You ever notice how you can make something 20 or 30 times, the same exact way, and yet it turns out differently from time to time? This happens to me frequently. I've made a lot of pizzas. They always turn out good. Then I made this pizza, the same way I always do, and it turned out extra fabulous!
Beautiful golden-brown crust rising up perfectly around the edges with lots of bubbles (I love bubbles on pizza crust), cheese perfectly melted, just the right amount of toppings, and a little bit of oil on top (some people like to blot that oil on top, not me - that's good flavor right there).
I was marveling at the pizza as I pulled it out of the oven. How in the world did the pizza turn out so well? I'll confess: I didn't even want to make the pizza so it definitely was not made with love. I also used the same ingredients as I usually do. So, what gives?
While I'm not sure why it turned out so well I can only hope that I can get the same results again because this pizza was INSANELY DELICIOUS! Golden brown pizza crust with my favorite Rao's sauce, spicy Italian sausage, broccoli, melty mozzarella, nutty Parmesan, topped off with red pepper flakes, fresh torn basil, and marinated garlic and olives. There's just a little bit of everything going on here. It's pizza perfection. The perfect treat for enjoying while we trim the Christmas tree.
Sausage and Broccoli Pizza
Adapted from Food Network
by Giada De Laurentiis
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt, to taste
One 28-ounce can tomato paste*
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed*
1 bunch broccoli, cut into bite-size florets (about 3 cups)
3 tablespoons flour
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
1 cup Parmesan
red pepper flakes, to taste
Optional: Marinated olives and garlic, for topping*
Notes: I only used about 1/2 to 1/3 pound of sausage. This recipe calls for making a homemade pizza sauce. I love Rao's pizza sauce so I used that. I also added marinated black and green olives and marinated garlic from the olive bar at my local Whole Foods.
In a medium bowl, combine the basil, 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the salt and tomato puree. Stir together until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to allow flavors to marry. (Or, alternatively, buy your favorite jarred pizza sauce - I used Rao's and I love it. My all-time favorite).
Preheat the oven to 500F. Place a rack on the highest level and also on the lowest level (you will be switching starting the pizza on the bottom rack and moving to the upper rack).
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the sausage and cook, breaking apart with a wooden spoon to form bite-size pieces, until golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli to the pan and stir to mix with the sausage. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Dust an upside-down rimmed baking sheet with the flour. Gently stretch the pizza dough and place it on the dusted tray. Continue to stretch out to 1/4" thick, leaving it a little thicker around the edges. Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the dough and top with the sausage and broccoli. Spread the sausage and broccoli around evenly and top with torn pieces of mozzarella, filling in the holes and distributing evenly. Then top with the Parmesan. If using the marinated garlic, as I did, scatter it over the pizza. Add a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, if you wish.
Place the into the oven on the bottom rack first. You really want to cook the bottom of the pizza first. Bake for about 5-6 minutes. Then switch the pizza to the upper rack and cook for about 5 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Top the pizza with more Parmesan, torn basil, and marinated olives, if you wish. The olives really brighten up the dish and lend a fresh zingy flavor.
|Tree Trimming Treats @ IHCC|