Mar 182011
 
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 Are any of you making your own pizza? Once I got my technique down, I find it easy to do. I make it healthier then the stuff I order. I can tailor each pizza to every one’s individual tastes and most importantly, I save sooo much money.

I typically make pizza when Gabriel has a friend over. I figure that a six year old will usually enjoy pizza that he can put all the toppings on himself versus the cassoulet or some other funky dish I have made. Gabriel is used to this, but most of his friends are not. He does have one friend, Paddy, that will try anything with gusto that I put in front of him. He then declares if he likes it or it is not really his style. He wins my heart every time. Gabriel can make his with his soy cheese and is just like his friend. I can not tell you how many “pizza parties” Gabe can not participate in because of his allergy to dairy. We are good at finding solutions, but I tell on his face it bugs him a little every time.

I am blessed to have a great local source for such a beautiful product. Sheep’s milk ricotta. It is the same source that I get pecorino romano(which is made from sheep’s milk as well). I came up with this pizza because it is the perfect way to show off these amazing ingredients. Every bite of this pizza is perfectly balanced. Feel free to buy ricotta at the grocery store for this, but make sure it is whole milk ricotta. It tastes so much better then the low fat or fat free versions. They are horrible tasting. Matter of fact, they are worse then horrible. Just don’t do it. You could also use Parmesan cheese instead of the romano. I have made my own pizza dough, but have also used Trader Joe’s brand of fresh dough.  Which ever works for you.

Serves 5
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage, mild or hot
  • 1 cup sheep’s milk ricotta
  • 1 cup pecorino romano, finely grated
  • 3 gloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 pound pizza dough, traditional or whole wheat
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces baby arugula, washed
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • anchovy fillets, optional

  1. Put pizza stone on the middle rack of oven. Preheat oven to 500F.
  2. Remove sausage from casing and brown crumbles until cooked through. Drain on paper towel. Note: I like to have the mild sausage when I am having the more traditional crust. Everything is light and airy. When I chose the whole wheat crust, I like the hot sausage with it for more of a rustic taste. Your call. I like both.
  3. In a bowl, mix ricotta, pecorino romano, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. I place the cup of cornmeal at the top of my work surface, so I can add it to my work surface easily. Divide dough into five equal parts. Generously flour work surface with cornmeal and roll out dough, rolling the cornmeal into the dough as you make it super thin. I go for a sorta circular shape and call it rustic. I can never seem to be able to make it circular, so rustic it is.
  5. On a upside down baking sheet, I place more cornmeal, then place on the rolled out dough. Now I start assembling. Ricotta mixture spread out over dough, then sausage crumbles and finish with a drizzle of olive oil on top.
  6. With the help of a spatula to guide you, your assembled dough should just slide right onto the stone in the oven. It takes about 3-5 minutes. I always look for that bottom of my pizza to be crispy and golden. I also like it when it gets a few brown edges. Pull it out when it looks just right to you.
  7. As the pizza is cooling a bit, (Okay, how many times have you gotten a upper mouth burn from trying to eat your pizza too soon?) mix your arugula with a squeeze of lemon, drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to your taste in a small bowl. Toss together and place on top of pizza.
  8. I enjoy putting an anchovy fillet on the top, but I am rare in my group of friends. Now my siblings would all ask for the anchovy… enjoy.

My friend, Elizabeth, is a fabulous cook and food blogger. She makes pizza for her husband, Larry, every Friday night. What a simple, comforting way to spend the evening. I hope to someday join them out in San Diego on one of their Friday nights. Meanwhile, I am starting my own traditions.

Pull up a chair, Elizabeth