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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pizza Night

Mushroom, turkey sausage, spinach whole wheat pizza

I love having my whole wheat pizza dough ready to be pulled from the freezer for pizza night.  The only request from the hubby regarding toppings for tonight's pizza was for "mushrooms" so I started there-I had some buttons and shiitakes in the fridge.  Also there was some nice turkey Italian sausage in the freezer, so that came out and into the fridge last night with the dough ball.

Dough ball from the freezer

Last weeks produce box had some beautiful tomatoes that are more than ready to be used so I thought I'd make my own sauce (that way I could guarantee no added sugar!).  We always have some sort of shredded cheese on hand and I had some spinach, OK, good to go.

I noodled over how to get a strong, earthy mushroom flavor and avoid the sogginess from raw mushrooms releasing their water while the pizza bakes.  I don't often use butter but there are some times when nothing else will do!  Sauteing the mushrooms in butter and olive oil, with truffle salt and wine and allowing them reduce down and concentrate all their flavor gave me a nice mushroom base for the pizza, and no soggy mess.

My pizza dough recipe is here

This makes 6 robust or 8 modest size pieces of pizza.  For 6 slices, each slice is approximately 323 calories, 22.5 grams carbs, 18 grams fat, 18 grams protein

3 medium sized ripe tomatoes, quartered-about 3 cups
1 TBSP olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
2 tsp dried oregano

Heat the olive oil over low and add garlic, cooking to soften, not brown, the garlic. 
Place the tomatoes in food processor or blender (I used my blender-it was out on the counter) and puree.  Add to pan with garlic.  Stir in oregano and bring to gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer for an hour until concentrated.
Oh, my!  Such aromas and flavor!

4 oz mushrooms of your choice, chopped
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP butter, divided
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup white wine (I used a dry Riesling from Washington State)
1 tsp truffle or regular salt

Melt 1 TBSP of the butter in the olive oil over med-high heat, until butter starts to brown.  Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, or until they release their water. 

Add the thyme, salt, remaining butter and wine, turn the heat to low and let them just simmer until they absorb all the liquid (and flavor), about 15 minutes.

Follow the directions in the original recipe for preparing the dough.

2 links mild turkey Italian sausage, casings removed, meat crumbled and cooked until brown
2 Cups fresh spinach, wilted for 2 minutes in splash of olive oil over med-high heat; when cooked squeeze any excess liquid out between paper towels
1 1/2 cups (or more if you prefer) grated cheese (part skim mozzarella or whatever you like)
Italian seasonings

Cornmeal for dusting

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a cornmeal dusted pizza stone inside.  Spread the sauce over the stretched dough positioned on a cornmeal dusted pizza paddle or directly on the pan you'll be cooking with if not using a pizza stone.  BTW, you can read a great article on using pizza stones here.

Add your toppings, remember don't overload!! 

Brush the outside rim with olive oil and bake for 7 minutes or until bubbly and the crust is to your desired crispness (if not using a pizza stone, it could be twice as long or more).

Our mushroom, sausage, spinach pizza with homemade sauce was great.  The concentrated tomato and garlic flavor in the sauce was incredible.  I loved the mushrooms although next time, I think I'll try truffle oil as I didn't really get enough of the truffle essence I was hoping for.  Enjoy!


  1. Sounds sooooo savory and delicious. How long did you have to cook the tomato sauce? I've made sauce from fresh tomatoes, but it always came out watery :-(. What's your trick?
    Now I want pizza tonight....

  2. Susie- can you invite me over the next time you make pizza? Om nom nom!!! Looks soo much better than takeout and I loved your choice of ingredients, especially the made from scratch tomato sauce.

  3. @Steph-I just keep in simmering very low until it is as concentrated as I want-for this pizza, I cooked it an hour. For sauce for pasta maybe 30 minutes (depends on how watery the tomatoes are)

    @Arlene-you bet! That will be a long flight, eh?