Pizza has always been one of my favorites foods. I can’t tell you how much pizza I ate while I was pregnant with my boys. So when Justin found this recipe from the Southern Living magazine and asked me to try it, I was hesitant. I like my pizza with red sauce, a whole lot of cheese, and nothing else.
We weren’t sure we would be able to make the recipe at first because it requires a skillet that can be cooked in the oven, and I don’t have any cast iron skillets yet. I looked up the pans that I do have and found out they are oven safe up to 450. The original recipe says to cook at 500 but since the pans can’t go that high we did 450 and it worked out fine.
A few weeks ago I told a story about Justin getting some fresh home-made sausage from a friend. There was still a bit of it left, so we used that up in this recipe. We had also bought some kale for another recipe so had a bunch of extra.
The original recipe says to purchase a pre-made pizza dough, but I used our homemade pizza recipe to make my own dough. By substituting whole-wheat flour for the all-purpose flour I was able to make a whole-wheat crust as suggested.
When the dough is almost finished, preheat the oven to 450 (or 500 if your pan can handle it) and start browning the sausage in a large skillet. Crumble the sausage and cook until it is no longer pink in the middle. Then remove from the skillet and place on a plate lined with towels.
Don’t wipe the pan out, and add two tablespoons of oil with the sliced onions. Sprinkle with a bit of salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are brown and softened. This usually takes about 10 minutes, then remove from the heat.
In a food processor, combine the kale, basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, two tablespoons of oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Process this until it is smooth and makes a pesto.
Heat a 12-inch oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron if you have it) over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the pan. Then sprinkle with the cornmeal so that it coats the pan as well. The cornstarch gives the crust a slightly sweet flavor that went really well with this meal.
Stretch the dough out so that it covers the pan, including the sides, to create a deep dish crust for the pizza. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the crust for about 2-3 minutes, until it starts to bubble up.
Quickly spread the kale pesto over the crust then top with the sausage, onions, and cheese. The original recipe called for feta cheese, but I don’t like feta, so I used only the mozzarella.
Sprinkle some crushed red pepper over the pizza, and brush the exposed edges of the crust with more olive oil.
Place the entire skillet in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted.
Hearty Sausage and Kale Pesto Pizza
- 1 pizza crust whole-wheat
- 1 lb sausage
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 1 sweet onion
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup kale
- 1 tbsp basil
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp cornmeal
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 3/4 cup feta cheese crumbled
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 450 or 500 (whichever your skillet can handle)
- Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink
- Meanwhile, cut the onion into thin slices
- Remove the sausage from the pan and place on a towel-lined plate
- Without cleaning the pan, add two tablespoons of oil, the sliced onions, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Cook the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until brown and softened then remove from the heat
- In a food processor, combine the kale, basil, parmesan, garlic, 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until smooth
- Heat an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil and cornmeal and swirl to coat the pan
- Stretch the dough over the pan to cover the bottom and sides of the pan
- Cook dough over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until the dough starts to bubble
- Quickly spread the pesto on the dough, then top with the cooked sausage, onions, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, and crushed red pepper
- Brush any exposed crust edges with oil
- Place the entire skillet in the oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted
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