Bill’s old school, sausage, green pepper and mushroom Pizza.
Tango class tonight and Pizza is on the menu for early eats. That way we can dance it off from 7 till 8. Bill is in his element in the kitchen making the dough and it now sits puffed up, smooth and soft to the touch. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and has a passion for it’s street food like Italian Beef sandwiches. I will leave that one for another post. His favorite pizza is sausage, green pepper and mushroom and he slips in some anchovies when I’m not looking. He likes them a lot and I like just a hint to taste. He tends to lean on the more the merrier in toppings, and I like about three ingredients. So sometimes we have two pizzas and share the leftovers or have friends over. He has made, god only knows, how many crusts with different flour over the years in search for the perfect one. A nice crisp crust that bubbles up with a good chew. Lately he started to double bake the crust and its darn good. All our pizzas are baked on a stone in the Napoleon Grill outside and they cook in 8 to 10 minutes.
As it happens Bill had to go to his studio and work on some plans, and I ended up finishing the pizza. So using Bill’s homemade pizza sauce I opted to make it without the sausage and used fresh organic mushroom and red and green bell peppers, pecorino, some creamy brie dotted here and there and a scattering of oregano, fennel and hot chili peppers. It was full of flavor with the sweet juicy peppers and the woodsy mushrooms. In fact it tasted sublime, and we shared it with our Airbnb guests in the cabana with the stars popping out in the night sky.
note: This pizza can be made on the pizza stone in the oven, it has to be super hot the hottest it can reach.
Pizza Dough Preparation
- 2 tsp active yeast
- 1 cup water 105-110ºF
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 3-1/2 cups jovial flour (or unbleached flour)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Bring water to temperature from tap or microwave briefly (don’t go outside the temperature range or yeast will either die or not be active)
- dissolve sugar in water and add yeast in a small bowl
- Cover bowl with clear wrap and let yeast bloom (bubble)
- Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the yeast mixture and the olive oil
- Knead the dough till smooth and adjust with added water or flour to attain a soft more wet than dry dough.
- Coat the ball of dough with olive by turning in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 2 hours or until dough doubles
- Punch down dough and divide in two. Use each dough for separate pizzas or freeze one for later.
- Cover the dough with a damp towel to rise again for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size
- Roll the dough into your pizza shape or spread with hands to a 12″-14″ diameter.
- Parbake the dough for about 5 minutes in the hot grill 550º or a hot oven as high as it will go.
- remove and cool.
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 shallot minced
- 1 anchovy filet chopped
- 1 28oz can tomato puree
- 1/3 cup dry red wine
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- dash of red chili pepper flakes.
- heat the oil in a small pan and saute the garlic and anchovy for 2 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer slowly for 20 minutes. Cool before using.
- 3 0z hot or Italian sausage removed from casing (if using)
- 1 red 1 green bell pepper cut in pieces
- 4 oz mushrooms sliced
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1 tsp dried oregano or fresh
- sprinkle of fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino
- 1/3 cup brie
If using sausage:
Crumble the sausage breaking any lumps and saute in a dribble of olive oil until golden about 6 minutes. remove and set aside.
Saute the peppers in the olive oil for about 5 minutes and blacken a bit, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute with the peppers then set aside.
Saute the mushrooms till nice and brown and set aside.
Spread the pizza sauce evenly over the parbaked pizza crust
Scatter the sausage over the sauce, them the peppers and mushrooms
Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the pizza
Slip a pizza peel under the pizza and transfer to the hot pizza stone which should be 550º or 600º
Pop the lid down on the grill and bake for 8 minutes check the base to see if its done, if ready slide the peel under the crust and remove and set on cutting surface and slide the pizza off.
There is much-to-do about the method of slicing pizza in our house. Chicago-style is cut in squares and if Bill’s making it, that’s how it is.
I like the pie cuts.
My neighbour called around asking if I’d please close my kitchen windows. I asked her if we was too loud, she looked bewildered at this question answering ” Karl it’s the smell that’s driving us mad, what are you cooking, it has us talking and my kids are convinced it’s Pizza” Well her kids were right, I followed the easy steps Louise and this time to the letter(most other recipes need pimping). The kitchen really took on the affect of letting an 8yr old and his friend doing the dough,the place was bursting with artistic endeavour, the result being a wonderful form to complement the organic toppings! The porch was buzzing with good vibes as the neighbours kids and their curious mother vaulted over the bikes lying around to take us up on the invite to join us in devouring ‘Bill’s’ Pizza.
Thanks again Louise and keep them coming…
That story put a smile on my face. I think it’s great you guys are cooking and having fun with the process. So glad you liked the Pizza.