During the first year of Rachael Ray‘s new television show, one of her first recipes was something she created in honor of Oprah, who had helped produce her show. She titled the recipe Pizz-O. While I’m a fan of pizza, I tend to always want to try new recipes that spruce up the same old flavors so many of us are used to, and this particular recipe seemed like it would do the trick.
Well, it didn’t disappoint. The only hiccup I had to navigate due to living in a small town was where to find ready-made pizza dough. I quickly found a solution – Papa Murphy’s. I simply called them up, ordered a large pizza with only mozzarella and no sauce, and with that one phone call, I had taken care of two of my ingredients.
This is a hardy pizza due to the many layers it entails, but the flavors will impress you – proscuitto, pesto, red peppers, Italian sausage. I have made it a handful of times, and each time (if the instructions are followed), a tasteful meal ensues. To dress it up a bit, I pour myself a glass of wine. Recently, I paired it with a glass of Walla Walla Vintner‘s Merlot, and it made for a perfect meal on a laid back evening.
One thing that I have found that helps finish the crust, especially the bottom, is to use the cornmeal that is suggested in the recipe. I only had to learn that once and I have never since made that mistake again.
So if you’re not sure what to make tonight or any upcoming stay-at-home evening, give this recipe a try. Your family’s appetite will no doubt be satiated, and you can say you taught them how to eat red peppers and proscuitto all in one bite. Here’s hoping your Thursday moves along smoothly into Friday. Cheers!
(Before the oven has its way with it.)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling
- 1/4 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage, about 2 links, casings removed
- 1/4 pound bulk hot Italian sausage, about 2 links, casings removed
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 portobello mushrooms, chopped into chunky pieces
- 2 roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1 cup ricotta cheese, room temperature for easy spreading
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, 4-5 sprigs, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided in half
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh store-bought pesto or homemade arugula pesto
- 1 cup grated scamorza or smoked mozzarella
- 1 fresh pizza dough, from your favorite pizza joint
- 6 slices prosciutto
- Cornmeal, to sprinkle on the pizza pan
Heat a skillet with one turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add both the sweet and hot Italian sausage, breaking it up into little pieces with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook about 4-5 minutes or until cooked through. Add the garlic and mushrooms.
Once the mushrooms have wilted and turned deep brown in color, stir in the roasted red peppers. Set aside until it is time to assemble the pizza.
In a bowl combine the ricotta, lemon zest, thyme, 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Reserve.