Squash, sausage, and mozarella pizza

May 15, 2010 § 5 Comments

Fresh pizza? Yes please! Pizza dough made from scratch is extremely simple. Make up a batch like I did, and have enough pizza dough for two large pizzas with different toppings. For this first pizza, I decided to use up leftover acorn squash from this quinoa pilaf/salad I posted about back in, um, April. (Never let anyone tell you that graduate school doesn’t have a way of sucking up all your time better than a Dyson vacuum.)

Anyways, pizza has a way of elevating humble  ingredients, or even leftovers, into something unbelievably better than the sum of its parts: a lone chicken sausage with sun-dried tomatoes, half of a cooked acorn squash, fresh mozarella, fresh basil, and for those who love spicy food, crushed red pepper. Sounds weird, tastes incredible!

So, let’s begin. I recommend making the dough at least one day before you want to make pizza, because then the crust has more flavor, but you can certainly make the dough at least an hour or so before assembling.

First, in a large-ish bowl mix together one teaspoon active yeast

and one and a half cups warm water. Let sit while mixing together the rest of the dough ingredients. By the way, you should be able to smell a yeast-y smell and see bubbles as the yeast does its thing. If you don’t smell or see either, your yeast is most likely, well, dead, and you’ll need to get some more. You can keep yeast longer by storing it in a cool, dry place. I keep a small jar in my fridge, which I occasionally refill from the larger bag I keep in the freezer.

In a large pot (I ended up using a stew pot), drop in one teaspoon of kosher salt.

To that add four cups of all-purpose flour.

Then, measure out 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil.

Drizzle it in!

Then, mix in the yeast/water mixture.

It will quickly form a ball of dough.

Take out your new ball and wrap it loosely in plastic wrap or a damp tea towel…

and place in a sealable plastic bag or bowl with a lid, and let rise in the refrigerator for at least a day if you can manage it (the original recipe suggests three to four days, but I didn’t have that kind of patience!), or one to two hours in a warm spot.

Now, when it’s time to make pizza, split the dough in half. You can either put the rest of the dough back in the refrigerator or make a second pizza right now. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Drizzle one or two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil onto a pizza stone (ha! like I own one of those), or a baking sheet. Smear the oil around and stretch out the dough, spreading some of the olive oil onto the pizza dough. Note that you can preheat the baking stone/baking sheet but the crust comes out great without doing these things. Be cautious of burning oneself on the stone if opting for the preheat method.

Lay the stretched-out dough on the baking pan/pizza stone

and sprinkle with a half teaspoon of kosher salt.

Then, sprinkle over some grated Parmesan. You can even use the canned stuff if you want – I did too!

Now, dab over the bits of acorn squash (pre-cooked: see this quinoa recipe for squash-roasting details).

Then, slice up a sausage (again, pre-cooked either from the package or cooked yourself per package directions) and place that on top. I used a chicken-sun-dried-tomato sausage that came pre-cooked. I forget the brand name but I know Aidell’s makes good sausages that can be purchased at, I believe, Costco. This one came from Meijer and was also quite good.

Then, tear over four ounces of fresh mozarella – I promise fresh is worth it instead of the pre-shredded stuff. You can find it in the deli section of the grocery store.

Bake in the oven for fifteen to seventeen minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the sausages and crust are a bit browned.

Tear over some fresh basil leaves – probably five to six leaves. Since I grow my own basil, I didn’t measure before tearing the leaves.

Crack over some sea salt and some pepper, and if you are feeling brave…

top with some dried red pepper flakes if you like spicy food. Serve hot and enjoy!

Pizza dough

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Dough recipe makes enough for two pizzas

Ingredients

  • One teaspoon active dry yeast
  • One and a half cups warm water
  • One teaspoon kosher salt
  • Four cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil

1. In a bowl, mix together yeast and warm water. Let sit while putting together rest of dough ingredients.

2. In a large bowl, mix together salt and flour. Drizzle in olive oil. Pour in yeast and water mixture and stir, just until a large ball of dough forms.

3. Wrap dough in a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and place in a sealable plastic bag or a large bowl with a lid.

4. Let dough rise one to two hours in a warm spot, or refrigerate, covered as in step 3, for up to four days.

Squash, sausage, and mozarella pizza

Serves four as a light meal

Ingredients

  • Half of the pizza dough, see above
  • One to two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Half teaspoon of kosher salt
  • Three tablespoons or so of grated Parmesan
  • Two to three cups of cooked acorn squash
  • Four ounces of fresh mozarella
  • One pre-cooked chicken-sun-dried-tomato sausage, sliced
  • Five to six large basil leaves, torn
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dried red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheat baking sheet or pizza stone, if desired, though it is not necessary.

2. Remove baking sheet/baking stone from oven, if opting to preheat it. Drizzle baking sheet or pizza stone with one to two tablespoons of olive oil. Stretch out half of the dough from the recipe above, making sure to coat the pizza dough with a bit of the olive oil. Be careful when working with the preheated sheet or stone.

3. Lay stretched dough on the stone/baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt and grated Parmesan

4. Dab pieces of acorn squash on top of the dough. Top with torn pieces of mozarella and sausage slices.

5. Bake pizza until cheese is melted and sausage and crust are slightly browned, approximately fifteen to seventeen minutes.

6. Top with torn basil and salt and pepper. For spiciness, top with optional dried red pepper flakes. Serve hot.

Bibliography

Drummond, Ree. “Basic Pizza Crust.” Tasty Kitchen. 15 Mar. 2010. 15 May 2010 <http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/main-courses/basic-pizza-crust/&gt;.

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