Adventures in Eating: Pizza with Sausage & Peppers

On my last trip to Williams Sonoma (I needed a few new wooden spoons… so I told my husband), I bought a pizza stone. It’s a large round slab of magical ceramic. When I asked my hus­band to carry the bag for me, he slyly commented, “I never knew wooden spoons could be so heavy!” When I told him about my latest culinary purchase, he balked, “Come on! You’re telling me that this thing is going to make a better pizza?” I explained that the stone cooks the crust in a way that makes the outside crisp, and the inside chewy. He laughed at me, and the subject was dropped. A few weeks later I made my usual pizza dough (a recipe I got from the L.A. Times and doesn’t require any rising time!), and topped it with mozzarella cheese, green pep­pers and hot Italian sausage. As the pizza bubbled on top of the stone, my husband commented on how wonderful dinner smelled. Slicing it, I noticed how crisp the crust was. His words were, “This is the best pizza you’ve ever made.” When I reminded him of the superfluous stone, he smiled and said, “You were right!”

Pizza with Sausage and Peppers

2 tsp.   olive oil

2 tsp.   cornmeal

1 pkg.  dry yeast

1 tsp.   sugar

1/2 cup + 2 Tblsp. warm water

1 1/2 cups + 2 Tblsp. flour

3/4 tsp. salt

1 cup your favorite tomato sauce

2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

1 small green pepper, slivered

4-5 hot Italian sausage links

(Directions for this recipe do not require a pizza stone. However, if you use one, baking time is the same). Rub 1 tsp. olive oil over a 12-14 inch pizza pan. Sprinkle pan with cornmeal. Stir yeast and sug­ar into warm water and let stand until foamy. Combine flour, salt and 1 tsp. olive oil in food proces­sor fitted with metal blade. Turn on machine and pour yeast mixture through feed tube. Process dough until uniformly supple and elastic, about 40 seconds (if dough sticks, add more flour via feed tube). On a heavily floured board roll dough immediately into a 14 inch circle. Add flour to board as necessary. Place dough on prepared pan and spread sauce over dough. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Top with green peppers. Squeeze sausage out of casing into heaping tsp. size balls all over pizza. Bake in a preheated 425° oven for 15-18 minutes

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