Sausage, Fennel, and Ricotta Pizza

I’ve been on a little bit of a pizza binge lately.  Whether it’s greasy takeout pizza, frozen pizza or homemade pizza, I’m all about it.  Earlier this year, I was in the habit of coming home on Fridays after work, throwing a frozen pizza in the oven, popping open a beer or two and settling in to watch Grimm with the lights off.  Yes, it’s sad, I don’t go out on Fridays.  By the time work is over for the week, I’m exhausted and look forward to a Friday night at home.  Well, now that Grimm starts again tonight, I’m right back into old habits except this time, I’m challenging myself to make a different pizza each week instead of those inexpensive frozen pizzas I’m used to having (no matter how much I love them!). This Sausage, Fennel, and Ricotta Pizza was no disappointment.

Refrigerated pizza crust is topped with browned turkey sausage, thin fennel slices, and dollops of creamy garlic-laced ricotta. Red pepper flakes and fennel seeds are scattered over the whole pie before it is baked until golden and crispy. This pizza uses fennel 3-ways: in the sausage, fresh from the bulb and the seeds. I have decided I’m obsessed with fennel. I’ve used fennel before in soups and other recipes but this pizza really stands out to me as a way to really celebrate fennel’s unique flavor. If you haven’t used a fresh fennel before, this is a great way to try it.  The slices get soft when baking and the flavor mellows out perfectly. Of course, if you really aren’t into fennel bulb, you can leave it out: the fennel seeds provide perfect flavor alone.  Pizza and beer sounds like the perfect way to spend a Friday night to me.

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The ingredients:

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Preheat oven to 500° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats). Let pizza dough stand at room temperature, covered, while oven preheats. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove casing from sausage. Add sausage to pan; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring to crumble. Add fennel bulb; cook 4 minutes or until tender.

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Roll pizza dough into a 16-inch oval on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle cornmeal over pizza stone or pizza pan; place dough on pizza stone or pan. Brush dough evenly with oil. Sprinkle sausage mixture evenly over dough, leaving a 1-inch border.

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Combine ricotta and garlic in a small bowl; top pizza with teaspoonfuls of ricotta mixture.

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Sprinkle red onion and remaining ingredients evenly over pizza.

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Bake at 500° for 11 minutes or until golden. Cut into 8 slices.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Red onion

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

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