If you’re ever blessed with the gift of sourdough starter, this recipe is for you. 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 endearing that you have to ‘feed’ it to keep it alive. (This process is less troublesome than it sounds.) I’m thankful that my starter has been exceedingly forgiving with me, even when I’ve forgotten to tend to it for two weeks at a time.
I’ve been using this pizza cooking method for a couple of years, and have adapted it to be easier and more efficient. 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.
I’ve played around with lots of topping combinations and just love the simplicity of this sausage/jalapeño/red onion situation.
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 but produces a smaller pie with thicker crust.
Contrary to what you might be tempted to do, you do not need to put oil in the skillet first – it will burn! If your skillet is seasoned or enameled, the crust will not stick.
All said, you can of course use store bought pizza dough here with great results, especially if you can get it from a local pizzeria or Italian market. LA friends: Bay Cities has the best pizza dough on the planet.
- 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
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- TOPPINGS (for 1 pizza; triple as necessary):
- 1 jalapeño
- Half of 1 small red onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 fresh hot Italian sausage, casing removed
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- flaky sea salt, to taste
- Prepare the pizza dough by mixing the sourdough starter, water, flour, yeast, honey, and salt in a large bowl. (Skip ahead to step 5 if you are using another dough recipe or store-bought dough.)
- 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 in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in the warmest place in your kitchen for about 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pizza sauce. Put the tomatoes, basil, salt, and garlic in a blender or food processor and blend until combined. Set aside.
- Thinly slice the jalapeño and red onion. Then, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the sausage, breaking it into pieces it in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon. Sauté until browned, then set aside.
- When the dough has risen, punch it down and place it on a clean and floured work surface. 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 position a rack directly below it (about four inches). Meanwhile, preheat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on your stovetop for 10 minutes.
- Working gently with your hands, work the dough into a roughly 10-inch circle. Brush a little olive oil over the top surface of the dough.
- When the skillet is very hot, turn off the heat. 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.
- Carefully transfer the skillet to the broiler to cook for 3-6 minutes, rotating halfway through. It will cook fast, so watch it closely.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and allow to cool for a minute before you lift it out with a heat safe spatula. Sprinkle on a pinch of flaky sea salt, slice and serve.