When I was pregnant I had an aversion to arugula. It wasn’t the taste, it was the texture — the wiry stems. I couldn’t eat sausage either. Once again, the texture.
It was a shame, because I had no problem eating 13 Egg McMuffins every day, but couldn’t stomach the thought of this recipe. That right there should explain how terrible pregnant women can be at making decisions, because in every other moment of my life is one of my absolute favorite things to eat.
Grilled sausage, mushroom and arugula pizza. This pizza is AMAZING. It’s a combination of great flavors and an incredible crust. Now that my tastebuds are back to making good decisions, Tom and I eat this pizza once a week. We made it for his family while we were on vacation, and they asked us for the recipe so I thought I’d share it here.
There are lots of pictures of the process, then the recipe is at the bottom of the post.
I start with a simple pizza dough recipe. I divide the dough into four-eight balls, then press out so they’re no larger than the size of your hand or roughly the size of a personal-pan pizza. (Smaller crusts are easier to grill.)
Here’s the cast of flavors — sausage, mozzarella cheese, garlic-chili-infused oil, sautéed mushrooms, and fresh arugula.
I called it garlic-chili infused oil, but I’m not sure if that’s right; Google tells me “infused” means “soaked.” But I don’t know another way to describe it but I need you to know this isn’t your typical dipping/brushing oil. It’s special.
Actually, all of the ingredients are.
Prep all the ingredients and take them out to the grill so they’re handy.
Heat the grill as hot as it’ll go and brush the dough generously with oil.
Cook, oiled side down, for 1-3 minutes. Brush the other side with olive oil and flip, cooking for an additional 1-3 minutes until both sides are cooked.
Tom figured out the best way to grill the pizza, so all of the instructions are from him. I’ve never done the grilling part because I don’t grill. I refuse to grill or use a push mower. Let’s leave those jobs to the boys, eh? I don’t mind spiders and will stack wood and know how to change a tire, but I draw the line at grilling.
I read once that homemade pizza is never the same as pizzeria pizza because home ovens can’t cook as hot as ovens in pizzerias. This bread proves that little fact right. Cooked quickly at a much higher temperature, the texture is completely different than when I make the crust in the oven.
Gah, look at this bread.
Tom and I always make extra just to dip in oil and eat. We often talk about having this bread with good cheese and wine one day for dinner. We’ll eat and drink and talk about how very French the dinner is, all while enjoying a view of our backyard full of brightly-colored plastic toys.
Remove the bread from the grill and pile on the toppings.
This is where you’ll have to ignore the picture because Tom and I got ahead of ourselves and added the arugula too early. Don’t do that, cooking the arugula will spoil the taste.
Load up everything else, put it back on the grill, and close the lid until the cheese is melted. Then pile a bunch of arugula on top.
Eat until you’re completely stuffed. Then have two more pieces.
(Pssst, we eat any leftover toppings with eggs the next morning.)
Grilled mushroom, sausage & arugula pizza
8 oz. pork sausage (we like spicy)
1 C mushrooms
2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
4 C fresh arugula
2 C olive oil
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 T red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
To prepare toppings…
In a medium pan, brown sausage. Remove sausage, and in the same pan, add mushrooms. Space mushrooms evenly over medium-high heat, you want them to brown rather than getting soggy. Add more oil if necessary. Remove mushrooms and set aside.
To make the oil, heat 2 C oil and red pepper flakes over medium high heat (This will make a lot of oil, I always make a lot because I like to have it leftover, but you can half the oil if desired; you just need enough to brush the dough). Stir occasionally, until red pepper flakes begin to cook (the oil will bubble and the red pepper will become fragrant). Remove from heat and add garlic. Allow garlic to cook in heated oil, then add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt
In a large mixing bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of flour, yeast and salt; add the warm water and oil. Slowly add the remaining flour and stir until combined. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is moderately stiff, smooth and elastic. Smear dough with olive oil and cover; let rest for 10 minutes to an hour. (This recipe can be made ahead of time and freezes well. For more tips for how I make pizza crust click here.)
Before grilling, divide dough into four equal balls and flatten each into rounds about the size of your hand; not too thin and not too wide.
Preheat grill for 5-10 minutes (as hot as you can, 500-600 degrees). While preheating, brush olive oil mixture on one side of pizza dough. When grill is heated, gently lift (try not to stretch) dough and place on grill oiled side down.
While grilling, baste the other side of the dough with the olive oil mixture.
Watch bread closely, and flip once it starts to brown (anywhere from 1-3 minutes). Flip and grill the other side for 1-3 minutes as well.
Remove from the grill, and add toppings on the side that’s more done in this order: mushrooms, sausage, cheese.
Put back on the grill, this time on indirect medium to high heat, and close the lid. Heat until cheese melts (3-6 minutes).
Top with generous handfuls of arugula.
Grilling tips from Tom:
- do a trial run with a small piece of dough to get comfortable with the texture, cook time, and flipping dough.
- buy grill grates! They’re great for all kinds of grilling, and especially pizza http://www.grillgrate.com