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Sausage & Sweet Pepper Pizza

Updated February 23, 2016
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This image courtesy of ChristopherHirsheimer.Cookstr.com

Little Italy’s favorite street sandwich—Italian sausage and peppers—comes to life on top of this crispy, smoky pizza crust. This way you get more toppings and less bread. Now that’s amore!

Adventure Club: Use piquillo peppers from Spain, small, tangy fire-roasted peppers native to the rural village of Lodosa in Navarra.

Drink This: Pick up a six-pack of “Peroni” or any other Italian beer.

Master Instructions: The Gas Grill Method

Preheat the grill by setting all the burners on high. After lighting, close the lid and leave on high for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat of all the burners to medium.

Meanwhile, sprinkle your work surface with the grits or polenta. Place the dough in the middle of the surface. You can either roll out the dough with a rolling pin, stretch it out with your hands, or press it out from the center against the work surface. Ideally, you want a 12-inch, organically shaped piece of dough-round, square, or rectangular-1/8 to ¼ inch thick (err on the thinner side for thin-crust pizza and on the thicker side for thick-crust pizza). Drizzle or brush both sides generously with oil. Our recipes call for 2 tablespoons, but we tend to use more oil when making our own pizzas, which results in a thinner and crispier crust.

Pick up the dough by the two corners closest to you. In one motion, lay it down flat on the cooking grate from back to front (as you would set a tablecloth down on a table). Close the lid and grill for 3 minutes (no peeking!), then check the crust and, if necessary, continue grilling a few more minutes until the bottom is well marked and nicely browned.

Use tongs to transfer the crust from the grill to a peel or rimless baking sheet. Close the lid of the grill. Flip the crust to reveal the grilled side. Follow the specific recipe directions for adding any sauce, toppings, and/or cheese.

Switch the grill to indirect heat by turning off the center burner(s) if you have a three- or four-burner grill. For a two-burner grill, turn off one burner. Set the pizza back on the grate over indirect heat (the unlit section) and grill, with the lid down, until the bottom is well browned and the cheese is melted, 7 to 10 minutes. For two-burner grills, rotate the pizza halfway through the cooking time.

Remove from the grill, garnish, and season as directed. Slice and serve immediately.

Master Instructions: The Charcoal Grill Method

Build a fire by lighting 50 to 60 charcoal briquettes in either a chimney starter or in a pyramid-shaped mound on the bottom grate of your grill. Once the briquettes have become gray-ashed (20 to 30 minutes), move them all to one side of the grill.

Meanwhile, sprinkle your work surface with the grits or polenta. Place the dough in the middle of the surface. You can either roll out the dough with a rolling pin, stretch it out with your hands, or press it out from the center against the work surface. Ideally, you want a 12-inch by 6-inch, organically shaped piece of dough-a rectangle-1/8 to ¼ inch thick (err on the thinner side for thin-crust pizza and on the thicker side for thick-crust pizza). Drizzle or brush both sides generously with oil. Our recipes call for 2 tablespoons, but we tend to use more oil when making our own pizzas, which results in a thinner and crispier crust.

Pick up the dough by the two corners closest to you. In one motion, lay it down flat-over the side without briquettes-on the cooking grate from back to front (as you would set a tablecloth down on a table). Close the lid and grill for 3 minutes (no peeking!), then rotate the crust 180 degrees and continue grilling until the bottom is well marked and evenly browned, another 2 to 3 minutes.

Use tongs to transfer the crust from the grill to a peel or rimless baking sheet. Close the lid of the grill. Flip the crust to reveal the grilled side. Follow the specific recipe directions for adding any sauce, toppings, and/or cheese.

Set the pizza back on the grate over the side without briquettes and grill, with the lid down, for 4 to 5 minutes. Rotate the pizza 180 degrees and continue to grill with the lid down until the bottom is well browned and cheese is melted, another 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from the grill, garnish, and season as directed. Slice and serve immediately.

Serves2 to 4

Cooking Methodgrilling

CostModerate

Moderate

Total Timeunder 2 hours

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Equipmentgrill

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecheesy, crisp, hot & spicy, meaty

Type of Dishpizza

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, taken out of the casings, if necessary
  • ¼ cup uncooked grits or polenta, for rolling the dough
  • 1 ball prepared pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Tuscan Red Sauce or Crushed Tomato Sauce
  • ¼ cup pickled sweet and hot peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon B&E Sprinkle-icious Spice Blend or favorite spice blend
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

Place the sausage in a large, heavy skillet. Sauté over medium heat, breaking up any large pieces, until fully cooked. Alternatively, grill the sausage in its casing and slice before using. Drain on paper towels and reserve for topping.

Preheat the grill, roll out and shape the dough, and grill the first side of the crust per the Master Instructions for gas or for charcoal (see Notes). Use tongs to transfer it to a peel or rimless baking sheet. Flip the crust to reveal the grilled side

Spread the entire surface with the sauce. Top with the sausage and peppers, then sprinkle with the cheeses.

Finish grilling the pizza per the Master Instructions (see Notes).

Remove from the grill, sprinkle with the spice blend, and season with salt and pepper. Slice and serve immediately.

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