Pizza is not something we make often during the summer because we try to avoid turning the oven on high for long periods of time, but with the weather not being so swampy or hot over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, we decided that Friday would be the perfect night to have the first pizza night in what seemed like ages. I had the idea of putting some pesto Trapanese on one pie instead of doing either a canned tomato sauce or just using fresh tomatoes on their own, and then Michael decided that the thick slab bacon and baby leeks usually available at the Teet would do well for the second one.
I’ve always liked the though of using pesto as a pizza sauce, but I’ve also been concerned that doing so would turn the otherwise vibrantly green herb-based pestoes into, well, less-attractive versions of themselves from prolonged exposure to heat. The pesto Trapanese with its tomato and almond base is a much better solution if you ask me, as both of those ingredients benefit from exposure to heat, and while the mint probably loses some of its green vivacity its flavor doesn’t suffer much at all. With some sausage and mozzarella slices on top, you have one pretty summer-friendly and kickass pizza on your hands.
The key to getting it right, though, is to make sure your pesto is on the chunkier side. I was lazy and threw in whole tomatoes (seeds and all) after coring them, and this definitely made the sauce far too watery; I drained some of that by putting the sauce through a sieve and the texture was just what we needed. You could avoid this by coring and seeding your tomatoes before combining them with the other ingredients, of course. I also prefer making this with an immersion blender rather than a regular blender, because I can control how much all of the ingredients are processed with greater ease, and when texture is a major consideration control is essential.
Sausage and Pesto Trapanese Pizza
- One half of my trusted dough recipe
- 1 1/2 cups pesto Trapanese, drained of excess liquid
- 2 links sausage (we used a combination of hot and sweet Italian-style sausage)
- 1 small ball mozzarella, sliced
- Corn meal, for dusting
Preheat the oven to as hot as you possibly can. Obviously, this will vary by ovens, so at minimum try to go for 475 degrees.
Place the mozzarella on paper towels on a plate to drain, and cover with additional paper towels to help wick away as much moisture as possible.
Meanwhile, start stretching the dough out on a clean cutting board, and then lay it on either a baking sheet or a baking steel/stone lined with cornmeal. Dot with a fork and bake it for about five or six minutes, then add on the sauce, cheese, and sausage and bake until the top of the crust gets golden brown and the cheese is nice and melted. Let rest for a couple of minutes out of the oven, and then slice into pieces and serve.