”that’s amore”

Back when I was about 6 years old, I absolutely despised pizza. In fact, I would throw a fit if we had to go to a pizza restaurant. I still remember making my parents order me spaghetti instead of sharing their pizza. Oh how times have changed…

Pizza is now one of my favorite foods. I don’t let myself eat it near as often as I would like, but when I do, it is such a treat. I probably owe a lot of my love for pizza to my college roommate Julie. Throughout college, and well into our first couple years of big-girl life, we would order pizza nearly every other Sunday. Whether we were slightly under the weather from the previous night’s decisions or just really hungry, we typically ended up with one large pizza with bread sticks on the side. It must be said that Julie has a huge capacity for pizza. I have never in my life seen such a small person put away such a large quantity of pizza. I have known her for seven years and I am still amazed by it.

Because pizza is something I crave every week or so, I decided to try my hand at making a pizza. I found a somewhat healthy recipe here for pizza crust using 1/2 wheat, 1/2 white flour from recipegirl.com. I don’t own a pizza stone, so I just used a regular cookie sheet. The crust was really yummy, but I plan on letting it rise for at least a few hours next time. I enjoy a really thick pizza crust with little bubbles around the edge. Hopefully letting it rise longer will help me accomplish this.

I love so many different toppings on pizza, including meats. I have always loved Italian sausage on pizza, but am not a fan of how unhealthy it is. Not wanting to give up meat on my pizza, I decided to check out the meat counter at Central Market. I was able to find a delicious chicken Italian sausage. Honestly, on its own, you might notice a little difference, but on the pizza I seriously doubt any meat-lover would be able to tell. Below is my recipe for the pizza I created:

Chicken Italian Sausage Pizza
1/2 lb Chicken Italian sausage
1/2 jar Organics marinara sauce (any sauce will do, I just prefer this one when I’m not making my own)
8 – 10 fresh basil leaves
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 orange bell pepper chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
1/2 red onion chopped
1 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp olive oil

Using the crust recipe from above, lay rolled out dough on cookie sheet. The recipe was really easy to make; I even tried tossing the dough in the air a few times after it was rolled out just like the professionals. That is something I’m going to have to work on… Lightly coat the rolled out dough with olive oil. Spread a light layer of marina sauce over the dough and sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.

On the stove, cook chicken Italian sausage. Once cooked, crumble the sausage and spread evenly over the pizza. Add chopped bell peppers, red onion, and garlic. Cover with remaining marinara sauce. Place basil leaves on pizza and cover with remaining mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle half the fresh parmesan on the pizza and bake in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10 – 12 minutes. Watch the pizza closely to make sure the crust isn’t burning. Take it out when the edges are golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese over top of the cooked pizza. Here is my finished product (yes I know it doesn’t have a distinctive shape, but I was going for flavor over shape on this one. I’ll roll it out better next time)
I am really excited to try this recipe again. My roommate who claims she doesn’t like pizza even told me it was really good. You can use any ingredients you want on the pizza, the ones I chose just happen to be some of my favorites. The next time my roommate and I host supper club, we are probably going to do a pizza bar. Our supper club usually consists of ten girls. So we will have ten personal sized pizza doughs rolled out, with a variety of toppings to choose from. The girls will be able to make their own fresh personal pizza. I can’t wait!!

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