Saturday, January 02, 2010

Caramelized Onion & Sausage Pizza

Caramelized Onion & Sausage Pizza
From James McNair's New Pizza: Foolproof Techniques and Fabulous Recipes
If you’re a meat eater, this one will make you moan and savor every bite.

Printable Recipe

Hands-on time: 45 minutes, but worth it!
Total Cooking time: 1 hour plus 10 minutes or so to bake the pizza
Makes enough as topping for 2 thin 12” crusts

California style pizza dough
¼ cup olive oil
3 lb/1.4kg yellow onions, thinly sliced (I use my mandolin)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
12oz/340 g raw Italian sausages (spicy or my favorite – sweet fennel), casing removed and cut into ¼” coins
1 tbsp garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine
3 tbsp chopped Italian/flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp minced fresh sage or 1 tsp dry, crumbled
Cornmeal for preparing pizza peel
1½ cups Italian fontina cheese, freshly grated (7½ oz/213g)
1½ cups fresh bocconcini/mozzarella, shredded (4½ oz/128g)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan (2oz/57g)
Extra virgin olive oil to brush crust
1 tbsp minced sweet red pepper
1 tbsp minced parsley

1. Prepare pizza dough as directed.

2. In a large heavy bottomed skillet, heat the ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and toss well to coat with oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring frequently for about 30 or until soft and lightly colored. Uncover, increase heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently until the onions are very tender and well caramelized and the liquid from the onions is gone– about 25 minutes. Remember, to stir – you do not want the onions burnt!

3. Add the sausage slices and garlic to the onions and increase the heat to high. Stir in the wine, parsley and sage and cook, stirring frequently, until the wine is reduced but the mixture still moist. (3 minutes or so) Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: if the sausages aren’t completely cooked through, don’t worry. Remember they have another 10 minutes in the very hot oven on the pizza.

4. Preheat at 450-500°F/230-260°C for at least 30 minutes (and since my oven is slow to reach the optimal temperature, I give it even more time) so timing is everything. If you’re not using a pizza stone, I would still preheat the pizza pans to give the crust a really good crispiness, but you probably only need 10-15 minutes. Lay the stone or baking sheet on the lowest rack for electric, on the floor of your oven for gas ranges.

5. Meanwhile in a bowl, combine all the fontina and mozzarella and ¼ cup of Parmesan and set aside.

6. Roll out the pizza dough (as per instructions) and shape as desired. Brush all over with olive oil. Top with cheese mixture, leaving ½” border around the edges. Distribute the onion & sausage topping over the cheese.

7. If you’re using a pizza peel, give it a quick shake to make sure it’s not stuck anywhere and then transfer to the preheated pizza stone with a good, quick jerking motion. Bake until the crust is golden –about 10 minutes.

8. Remove pizza to a wire rack (we just put it directly on the cutting board) and let stand for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cutting board or tray and lightly brush the edges with olive oil. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan, sweet pepper mince and parsley. Slice and serve.

Left over topping is awesome on pasta.

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