Thursday, September 11, 2014

Antipasto Pepper and Sausage Pizza

One of the things I miss most from my hometown of Rochester, NY is Rubino's. Rubino’s is an Italian grocery store that sells everything from groceries to homemade sausage to pasta rollers. If there’s a store like that here in Atlanta, I haven’t found it yet. So imagine my delight when I received three items from Sarah that reminded me of Rubino’s: Italian style antipasto peppers, marinated mushrooms, and marinated eggplant, made right in Sarah’s town of West Haven, Connecticut. You can find these items at Cosmo's Foods.

It just so happened that a good friend had brought me 5 pounds of Italian Sausage from Rubino’s just a few weeks before I received my goodies from Sarah (yes, Italian sausage makes it through TSA security.) With all of this good stuff in hand, I decided to make an Italian pepper and sausage pizza. To add a little extra crunch, I breaded and deep-fried the marinated eggplant strips to top it off. The result was a little taste of home. I made my own pizza dough and ricotta, but you could certainly use store-bought (making ricotta is so easy-you should try it if you haven’t. It’s about as easy as boiling water, and the result is delicious.)

Antipasto Pepper and Sausage Pizza
by Jennifer

Makes 2 10-inch pizzas

1/2 recipe pizza dough (I used Julie's recipe, found here, but substituted patent flour for the bread flour)
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon fine cornmeal, plus more for dusting surface of pizza peel
Salt and pepper to taste
Cosmo’s marinated eggplant strips (about 1/2 jar), drained
Oil for frying eggplant strips
Olive oil
Ricotta cheese to taste
Mozzarella cheese to taste
Italian sausage, bulk or squeezed out of the casing and broken up before cooking (I used 2 links)
2 Tablespoons (or to taste) Cosmo’s Italian-style antipasto peppers, drained

At least one day before you want the pizza, make the dough. You can also cook the sausage ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready for it.

Mix flour, cornmeal, and salt and pepper to taste in a ziptop bag. Add drained eggplant strips and shake to coat. Deep-fry or shallow fry in oil and drain on paper towels, reserving for after pizza is baked.

Heat oven to 500°F (with a pizza steel in it if you have one) about 1 hour before ready to bake pizza. Stretch the pizza dough and place on a pizza peel generously coated with cornmeal. Drizzle dough with olive oil and top with ricotta, mozzarella, sausage, and drained peppers.

Transfer pizza to the pizza steel and bake for about 7 minutes, or until done to your liking. Top with fried eggplant strips and serve.

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