White Pizza with Sweet Italian Sausage

Food & Wine
I tried fresh mozzarella and ricotta for this pizza, but I was surprised to discover that the pie tasted best when made with commercial mozzarella and ricotta.
4

Ingredients

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2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausages (about 4), meat removed from the casings
1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)
1 cup whole-milk ricotta (1/2 pound)
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons snipped chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound pizza dough, at room temperature
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 500°. Preheat a pizza stone or generously oil a large baking sheet. Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a large skillet. Slightly flatten the sausage meat, add it to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until browned and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage meat to paper towels and crumble it into 1/2-inch pieces. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a bowl and toss with half of the mozzarella.

2. In a bowl, combine the ricotta with 1 tablespoon each of the parsley and chives and season with salt and pepper. On a lightly floured surface, roll or stretch the dough to a rough 14-inch round. Transfer the dough to a floured pizza peel or flat cookie sheet, or to the oiled baking sheet. Dollop the ricotta mixture all over the pizza, leaving a 1-inch border of dough. Brush the border with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Using the back of the spoon, spread the ricotta out to the border in an even layer. Scatter the sausage over the ricotta and top with the remaining mozzarella and the Parmesan.

3. Slide the pizza onto the hot stone, if using, and bake for about 10 minutes on the stone or 16 minutes on the baking sheet, until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling. Transfer the pizza to a rack and let cool slightly. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon each of parsley and chives and serve.

Wine Recommendation: The 1997 Ruffino Fonte al Sole, an appealing red wine from Tuscany, is soft and accessible yet has enough acidity to stand up to the combination of rich cheese and sweet sausage.

Created date

June 2004