Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pizza: Spinach and Sausage

Summertime is made for pizza and decks and cold beer. Ideally, that is. In a perfect world, Clive and I would have eaten this pizza on the deck late one evening while the weather cooled off and the dog hunted bees. We would have sat outside, chatting and watching twilight set in. In reality, however, we ate this on the living room floor as we huddled around the coffee table. Are we really that lazy that we couldn't have walked the extra 10 feet to get outside to glorious summer?


No, we are not that lazy. We live in Seattle, and I made this pizza as consolation for the fact that it was August and raining. A lot.

So while pizza may be made for summertime, it's also good for rainy days.
This was a fun pizza to make, and it evolved as it went. There's a thin layer of roasted tomato paste on the bottom that intensifies the flavor, but doesn't overwhelm or compete with the other flavors. I used my (clean!) fingers to spread it around because the back of the spoon wasn't cutting it.

The tomato paste was followed by a thin, think layer of grated gruyere and a layer of tomatoes. That's the other wonderful thing about summer: fresh tomatoes. I have tomato plants on the deck, but they're ... a bit lackluster. I have five plants, and I'm on track to harvest four tomatoes. I'd like to blame the plants or the weather, but I'm getting closer and closer to acknowledging that perhaps, just maybe, I don't have a green thumb. The farmers' market, fortunately, fills that gap nicely.

I steamed spinach and cooked down onions and sausage and piled that on top of the tomatoes. Grated Parmesan topped it off.

When it came out of the oven, it looked like this. It didn't look like this for very long, though, because as soon as it was safe to eat without burning the roofs of our mouth, we devoured it.

Poof. Just like that, it's gone.

Spinach and Sausage Pizza
1 recipe pizza dough
1 T roasted tomato paste
1/4 c gruyere
2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1 lb spinach, wilted
3/4 lb sausage, casings removed (or bulk sausage)
1 onion, sliced
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 c parmesan

  1. Spread or roll our your pizza dough and cover the top with the tomato paste. Don't be afraid to use your hands to spread the tomato paste into a thin, even layer. Sprinkle the gruyere over the top, then evenly space the tomatoes.
  2. In a pan over medium heat, sautee the onions and sausage until the onions are translucent and the sausage is browned. Add the spinach to the pan along with 1/4 c water and cover. Keep an eye on it, but cook until the spinach is wilted - 2-3 minutes.
  3. Squish the excess water out of the spinach as you transfer the mixture to a bowl. (If you don't squish out the water, the pizza crust will end up soggy and icky.)
  4. Spread the sausage, onion, spinach mixture over the tomatoes, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Crumble the goat cheese evenly over the top and grate Parmesan over the whole pizza.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crust is dark golden brown and the cheese is lightly toasted.

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