Friday, October 10, 2008
Heartwarming Pizza with Italian Sausage
Red Onions and Mushrooms
The weather is turning colder where we live which has inspired me to work on a number of hearty, filling suppers including stew, baked potatoes, roasts and casseroles. Above all though, we seem to be on a pizza kick at our house – enraptured by crispy thick crust pizza topped with flowing cheese, lots of veggies and even various meats. Pizza turns out to be the perfect way to lure my children into eating organic vegetables and protein... and since it is such a simple, fast meal to create, I highly recommend homemade pizza for gluten free families everywhere!
This week’s creation involves mushrooms, red onions, hot Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella cheese and an optional handful of sun dried tomatoes. I can imagine that it would be just as good if you added some sautéd asparagus too!
We hope that your family is keeping warm and well-fed now that Fall has begun, and that you will be as comforted by this tasty pizza as we were last night.
Heartwarming Pizza with Italian Sausage, Red Onions and Mushrooms
What You’ll Need:
4 – 6 Seven inch Kinnikinnick Frozen Pizza Crusts
15 oz can or jar of gluten free marinara sauce (or tomato sauce)
2 large hot Italian sausage links
1 medium size red onion, sliced into thin rounds
8 oz Crimini mushrooms, sliced or quartered according to preference
Parmesan cheese for grating (a few oz)
Fresh mozzarella cheese (approx 8 oz)
Crushed red pepper
2 -3 sprigs of rosemary
Fresh ground black pepper
Optional: a handful of finely chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil
How It Works:
I am a big believer that getting your prep out of the way first makes cooking a lot simpler. So, after you preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and grease two baking sheets with butter, start working on getting your meats and vegetables ready. One side note is that within your oven you should place racks in the top and bottom thirds of your oven before you start the preheating process.
Pour a nice sized glug of olive oil into a heavy frying pan and heat it to medium. Add the sausage (casings removed) and break into small bits with your stirring spoon. You want to brown it well, but not burned. When it is finished, set the meat aside and use the pan for your onions and mushrooms.
The onions should be sliced into thin rounds which do break apart nicely. Saute them in the sausage drippings and olive oil for a few minutes until they are browned (caramelized) but not crispy.
Remove the onions from the pan, set aside, and then add the mushrooms and a bit more olive oil. Saute the mushrooms well, stirring frequently, until they are soft and their flesh has darkened.
If you are using the optional sun dried tomatoes, now is the time to drain them of their olive oil and chop them up. Slice up your fresh mozzarella cheese into thin strips (or crumble it up with your hands – whatever works best for you.)
Once all of your ingredients are prepared, putting the pizzas together is fast and easy. First, place four to six Kinnikinnick pizza crusts on top of the buttered baking trays.
Next, grate fresh parmesan cheese onto the tops of each of them. Sprinkle them lightly with fresh ground black pepper and sea salt, and dust them a bit more heavily with crushed red pepper flakes.
Spoon a bit of marinara sauce into the center of each crust and smooth it gently over the spice mix. Top it with thin slices of fresh mozzarella, then the crumbled sausage, next the sautéd onions and last but not least, the sautéd mushrooms. If you are using sun dried tomatoes, add them to the mix between the sausage and onion layers. Top the whole thing with a sprinkling of fresh rosemary leaves (removed from sprigs) and grate more fresh Parmesan cheese over the top of your lovely pizzas.
After admiring your handiwork, place one tray of pizzas on the top rack of your oven and the other on the bottom rack. Cook each tray for 5 – 8 minutes (check to make sure it isn’t burning) and then switch trays from one rack to the other. Finished pizzas should be crispy on all sides (but not burnt) with lovely melted mozzarella cheese bubbling in the center.
Remove and serve promptly!
Serves 4 – 6.