Food is a big thing for my family on the holidays. If I were back home right now (in Wisconsin), I would be at my aunt and uncle’s house and there would be a huge spread of food. (Ham and turkey and my grandma’s famous mashed potatoes, amongst other things.) Then after dinner and present-opening, we would return to my mom’s house to unwrap more presents and watch Going My Way with my dad.
Tomorrow I would be eating the traditional Baked French Onion Soup and Prime Rib and then going out to see a Christmas-Day movie.
Instead I’m in Portland with my dad and my dogs. Tomorrow I’m making a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner – well a close to Thanksgiving dinner, anyway. Because of all the cooking I’ll be doing tomorrow, I had to keep Christmas Eve dinner simple. Pizza is about as simple as I get.
- ½ recipe Semolina Pizza Dough
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, cooked
- 8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced and cooked
- 10 to 15 oz pizza sauce
- ¾ lb shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
- parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- dried basil, thyme, oregano, Italian seasoning or whatever you prefer
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Roll out dough to form a circle slightly larger than the size of the dish you’re using (I used a 10.75-inch deep dish pizza stone). Oil or butter the inside of the stone. (I used butter. I heated the stone while I was preheating the oven then swirled a pat of butter around.) Place the dough in the stone or baking dish, packing excess dough to the sides of the pan.
- Spread olive oil over the dough then layer mozzarella cheese, mushroom, additional cheese, sausage, pizza sauce and another layer of cheese. Top with salt and pepper, herbs and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn the oven up to 450 and bake for 15 or 20 additional minutes or until the crust is golden brown, sauce is bubbling and cheese is beginning to brown.
I’m getting close to perfecting this recipe. The same damn thing plagues me every time: The innards get watery. This time I completely cooked the sausage and mushrooms ahead of time but still ended up with a watery looking sauce (could tell the moment I pulled it from the oven). So I took a turkey baster and sucked some of the watery tomato sauce from the sides. I’d like to not have to drain my pizza before eating it. The good news is, the taste was perfection.