Yes, you could just order a pizza and have it delivered, but how fun is that? Been there, done that, right—like at least 5,000 times? Why not throw one together at home for a change and exercise that creative muscle.
We first saw this version in a recent Fine Cooking Magazine article. Now I must admit, Brussels sprouts is not the first topping I think of, nor is it in even in the top ten! And why make the “sausage” yourself when you can buy it already flavored? Truth is, we like a culinary challenge. Plus, you can adjust the seasonings to suit your personal preferences.
It starts with the pizza dough which we bought at the supermarket, but go ahead and make one if you’re so inclined. The recipe calls for one pound, but ours weighed in at about 2/3 of a pound, which, because we prefer thin crust, was not an issue for us. We just knew we’d have to make a few adjustments.
What was bothering me, was putting the veggies slices on the pie without cooking them first. I knew there was no way they’d be tender enough in just a few short minutes in the oven. Therefore I had the brilliant idea to sauté them briefly in the hot sausage fat. Then I returned the cooked sausage to the veggies and kept them all warm while the crust got happy in the oven.
Verdict? It was real good! Now we won’t be so hesitant to think of Brussels sprouts as a pizza topping… Our changes are included in the directions below.
TIP: Sausage can be made ahead and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make sure to rewarm it before topping the pizza.
Brussels Sprouts and Spicy Fennel Sausage Pizza
- 1 lb. pizza dough
- 12 oz. ground pork
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced
- 2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese (8 oz.)
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- Preheat oven to 500°F. Adjust oven rack to lowest position.
- Place dough on a well-oiled 17×13-inch baking pan or a 14-inch pizza pan. Press and stretch the dough to the edges of the pan. Let dough rest 5 minutes. If necessary, stretch dough again to cover pan. (This took me several attempts and at least 30 minutes to accomplish.)
- In a large bowl combine pork, fennel seeds, salt, and crushed red pepper. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop 1/2-inch pieces of meat mixture into the hot skillet. Cook until meat is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, trim bottoms from Brussels sprouts and remove any browned outer leaves. Thinly slice the sprouts.
- Remove sausage from skillet with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add the Brussels sprouts and onion slices to the hot sausage fat. Cook for several minutes until they begin to soften. Place sausage back into skillet with the veggies, turn the heat to low and keep warm.
- Bake the pizza dough on lowest oven rack for 8-10 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Remove crust from oven.
- Top with half the cheese, sausage, Brussels sprouts, onion, and garlic. Add the remaining cheese and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil. Bake 10 to 12 minutes more or until edges are crisp and toppings are browned, turning pan once to ensure even browning. (Because our crust was so thin, and the toppings were warm when we assembled the pie, our pizza only took 5 minutes.)
- If desired, drizzle with additional olive oil before serving.
Loosely adapted from a recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine