Mushroom & Sausage Pizza

It was a very warm day on the coast when I decided to begin making a pizza. There wasn't a single cloud in the sky and the humidity was sending my hair into a frizzy oblivion. Spending a couple of hours by a hot oven seemed like the natural choice and I was really craving something cheesy.

Dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1  cup warm water
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin oil
  • 1 28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • Pinch dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Topping

  • 1 small red onion, sliced however you want
  • 1 -2 mushrooms (I used portobello), sliced however you want
  • Fully cooked summer sausage, pepperoni, or salami
  • Generous heap of mozzarella cheese
  • Handful of parmesan cheese

Mix all of the dry dough ingredients in a bowl thoroughly. 

Then take a cup of warm water, add in the yeast, stir it until it dissolves COMPLETELY and let it sit for 10 minutes. Please be patient. I've been known to pour the yeast into the dough before it's ready, but if you wait, you'll be left with an incredible, lively dough. So set that timer and don't touch until it goes off.

It should come together quite easily after the ingredients are incorporated.

Lightly flour a clean surface and knead the dough 5-8 times.

Form it into a pillow of luxury.

Drop it ever so carefully into an olive-oiled bowl, cover with saran wrap, tightly. Put it somewhere warm and let it rise for about 30 minutes (it should double in size).

While the dough rises, begin the sauce. Start by pouring the tomatoes into a medium bowl.

In order to break up the whole tomatoes, it really works best to get your hands dirty. Nothing squashes a tomato quite like your bare fist.

Then, throw the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and let the tomatoes follow (watch for wild tomato splashing).

Next, we need a bit of salt. My Kosher salt was a bit too large-grained, so I had to send it into the mortar for a minute.

Pop in the rest of the sauce ingredients and give it a stir.

Let it cook down, stirring occasionally, until it's thickened to your desired consistency, approximately 30-40 minutes.

Once it's done, give it a ride in the sieve. Since there are seeds which you don't want on your glorious creation, this will eliminate all of them. It may take a little elbow grease, but it's worth it.

By now it's been about 30 minutes, so take a peek at your dough. It should have doubled in size. Pull back the saran wrap and punch it down. Yes, take your fist and gently punch down the center of the dough.

In the bowl, knead the dough five times, and resume rising. Let it sit somewhere warm, once again, for another 30 minutes.

It's topping time. I decided that onion and mushroom would make for a nice addition to the pizza, but it's entirely up to you. The principles are the same. Chop, sizzle, and top.

I initially began by just dropping some olive oil in the pan before the veggies, but then I thought, those toppings sure look lonely without a golden nugget of butter.

Don't they look so much happier now?

Cook until they're tender.

After the second rising, using only your hands (no rolling pin necessary), stretch the dough to fit your oiled pan or pizza stone. 

Fix any thin spots with excess dough from the edges. It absolutely does not need to look pretty (Exhibit A below) because you'll be covering it up and no one will ever know.

Spread that velvety sauce that you slaved over in the kitchen for hours (wink).

Evenly distribute the vegetables.

On top of that, lay the sausage (or don't if you'd rather keep it vegetarian). I found some delicious local summer sausage at the farmer's market that morning and it really made a difference.

And for the piece de resistance, take fistfuls of cheese and cover the entire pizza.

Bake this beauty at 400f for 15-20 minutes. Make sure to check on it after 10 minutes, just to make sure everything is in order and also so you can get an early glimpse at what will soon be in your mouth.

Do let it cool a bit before cutting into it....just kidding! Dive right in, but it might burn your mouth and make a saucy, cheesy mess, so keep that in mind.

Hope you enjoy! Let me know if you have any pizza ideas. I always love to experiment.