Homemade pizza! Baked in my oven! By me!
I’m pretty excited, can’t you tell?
Even now, four whole days later after the triumph which is now known as The Sunday I Made a Pizza that Didn’t Suck, I am marveling at the fact that I managed to turn out a darn fine pizza with a pillow-y soft foccacia crust topped with midly spicy Italian sausage and earthy baby portabello mushrooms. Oh, and the cheese! I didn’t go crazy and topped it with just the right amount of provolone, fresh mozzarella, and a little fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
It really is the perfect Sunday pizza – the dough (borrowed from this post) does take time to rise, but the actual work involved in making it is pretty minimal – like, 15 minutes to first mix up the dough and then knead it. Once you’ve done that the hard part is over and all it needs is a couple of hours to rise before you top it with all the sausage, mushrooms, and cheese. Oh wait, you do need to precook the mushrooms and sausage, but it’s okay! They take no time at all, either – in fact, you could prep the toppings the day before and keep them in the fridge. Then everything is ready to go and all you have to do is pop it in the oven and that’s it! It feeds a crowd so it’s perfect for Sunday afternoon football games.
Or, in my case, a Sunday afternoon Real Housewives marathon.
I really am so, so happy about this one.
Want a slice?
Focaccia makes a wonderful base for pizza – it’s soft with a crispy bottom and can stand up to a lot of hearty toppings; in this case, Italian sausage, sliced mushrooms, and just the right amount of cheese.
- For the Focaccia
- 2 packages dry active yeast
- 2 cups warm water (110–115 degrees F)
- 5 – 51/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- [br]For the Toppings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed (about 3 links)
- 8 ounces sliced baby portabello mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup grated provolone cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 ounces thinly slice fresh mozzarella
- To Make the Foccacia
- Mix the yeast with the water in a large bowl. Let it sit for 10 minutes before slowly adding the flour, up to 5 cups. Mix the flour with the yeast and water with a fork until the dough comes together. Flour the work surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes or so. Add in the rest of the flour (1/2 cup) as needed until it’s no longer tacky and sticky and the dough has a nice elasticity.
- Coat the inside of a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the dough and roll it around to coat it with the oil before covering the bowl with a large kitchen towel. Leave the bowl in a warm place for 1 hour, or until the dough has almost doubled in size.
- Punch the dough down before spreading it to fit a 13×18 inch sheet pan. Cover it with the towel and let it rise for 45 minutes.
- While you’re waiting for the focaccia, prepare the toppings. First, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the sausage. While it’s cooking break it apart using a wooden spoon or spatula. Once it’s cooked through, remove it from the pan and set it aside (leave the fat in the pan, you’ll need it for the mushrooms!).
- Add the mushrooms to the pan and toss them around for a few minutes, just until they are lightly browned on both sides. Remove them from the heat and set aside.
- Now, make the sauce. In that same pan, pour in the tomato puree. Let it bubble up and then scrape up all the browned bits that have collected on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste and the salt. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove it from the heat.
- Once the focaccia has risen, go ahead and “dimple” the dough using your fingertips. Brush the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the top of the dough. Sprinkle the rosemary (minus the stems!) and salt over the top of the focaccia.
- Brush the tomato sauce over the top of the dough. The amount you use is up to you – I ended up using almost 1 cup. Any leftover sauce can be used for pasta, so be sure to save the leftovers. Spread the cook sausage and mushrooms over the top of the pizza.
- Pop the pizza in the oven preheated to 400 degrees and bake it for about 12 minutes. Remove it from the oven and top it with the cheese and continuing baking it for another 8-10 minutes.
- Let it stand for a few minutes before slicing.
The toppings should be made in advance so they have time to cool before you add them to the pizza. You can make them the day before and keep them in the fridge. Or, as I point out in the recipe, you can prepare them while the focaccia is rising for the last time – just be sure to give the toppings time to cool before you top the pizza and bake it.
- Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Main Course