Johnsonville Italian Sausage Pizza With Roasted Garlic, Portobello Mushrooms and Parmesan Crisps

For the past two months, we’ve been hosting weekly pizza parties.  Well, truth be told, they have been competitive throw downs where our friends are invited to say goodbye to the week that was and bring their best recipes to battle it out for the pizza crown.   We’ve had some pretty fantastic creations.  After 8 weeks though, inspiration begins to wane. So we were quite excited to hear of the Johnsonville Italian Sausage competition.  Inspiration, the chance to get our pizza on our favorite food porn site AND the likelihood (albeit remote) of winning a food making competition.  How could we not be excited?

Anders had this one on his mind for a whole week and came up with this creation: Johnsonville Italian Sausage Pizza with  roasted garlic, Portobello mushrooms and topped with parmesan crisps and toasted pine nuts. Does it get any crazier than this?   We hope you like it, and if you do please vote for us when the time comes.

Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza
Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza


Pizza Dough With Honey

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (recommend unbleached all-purpose)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cups + 2 tbs lukewarm water (about 90F)
  • 1 tbs honey
  • flour for dusting

This makes one 12-inch pizza dough.

Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and salt and stir to combine well.  Mix the honey and olive oil with the water in a separate bowl. Add to the four and stir until a soft (but not sticky) dough is formed.  Don’t be alarmed if the dough is initially overly sticky.  The level of stickiness you get will depend on the type of flour you end up using. Bread flour will often be drier and low-protein flour will definitely be wetter.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead. As you knead, the dough will become less sticky, but if it doesn’t, just add more flour.  Keep your incremental additions to about 1 tbs until it no longer sticks to your hands on the counter. Now the hard part: you need to knead for at least 10 minutes. Seriously; don’t give up after 5 because it looks OK… 10 minutes on a timer, constantly kneading. When you’re done, and have given your aching muscles some time to recover, place the dough in a bowl that has been sprayed or rubbed with olive oil. Spray the top of the dough with oil.  Cover with a damp tea towel or napkin and let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours.

One hour before the dough is ready, place a baking stone in the oven and set the temperature to 450F.

Roasted Garlic

  • 25 peeled garlic cloves(Need all for this recipe, but we recommend you make more for sandwiches or salads)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Place the garlic cloves on an oven-safe tray and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Cover the tray with aluminum foil and bake at 350F for 30- 45 minutes.

Sautéed Portobello Mushrooms

  • 1 1/2 large Portobello mushroom
  • 1 oz butter
  • 5 roasted garlic

Melt the butter on medium high in a large sauté pan. Add the roasted garlic and use a fork to crush them, combining with the melted butter. Slice the mushroom in 1/4 inch thick slices and add to the roasted garlic butter.  Sauté for about 1o minutes, flipping slices halfway through.  When finished, allow to cool until you are ready to assemble the pizza.

Tomato Sauce With Fennel And Honey

  • 1 16 oz can of tomatoes (Stewed)
  • 1  tbs fennel seeds
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 2 tbs finely diced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of white wine

Heat the olive oil in a pot on medium heat. Add the onions and thinly sliced garlic, cooking until the onions become translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients, and bring the sauce to a boil. Transfer the hot sauce to a blender or a food processor, and pulse a few times.  Return to pot, and boil it down for 10 minutes on low-medium heat.  Remove the pot from the heat and allow the sauce to cool completely before used.

Parmesan Crisps

  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese

Use the medium side of a box grater to grate the Parmesan cheese and spread the grated cheese on a piece of parchment paper.  The cheese should cover an area about 12 by 12 inches.  Place the paper onto a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 5-7 minutes until the cheese bubbles, melts together and becomes golden-brown at the edges.  The goal is to have crispy bits of parmesan when this is cooled. Watch this carefully though – with this cheese, there is a fine line between crispy and burnt! Remove, and cool.

When the cheese is cool, break the large parmesan crisp in rugged looking ‘squares’ 1/2 an inch to 1 inch each side.

Johnsonville Italian Sausage Pizza

  • 1 serving of pizza dough (recipe above)
  • Sautéed Portobello mushrooms (recipe above)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup tomato sauce (recipe above)
  • Parmesan crisps (recipe above)
  • 3 Johnsonville Italian hot sausages
  • 20 cloves roasted garlic
  • 3 slices onion
  • 3 tbs pine nuts
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Smoked paprika

Grill the Johnsonville Italian hot sausages according to the instructions on the package. Let them cool and then slice into 1/2 inch thick rounds.

Roll out the pizza dough and then place it on a piece of parchment paper.  Cover evenly with tomato sauce and then add roasted garlic, onion slices and Portobello mushrooms, in that order.  Add the sausage, and top the pizza with 1/4 inch thick slices of mozzarella. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and olive oil.

Use a pizza peel to transfer the pizza to the pizza stone in the pre-heated oven.  Bake for 15- 17 minutes.  If in doubt, wait until the crust is golden brown.

While baking the pizza, toast the pine nuts on a pan over medium heat, stirring frequently until they turn golden brown.  Remove the pizza and place on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Spread the toasted pine nuts on top.

When the pizza has cooled, slice it up, and sprinkle the Parmesan crisps on top immediately before serving (so they preserve their crunchiness).

Wow that was a long recipe, but we hope you take the time, have fun, and enjoy it. Our guests did.

Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza
Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza
Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza
Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza
Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza
Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza
Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza
Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza with pine nuts
Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza
Johnsonville Italian Hot Sausage Pizza - Parmesan Crisps On Top
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