Caprese-Style Sausage Pizza

I found lots of Pinterest entries for caprese pizza, but they were all devoid of my favorite pizza topping, sausage. Also, they usually made it look impressive with a balsamic glaze to go over the top. I like skipping the sauce for this pizza and just putting oil and balsamic vinegar UNDER the cheese.

I start with fresh ingredients – which during the winter can be expensive so it becomes a special treat, but during the summer it’s affordable and so delicious and easy.

It’s especially easy if you start with Chris’s Pizza Crust – which rises while you add the toppings, so you’re not waiting forever to bake it. Yeah, you can buy a pizza crust or a mix for crust, but it won’t taste as good and his crust is as easy as a mix, if you ask me.

Fresh mozzarella cheese is the extra-white looking, squishy ball of cheese you can get in the deli area of the grocery store. It’s not the block you get in the dairy isle. It has a completely different texture and is totally necessary for this recipe. I also like buying the vine-ripened tomatoes in the winter (they might say hot house) because they are the closest you are going to get to flavor when they are so far out of season. Red onions are always good, and provide a great sweetness when they bake in the oven. Either mild or hot Italian sausage is good, depending on your heat preferences. If you want it even hotter, it wouldn’t be out of line to add pickled peppers.

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Yields6 Servings

 1 pizza crust
 2 tbsp olive oil, or to taste
 1 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar, or to taste
 a small handful fresh basil
 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
 4 oz Italian sausage, mild or hot
 ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
 ¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
 2 (on-the-vine) tomatoes, sliced
 ¼ cup roasted red peppers, sliced
 2 pickled hot peppers (pepperoncini), sliced; optional

1

Preheat oven to 450°F.

2

Pour the olive oil in the center of the center of the crust and spread it outward in a spiral motion. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over that, then sprinkle with basil.

3

Spread out the slices of fresh mozzarella and then proceed with the rest of toppings to your liking. The sausage just needs to be on top, as we are not cooking it in advance. This you just crumble up in your hand and drop it over the pizza so it's distributed fairly evenly.

4

Once you're happy with your toppings, pop it the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. The sausage will get cooked, I promise.

5

When you take it out of the oven (according to how well done you like your cheese), allow to cool for a couple of minutes before slicing it. Serve with a salad (because, salad) or whatever your favorite pizza side.

Ingredients

 1 pizza crust
 2 tbsp olive oil, or to taste
 1 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar, or to taste
 a small handful fresh basil
 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
 4 oz Italian sausage, mild or hot
 ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
 ¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
 2 (on-the-vine) tomatoes, sliced
 ¼ cup roasted red peppers, sliced
 2 pickled hot peppers (pepperoncini), sliced; optional

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 450°F.

2

Pour the olive oil in the center of the center of the crust and spread it outward in a spiral motion. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over that, then sprinkle with basil.

3

Spread out the slices of fresh mozzarella and then proceed with the rest of toppings to your liking. The sausage just needs to be on top, as we are not cooking it in advance. This you just crumble up in your hand and drop it over the pizza so it's distributed fairly evenly.

4

Once you're happy with your toppings, pop it the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. The sausage will get cooked, I promise.

5

When you take it out of the oven (according to how well done you like your cheese), allow to cool for a couple of minutes before slicing it. Serve with a salad (because, salad) or whatever your favorite pizza side.

Caprese-Style Sausage Pizza

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