My nephews were over a few weeks ago, and they decided to hang out and spend the afternoon with us. We like that. The previous evening was packed full of indoor and outdoor festivities, so it was nice to sit back, relax, and enjoy the kids while they were still around. It can get a bit hectic with another group of four or more people show up at our house. It can involve lots of cooking (which I like), constant cleanup, and some constant monitoring of all of the kids to make sure no one is getting in trouble and doing things they shouldn’t be doing. But this day, it was pretty relaxed. A fun day in the sun and shade led to some nice fruity drinks, and some time to cook with one of my nephews.
I had some pizza dough rising that I was going to use later in the day, so when I saw one of my nephews come blasting through the door, I took a chance, and asked ‘hey, you feel like making a pizza with me?’. He had that look of curiosity and with his laid back demeanor said ‘sure, uncle Dax’. That is always a winning moment! So I started discussing what we were going to make, how we were going to make it, and got him started.
My nephew began pushing the dough out, with cleans hands that is, and began forming it into as rustic a pizza shape as possible. I would then pick up the dough, and show him how I toss it in the air, singing whatever Italian words I could think of at the time. I think he was entertained, and I think he enjoyed helping with the dough, something he might never had done before.
As I prepared the remaining ingredients, he watched, and asked questions. See I was winning, and he was winning at this point. My only goal here was to make a pizza with ricotta cheese. He was winning because he was probably making his very first pizza using fresh dough.
Lets get started on making this excellent pizza.
- Fresh pizza dough, risen and ready to bake
- Olive oil
- pinch of salt
- pinch of cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup of onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
- Italian sausage, casing removed, cooked
- Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Start by preheating your oven to 475 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, place this in the oven during the preheat period of time.
Take some flour and sprinkle it onto your clean countertop. Take the pizza dough and begin working it into your desired thickness and shape. When the oven is preheated, place your rolled out pizza dough onto the pizza stone. Brush olive oil onto the dough, and place into the oven for about 7 minutes. The dough will begin to bubble, and that is fine. I will use a fork, and just punch the air pocket.
After 7 minutes, slide the pizza stone onto the top of your stove, or a cutting board, and begin working with the rest of the ingredients.
Sprinkle salt and pepper onto the top of the pizza. Next, begin spooning on ricotta cheese on top of the dough and spread it out. Sprinkle with the onions and red pepper flakes.
Top with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese, then finish by topping with the Italian sausage. I like the sausage on top because it caramelizes and gets a bit crispy.
Place this back inside the oven and cook until the cheese and nice and bubbly, and somewhat golden.
Slide the pizza onto your pizza tray, wait a few minutes, then slice into triangles or squares.
Grab your slice right away, because as soon as you bite into this pizza you will be blown away from the textures.
A great garlic crust lends itself nicely into the creaminess of the ricotta cheese, the pull of the mozzarella cheese, and the wonderful fennel flavor of the Italian sausage. I turned my back for about 10 minutes, and when coming back inside the house, the pizza was eaten. Every bit of it. That’s saying something. So next time you are making some homemade pizzas, give this sausage and ricotta cheese pizza a try, it was a two thumbs up from my nephew! Enjoy.