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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pizza Night!

I really like pizza. All the time, always. Red sauce, white sauce, just cheese, ten toppings...I could go on forever. In my opinion it's the perfect indulgent meal. So when I put this together I really wasn't expecting something fantastic given the amount of pizza I've eaten in my lifetime. I was so wrong, this pizza goes down as one of the best I've consumed, and for me to say that about something I made...well, it says a lot. I think you'd better give this a try the next time your pizza craving hits. 
Apple, Sausage, Caramelized Onion, Arugula & Cider Cream Sauce Pizza: (14")

1/2 lb. Italian Hot Sausage
1/4 Apple, cored and sliced very thin
1/2 Yellow Onion, sliced thin 
1/2 c. Arugula 
3/4 c. Shredded Mozzarella
1/4 c. Shredded Parmesan 
1/2 tsp. Fennel Seed, crushed
 1  Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
 1  Tbsp. Dark Brown Sugar 
1/2 c. Heavy Cream 
  1  Small Garlic Clove, minced 
  1  tsp. Corn Starch 
Make Your Own Crust (or buy one...)

 1/4   oz. Pack Active Dry Yeast
1 3/4 c. All-Purpose Flour
 3/4   c. Warm Water (105-115 F)
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Olive Oli 

1) Stir together the yeast, one tablespoon flour, and 1/4 c. warm water. Let stand 5 min.
    Or until the top of the mixture appears creamy.
2) Whisk together 1 1/4 c. flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture, oil, and remaining 1/2 c.
    warm water and stir until smooth. 
3) Add the remaining flour (1/2 c.) or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
4) Turn out onto a dry surface and knead with lightly floured hands until the dough becomes   
    smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
5) Form a ball and let rest on a floured surface, generously flour the top, and loosely cover
    with plastic. Rest in a warm, draft free space until the dough is doubled in size, 1 1/4 hrs. 
6) When the dough is done rising, do not punch down, pick up and gently but quickly turn 
    in a circle until you form a large circle. Lay on a floured surface and continue to pull out 
    the sides until the crust reaches 14" 



Make Your Fixings:
1) So while you are waiting for your dough to finish its rising process you can start prepping 
    your toppings. Preheat the oven to 425.
2) Apples-set the slices in a bowl or glass with a 1/2 c. of the cider and let rest for at least 20
    minutes or up to one hour. Drain before putting on pizza, reserving liquid.
3) Sausage-in a pan over medium-high heat, combine the sausage and fennel. Cook, breaking 
    apart frequently until the sausage is browned on it's edges. Using a slotted spoon, transfer 
    the sausage to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve the cooking juices.
4) Onions- in a skillet over medium heat, melt the 1 Tbs. butter with the 1 Tbs. brown sugar. 
    Stir to combine and then add onions. Cook until tender and slightly browned on the sides, 
   10 minutes or so.
5) Sauce- Combine reserved cider from apples, 1/2 c. heavy cream, tsp. cornstarch, garlic, 
    1 Tbs. liquid from sausage, and a 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper in a small saucepan. 
    Simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture thickens.
6) Assembly! I like to do: sauce, apples, some cheese, onions and sausage, some more cheese.
    Bake on a sheet pan or pizza stone for 10-15 minutes. Yank out of oven, top with arugula, 
    and wait at least a few minutes before slicing into that pie of love-joy-cheese-time.

 For the love of pizza-make this, I beg of you. Actually, I shouldn't have to beg, it's totally your loss if you pass this one up. And don't expect to show up on my doorstep looking for leftovers either, I assure you there are none. 


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