Fresh Basil-Oregano Pizza with Sausage, Olives, Peppers & Artichokes
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (Recipe makes 2 thin crusts or 1 thick crust)
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour (if you can find high-gluten use for crispiest crust)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (if you can find high-gluten use for crispiest crust)
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Add yeast over the top and let stand until foamy.
Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then stir in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour until dough starts to come together. Turn dough onto a surface floured with remaining all-purpose flour and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the dough ball becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place (such as an unheated oven with the light on) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Once dough has doubled, punch it down, cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half for 2 thin crust pizzas. (Or leave whole to make one thick crust) Form each piece into a firm ball. (Wrap the extra dough ball tightly in plastic wrap & store in heavy-duty ziplock in freezer for future use. To thaw, place dough in frig 12 hours or overnight. Bring to room temp & shape as desired.)
Cover the second dough ball with a towel and allow to rise again for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (During this time you can prep your pizza toppings below.)
Roll the twice risen dough with a rolling pin on a floured surface into a rectangle the size of your cookie sheet. If it appears it will not stretch further before you reach this point, let it rest a moment, then continue to roll.
Spray a cookie sheet (for thin crust) or sheet pan (for thick crust) with canola spray. Place rolled dough onto oiled pan and crimp the edges with fingers to form a rim. (For the crispiest crust, use a pizza stone scattered generously with cornmeal to allow pizza to release.)
Place one oven rack in the lower third of your oven and the second 6 inches from the broiler component. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F/218 degrees C.
Pizza Toppings (Toppings for one sheet pizza)
1 small can tomato paste
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
3-4 sprigs oregano, leaves stripped from stems, chopped
shredded mozzarella cheese
1-2 links pre-cooked italian sausage, chopped
1/4 cup good quality black olives, pits removed & halved
1/4 cup olive-oil packed artichokes, loosely chopped
1/4 cup small slices green bell pepper
1/4 cup grape or cherry tomatoes halved
fresh Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup fresh basil, thickly julienned
fresh hot pepper, finely chopped (from your CSA basket) or hot pepper flakes
best quality extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt
Spread tomato paste over pizza dough, then sprinkle the sliced garlic and chopped oregano evenly over the paste. Next, cover the sauce, garlic and oregano base with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese. Then, arrange the chopped sausage, artichokes, olives, peppers and halved grape tomatoes over the cheese. (Placing the veg and sausage on top of the cheese will give you crispy-edged sausage bites and sweetened, caramelized veggies as opposed to steaming it all under the cheese.)
Bake for 16 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness) in the preheated oven, until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges, the cheese is melted, and your veg are slightly caramelized and sausage crisped at the edges. (If necessary, feel free to move the pan under the broiler for the last minute or so until you see the sausage crisping & veg caramelizing-but keep an eye on it!)
Remove from oven and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano Regianno and fresh basil. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a smattering of chili pepper flakes, and a pinch of sea salt. Voila...
Eat your heart out!