Perhaps not the “healthiest” of meals – but color! And veggies.
Ok sure and some cheese. Insanely good herby ricotta cheese (with parm) to be exact. It’s a must, we’re not skimping.
In fact, pizza night is a must! No matter what.
Pizza is definitely a food I could live on (if I was allowed to). Whenever I play the “choose your last meal” game (which is oddly quite often…not sure what that says about me), I have a hard time deciding between my Grandpa’s homemade sauce and meatballs, or pizza! The sauce and meatballs wins every time, but pizza is seriously in a close second.
So many delicious combinations, the toppings are endless, even the crust! You can do a lot. And the cheese. I don’t want it half-assed or just mediocre tasting. If I’m doing it, I’m doing it right.
I love the combination of flavors in this one. The herbed ricotta pizza is a perfect foundation to load on lots of veggies, some spicy Italian sausage, and a bit of arugula! I thought I would, but I just can’t quit the arugula on pizzas. Not in 2018, not ever. It just adds a bit of freshness that makes it all worthwhile.
We’ll eat this pizza and throw a salad on top and call it balanced for the month. That cool with you? It’s cool with me.
I will say that it’s crazy how a little (ok, major) change in the temperature this week has given me an extra boost. Just seeing the number rise to where it’s doable to walk outside and not freeze is big for me. I cherish my outdoor walks – whether it’s first thing in the morning or when I’m in need of a mid-afternoon break, my attitude changes a lot.
I do most of my best thinking on these walks and this week I somehow managed to come up with a plethora of recipes I want to try out and share from now until spring! If you’ve been walking around Charlotte this week and see me sprinting home it’s not because I’m training for the olympic speed walking team (I’m always fascinated by that event) – I just wanted to make sure I didn’t forget any recipe ideas!
My plan is to work on some of those today!
These middle weekends of January are always so weird. We’re still coming down off the holiday high but also finding our groove into the new year so it’s like what should we do? Do we go out to dinner, get drinks, etc? Do we stay in have a pizza night and binge watch a series for 14 hours straight? Someone guide us.
But let’s bring the pizza and maybe some beer while we navigate this thing together.
- For the pizza dough:
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
- 1⅛ cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ pound mild or hot Italian sausage/chicken sausage, roughly chopped
- ½ cup white/baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- ½ cup ricotta cheese, strained if watery
- 2 tablespoons freshly-grated parmesan cheese + more
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 lemon, juice divided
- Salt and pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¾ cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup pitted black olives, sliced thinly
- 1 cup arugula
- 2 tablespoons chopped almonds or pinenuts
- For the pizza dough:
- In a large bowl, combine yeast, warm water, olive oil, and honey. Mix with a spoon, then let sit for 10 minutes, until foamy. Add in 2½ cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt, stir well until the dough starts to come together, but is still a little sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and add in the remaining ½ cup of flour. Knead the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes.
- Rub the same bowl with a little bit of olive oil and place the dough inside the bowl, turning to coat all sides with the oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit in a warm place for 1- 1½ hours to rise.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, or if you're using a pizza stone, preheat to 500 degrees F.
- Once the dough has risen, lightly flour a flat surface. Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll out the pizza dough until it reaches your desired shape.
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a small skillet over medium high heat. Heat the sausage until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the skillet but leave the drippings in there! Add the mushrooms to the skillet with a little more olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
- In a small bowl, add the ricotta, parmesan, chopped basil and parsley, ½ of the lemon juice, salt, pepper & a pinch of red pepper flakes. Use a rubber spatula and mix until well combined. Set aside.
- Brush the pizza dough all over lightly with olive oil. Then spread the herbed ricotta mixture over top.
- Sprinkle the mozzarella over the pesto, then drop the herbed ricotta in small scoops all over the top. Sprinkle with the walnuts. Sprinkle the minced garlic around, then the mozzarella cheese.
- Top with the cooked sausage, mushrooms and black olives. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
- While the pizza is baking, in a small bowl toss together the arugula and the remaining lemon juice. Season with a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes. When the pizza is done, top with the arugula and sliced almonds/pine nuts, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a healthy sprinkle of parmesan!