I think I must be the only person who isn’t starting a new diet or ‘challenge’ this month. Instead, I’m drinking wine, ordering dessert, and eating pizza. Especially this one – I’ve made it twice in the last week!
This pizza is something special. I’ll be honest – you have to be down with spiciness to love it, but if that’s your thing (it’s certainly mine), then this pizza is YOUR pizza.
It takes a little time and some love, but it turns out pretty damn amazing even if some shortcuts are taken, like prepared pizza sauce (I won’t lie – Muir Glen makes a pretty tasty one), or even a store-bought dough.
But really, this sourdough-based dough is exceptional. I was lucky to have some bestowed upon me by a coworker several months ago, and I’m very proud to say I’ve kept it alive and well, which is more than I can say for any plant I’ve ever brought home.
I find it odd and endearing that you have to ‘feed’ it, stir it up, and let it hang out on the counter to keep it alive. I’m making this sound like it’s way more trouble than it actually is. Really it’s quite easy, and has been exceedingly forgiving with me the (many) times I’ve forgotten to tend to it.
To be honest, I’ve yet to make anything other than pizza with the starter. I hear I’m missing worlds of brunchtime bliss with towers of sourdough pancakes, but I’m perfectly satisfied with my pizza.
I’ve been using this pizza cooking method for a couple of years, and have over time adapted it to be easier and more efficient. I’m also much less afraid of burning my house down and don’t get so panicky with the super high temps involved.
It does require you to move with a bit of a quickness once you get the dough in the skillet, but I can safely say I’ve never burned the crust, so try to be chill about it and just let things happen. (This is made easier by keeping a glass of wine close by.)
I’ve played around with lots of topping combinations and will share some more ideas soon, but this sausage/jalapeño/red onion situation is just spicy and addictive and delicious. It’s like the best version of trashy Papa John’s ever (it’s okay, judge!). The raw red onions and jalapeños lose their pungent bite and get a little charred under the broiler heat, and the sausage is crispy and salty and perfect.
I use my 12-inch Lodge cast iron skillet for this recipe because it’s bigger, but I’ve also used my smaller enameled Le Creuset skillet which works equally well.
Contrary to what you might be tempted to do, you do not need to put oil in the skillet first – actually, don’t, because it will burn! If your skillet is seasoned or enameled, the crust will not stick.
- PIZZA DOUGH (for 3 pizzas):
- 1 cup sourdough starter
- ½ cup warm water
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp salt
- PIZZA SAUCE (for 3 pizzas):
- 1 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried basil OR ¼ cup fresh basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
- TOPPINGS (for 1 pizza):
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 fresh hot Italian sausage link
- 1 jalapeño
- ¼ red onion
- flaky sea salt, to taste
- Prepare the pizza dough by mixing the sourdough starter, flour, water, salt, honey, and yeast in a large bowl. (Skip ahead to step 5 if you are using another dough recipe or store-bought.)
- Stir it with a wooden spoon until it comes together, then scrape it out onto a floured surface and allow to rest for a few minutes. While it rests, wash out your bowl.
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes, adding drops of water or sprinkles of flour as needed until it forms a smooth, elastic ball.
- Pour a little olive oil into the bowl and wipe it down with a paper towel. Place the dough into the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and set it aside for about 2 hours - it should double in size.
- When you have about 30-45 minutes to go before dinner, go ahead and prepare the sauce. In a blender, combine all the sauce ingredients and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
- Next, thinly slice the jalapeño and red onion. Then, heat a skillet over medium and pour in a small splash of cooking oil. Remove the sausage from its casing and crumble it in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks. Sauté until browned.
- When the dough has risen, punch it down and place it on a floured work surface, such as your countertop. Divide it into three. (If you're only making one pizza, wrap the other balls of dough individually in plastic wrap and freeze.)
- Preheat the broiler of your oven to high and place a rack directly below it. Meanwhile, preheat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on your stovetop. Don't rush the preheating process - allow everything to get nice and hot for about 10 minutes!
- Working gently with your hands, spread the dough into a circle. You can also use a floured glass or rolling pin to stretch it out if you like. Brush a little olive oil over the top surface of the dough.
- When the skillet is very hot, cut it off. Carefully transfer the dough into the skillet. Working quickly (but carefully), spread a layer of sauce over the pizza, followed by the crumbled sausage. Then, scatter a layer of cheese, and finally, the thinly sliced onions and jalapeños.
- Immediately place the skillet in the oven directly under the broiler (as close as it will get). It will cook fast, so watch it closely! In my oven, it takes about 5 minutes total. Rotate the skillet a quarter turn halfway through.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and allow to cool for a minute before you lift it out with a heat safe spatula. Garnish with flaky sea salt and serve!