Sausage, Roasted Red Pepper & Zucchini Pizza(s)

Have your pie… and eat it too!!
Trying to eat more healthful shouldn’t have to include torturing yourself, by denying foods you enjoy. Especially the ones you really enjoy~ 
Take pizza. From it’s humble beginnings in Naples, Italy to a favourite the world over… there’s a good reason it’s oh-so-popular. It’s good eats. Damn good eats. Versatile, delicious, portable… and with an infinite variety of ways to make it, from the bottom up.

With some simple tips and know how, we can enjoy eating pizza – but like everything else, do so in moderation~
  • Best Tips for the Base: make the crust thin. You don’t really need all that dough. Besides, it’s just a vehicle to hold the toppings. And sub in some whole wheat flour, if you care to.
  • Next Best Tip: use less cheese.. and make it part-skim, if you can. You won’t notice the difference AND it’ll really make the taste of the other toppings shine.
  • Last Best Tip: Go easy on the meat, especially pepperoni. In fact, make your pizza a half & half… put a bit on meat on one half only, and use veg on the other. Peppers, mushrooms, eggplant… they’ll all work. Just slice them thinly and cook them ahead. This also makes it an easy fix for anyone in your house that doesn’t eat or care much for meat~

A stand mixer will make easy work of the dough, if you have one. If not, make it by hand… or… really do a cheat and buy ready made dough, from the grocery store. Just remember to roll it out thinly!

When you make pizza dough, always make extra to freeze for another time. In fact, you can do most of the prep ahead, including cooking the sausage meat and zucchini, and roasting the peppers. With all this in the fridge, putting together a delicious home-made pizza is a snap.

Give it a try… you have nothing to lose, except the unnecessary fat and calories. Plus, you can keep eating one of the world’s most popular foods~

Sausage, Roasted Pepper & Zucchini Pizza(s)

I used to say that whole wheat flour had no business being under pizza – then I found this recipe from Nadia G. The combination of flours just works! Doing the pizza toppings as a half and half really does give you two pies – how awesome is that! This recipe should make enough dough for 2x 12 inch thin crust pies.

For the dough:
1 tsp yeast
10 ounces warm water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon raw sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (sub in 1 cup whole wheat flour here)
more flour for kneading & rolling out

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, mix the yeast with the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and sugar and whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the all purpose and whole wheat flours. Make a hole in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture. Slowly hand mix the flour until all the liquid is absorbed. If too wet, add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Sprinkle a clean work station with flour and knead the dough until smooth and elastic, anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes.

Coat a large bowl with a teaspoon of the remaining olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and flip over to coat in the oil. Cover the top with plastic wrap and then with a dish towel. Let rise until the dough has doubled in size, 2 hours. Punch down the dough and let rise for another hour.

For the toppings:

1 red bell pepper, roasted and cut into thin strips (you’ll need only about half)
small zucchini, sliced very thinly with a mandolin or sharp knife
1 sweet Italian pork sausage, removed from the casing and crumbled
1/4 cup, approx, tomato sauce or passata
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt & fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup, approx. grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

Crumble the sausage and fry in some olive oil until crispy, set aside. Pan fry the thinly sliced zucchini, just until starting to colour and set aside. Cut the red pepper strips into small pieces.

Preheat your oven to 475º

Grease the pizza pan or baking sheet with some olive oil. Either roll out the dough or press into desired shape – round, rectangle etc, using your fingers. If it gets too springy  – let it rest for a few minutes, then resume.

Top with a thin layer of tomato sauce/passata – season now with salt, pepper & oregano, if you’ve not already done so. On half the pizza, sprinkle some sausage, red pepper and some cheese. On the other half, layer the zucchini and another sprinkle of cheese. Do not go heavy on the toppings if the crust is rolled out thinly – you’d be surprised how little cheese is needed and at how many Italian pies are actually made without it~