sun-dried tomato & sausage pizza


Happy 2019! Once again, it’s been quite some time since I’ve posted, but I am going to say that once a year is acceptable (right…?). I really want to try to be more consistent, but no promises… I have been constantly cooking of course, but it’s been hard to find the time to photograph and write. And though, these are admittedly very far from my best photos, this recipe is for sure still worth blogging about. A lazy Sunday at home has allowed me the time to actually write this up!

I know that typically January is when everyone is committing to clean eating, so I apologize in advance for making that commitment a little more difficult. I just find it really hard not to cook some not-so-clean, delicious, carb-and-cheese-based dinners when the weather is cold and icky.

One of myself and Mike’s favorite weekend meals is this cavatelli recipe. This is basically that, but put into pizza form. What dish isn’t just as good or even better when made into a pizza!? My favorite part of this recipe is that baking the sun-dried tomatoes makes them basically melt in your mouth. I also want to note that this would be just as delicious without the sausage if you are looking for a vegetarian take on this!

Sun-dried tomato & sausage pizza

Ingredients

  • 1/2-lb. homemade or store-bought pizza dough (I used store-bought)
  • 1/2-lb. spicy Italian sausage
  • 8 oz. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, julienned (Trader Joe’s are my favorite because they’re already julienned, so no messy, oily slicing!)
  • Quick pizza sauce (or you can opt for jarred, I won’t judge)
    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
    • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 Tbsp. red or white wine
    • pinch of sugar
    • 1 tsp. dried basil
    • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 8 oz. burrata cheese (again, Trader Joe’s has delicious and relatively cheap burrata)
  • 1/2 c. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • crushed red pepper flakes, for topping

Method

Preheat the oven to 450 F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the quick pizza sauce: Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir constantly for ~1-2 minutes until garlic softens, but does not brown. Add the wine and stir constantly for another 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce, sugar, basil, and oregano. Turn heat down to low and simmer while preparing the dough and sausage.

To make the sausage, heat the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove sausage from the casings and break up into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned, ~7-10 minutes.

Next, roll out the dough on a well floured board until it is ~1/2-inch thick. Spread the tomato sauce out on the dough, leaving a 1-inch border for the crust. (You will not need all the tomato sauce — the 15 oz. can is actually enough for two pizzas). Distribute the sausage and sun-dried tomatoes evenly over the sauce. Then break up the ball of burrata with your hands and distribute that as well.

Bake the pizza for 15 minutes. After removing from the oven, top with the Pecorino, basil, and some red pepper flakes if you like more spice.

Enjoy!

Original recipe inspired by cavatelli with spicy sausage & sun-dried tomatoes

How I eat it: Fresh out of the oven with a glass of red wine (& maybe the next day for lunch… with another glass of red wine…)


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cavatelli with spicy sausage & sun-dried tomatoes


This is the post for my little brother who’s off being a college kid.  It’s weird not having him around all the time — now I know how he felt when I went off to school!  For his last home-cooked meal of the summer I made a pasta dish that has become one of my family’s favorites.  It definitely ranks in my top five favorite dishes.  The original version of this dish is one of Giada DeLaurentis’ recipes that I found on foodnetwork.com.

I love that you cook the sausage in the oil that the jarred sun-dried tomatoes are packed in.  It just adds something extra to the already spicy and flavorful sausage.

Giada uses fusilli pasta, but the ricotta cavatelli is one my favorite changes I’ve made to the dish.  If you haven’t tried cavatelli you MUST.  Mike introduced this pasta to me because it is one of his favorites.  It’s so rich and tender – it’s now one of my favorites too!  If I hadn’t decided to make this dish for him one day, I wouldn’t have thought to change the pasta.  So this addition to the recipe is thanks to Mike!  Most grocery stores carry frozen bags, but I’ve also gotten fresh cavatelli at Italian specialty stores.

 

Cavatelli with Spicy Sausage & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen cavatelli
  • 1 7.5 oz. jar of oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes sliced, oil reserved
  • 1 lb. hot Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, drained and cubed
  • salt and pepper

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Heat about 2 tablespoons of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the sausages and cook until browned, breaking up the meat into bite-sized pieces. (I usually do this step by squeezing the sausage meat out of the casing into the skillet and breaking it up with a wooden spoon once the meat starts to brown.) Transfer the sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

This is usually the best point to add the cavatelli to the pot of boiling water. Cook until tender, but still firm to the bite, about 2-3 minutes for fresh pasta and 5-7 minutes for frozen. Drain the pasta.

In the same skillet from which you removed the sausage, add the garlic and sauté until tender.  Then, add the broth, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes.  Raise the heat to medium-high and boil until the sauce reduces slightly.

Add the pasta, sausage, basil, and parsley to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the mozzarella right before serving so that the cheese does not become too stringy.

Serve with grated Parmesan.

Recipe adapted from Giada DeLaurentis via foodnetwork.com

How I eat it: with a hot and crusty loaf of bread on the side.