I know this one sounds weird, I know. It isn’t though, it’s the nicest pizza I’ve had in ages! Fennel and pork always go well together anyway, and the mascarpone cheese adds a nice creamy sauciness if you, like me, don’t always want your pizza drowned in tomato sauce. Last Sunday, instead of the usual Sunday Roast, I had this bad boy and it really hit the spot. It was the perfect indulgence for an evening on the couch watching TV. I’m in the midst of a bit of a pizza fad at the moment, so I’m experimenting a lot.
To make this pizza work well, you need to buy the best quality sausages possible, as cheap supermarket sausages won’t cut the mustard here. I bought some Wild Boar sausages in my local butchers, Lawlors, and they worked a treat. They cost €5.40 for 500g, but I only needed half the pack (so €2.70). I had some pizza dough from Iago’s in the English Market which only cost €1.80 which I think is really good value and I made two pizzas out of the one ball of dough on two consecutive nights, (so really 90c per pizza base). I also used some leftover mascarpone cheese, some fennel (70c) and some dried herbs from my cupboard. It worked out cheaper than a shop bought pizza, it certainly was much cheaper than ordering a pizza takeaway on-line (about half the price), yet I can assure you it tasted much better, supported local food producers, and was much better for my health than either a processed supermarket or a take-away pizza. It’s an interesting thought as most people automatically assume supporting local, quality food producers will always end up more expensive, but when you’re crafty with leftovers and store cupboard products, you can be surprised how inexpensive a good quality meal can be! So why not give this one a go the next time you get pizza cravings?
1 ball of pizza dough or one plain pizza base
1 bulb of fresh fennel finely sliced
2 large gourmet pork sausages (at least 80% meat content)
4 tbsp mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1. Fry the sliced fennel bulb lightly until soft, be careful not to brown them.
2. In a separate pan fry the sausages gently until cooked through. Then chop them into discs and add to the pan of chopped fennel for a few minutes with the chopped fennel seeds, black pepper and chilli.
3. Roll out your pizza dough on a floured surface until it’s nice and thin. Smear a tablespoon of olive oil over the rolled out dough, and layer on the sliced cooked fennel and the sausage and herb mix. Pop it into an oven preheated to 200C for about 10 to 15 minutes (be careful to keep an eye on these, as they can brown very quickly).
4. When it’s just about done, dollop on the mascarpone and pop back into the oven to allow it to melt nicely on top of the pizza.
5. Slice up and enjoy!