of the pizza, lending its warm, aromatic note to each upcoming slice. Since the crust had already been jump-started, don't stray too far from the oven - it won't take long to melt those shreds of cheese together! If you're a grill fan, you could certainly do this entirely on it too if you prefer - from cooking the sausages, pre-cooking the crust and finishing it off in one swift movement (just be sure to move it to a cooler section of the grill so the crust doesn't get too charred). If you've never tried pizza on the grill, it is definitely worth giving it a go, especially when you want to impress your guests or it is just too warm to turn on the stove (not that we've had that problem lately!).


  1. Well, I am an idiot. Why didn't I think of "jump starting" the pizza dough on the stone, taking it out and turning it upside down then putting the toppings on. You are a genius!

  2. Oh my God, what a beautiful pizza!

  3. Debbie - It is a good trick!

    Michelle - Thanks!

    Sasha - Thank you.