Sausage & Fennel Pizza
Let's call this a sleeper crowd-pleaser. There's no great color combos. There's no health benefits, not even a little of that great sauce we just made. All this is....all it is....is a flavor sensation that will please the kid in you (and the discerning adult as well).
To help it this recipe out, you get to play with your food again. You don't get to squish tomatoes, but you will need to squish sausage and for the non-vegans amongst us, that's a little bit fun.
1/2 pound of Italian Sausage - Hot & Mild (casings removed)
1 bulb of chopped Fennel (reserving some of the fronds)
1/2 to 3/4 cup of fresh Buffalo Mozzarella (you can also use a nutty cheese like sottocenere or fontina for a nuttier take on this pizza)
8 sliced Cremini Mushrooms (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Find the garlic confit from the other recipes and have it handy. (What? You've already eaten it with a loaf of bread for breakfast? I don't blame you. Make some more.)
Thoroughly mix the uncased sausage (both hot and mild) in a bowl. I find this is best done with your hands (really get to know your food), but if you must, a wooden spoon will work.
In a medium sauté pan, sauté the chopped fennel in a couple teaspoons of olive oil until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add the mixed sausage, season with salt and pepper, then cook until sausage is lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. The sausage does not need to be thoroughly cooked since there's still some cooking happening in the oven, but you shouldn't find large chunks of pink in it anymore.
Spread the Garlic Confit (yes, the same Garlic Confit from the Shaved Asparagus Pizza) on dough.
Using a slotted spoon, try to remove as much oil from the sausage and fennel mixture as possible, then place on top of the Garlic Confit. Top with mozzarella slices and sliced cremini mushrooms (optional, but only optional if you're insane and don't like mushrooms).
Cook this pizza as we did the Margherita or the Shaved Asparagus pizzas - let it sit for 2-3 minutes once it's first in the oven, and then use the long-handled pizza peel to move it around and be sure it is cooking evenly.
You'll know it's ready when the cheese melts, although it won't bubble up as much as the Margherita Pizza. Since there is less sauce on the Sausage & Fennel Pizza, you can cook it abit longer if you like a very crispy crust. Once it's had a second to cool, toss on some of those fennel fronds (for color), sliced it up - mangia!