Tag Archives: Pizza

Sausage, Fennel & Mascarpone Pizza

Sausage, Fennel and Mascarpone Pizza
Sausage, Fennel and Mascarpone Pizza
A Tasty Slice
A Tasty Slice

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?

Delicious Flavour Combination
Delicious Flavour Combination

Ingredients:

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

tbsp oil

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!

Just A Few Ingredients Needed
Just A Few Ingredients Needed
Once Cooked Slice Sausages Into Discs
Once Cooked Slice Sausages Into Discs
Return To The Pan With Fennel Seeds, Garlic, Chilli and Black Pepper
Return To The Pan With Fennel Seeds, Garlic, Chilli and Black Pepper
Top The Pizza Base and Pop in Oven
Top The Pizza Base and Pop in Oven
Add The Mascarpone A Minute Before Taking Out Of The Oven To Serve
Add The Mascarpone A Minute Before Taking Out Of The Oven To Serve
Ready To Serve
Ready To Serve

Homemade Pizza

Home Made Pizza
Home Made Pizza

Last Friday I decided to be very good and make a home-made pizza from scratch! The dough and everything! It always seemed so difficult, but in fact it’s really easy. While you do have to leave the dough for an hour or so to rise, you can make a big batch and it will hold in the fridge for a few days. Alternatively you could freeze individual portions of the dough and defrost them when you need. Don’t let the long instructions put you off, it’s actually easy.

I decided to make mine whole wheat as I was being healthy (well.. kind of, a made this after a few mojitos), but if the thought of whole wheat pizza dough feels sacrilegious to you, just use plain white flour in the exact same way.

I decided to keep my topping simple, but it was really tasty. I made a light tomato sauce, added some Gubbeen Smokehouse Chorizo, Toonsbridge dairy mozzarella and basil. By now most people are aware of my obsession of all things from Gubbeen, especially their chorizo and smoked cheese, but not many people are aware of Toonsbridge Dairy. It’s an amazing dairy set up by the people who run The Real Olive Stall in The English Market, Cork. They basically imported a herd of buffalo and are making Irish mozzarella and ricotta and it’s the nicest mozzarella I have ever had! I think all our rain must make the grass really juicy and the milk really milky!

Of course you can just put whatever toppings you want on your pizza, but I recommend trying the pizza sauce.

My Heart Shaped Pizza
My Heart Shaped Pizza

Ingredients (makes two big pizzas):

For the dough base:

400g Whole-wheat flour

40g Plain Flour (for kneading)

1 tsp honey

1 tsp salt

10g active dry yeast

1 tbsp olive oil

350ml warm water

Handful chopped fresh basil

For the sauce:

Large handful cherry tomatoes

pinch salt

pinch chilli

pinch black pepper

1/2 tsp honey

handful chopped fresh basil

Toppings:

1 ball Toonsbridge mozerlla

Chopped chorizo (allow about an index finger sized piece per person)

Fresh basil leaves

1. In a large bowl, mix the honey with warm water until melted and sprinkle yeast over the top. Let stand for about 15 minutes, until it’s foamy on top.

2. Stir the olive oil and salt into the water and then gradually add all your whole wheat flour until it starts to resemble a dough. At this point add in your fresh basil.  Use the white flour to cover the surface you are using to form your pizza dough. Knead your dough on this until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth. You can add more white dough if you need too.  At this point you may begin to wonder why you bothered, but I promise it comes together very well.. just be patient!

3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. I went for cocktails, came back 3 hours later and it was still perfect!

4. When the dough is doubled, place it back out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for two pizza bases. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.

5. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further, you don’t want it too thick or it will be bready, make the bases thin. Place on a well oiled pizza pan. I advise letting it cook for about 5 minutes and then take it out and put on the toppings before putting back in to cook.

6. For the sauce, just blitz all the ingredients in a blender and pour on to the pizza base.

7. Lightly fry chorizo before putting it on the pizza, and chop up the mozzarella and sprinkle over the top. I poured the oil from the chorizo on  top of the sauce for added flavour.

8. Put back in oven and let cook for about 15 minutes depending on thickness etc. Serve with the fresh basil on top.

Let the Yeast Foam First

Let the Yeast Foam First
Add Fresh Basil to Dough
Add Fresh Basil to Dough
Oil Dough and Let to Stand
Oil Dough and Let to Stand
Let The Dough Double
Let The Dough Double
Break Dough in Two and Let Stand

Break Dough in Two and Let Stand
Let The Dough Raise Again
Let The Dough Raise Again
Roll Out Dough and Blitz Sauce
Roll Out Dough and Blitz Sauce
Fry Chorizo
Fry Chorizo
Top Pizza with Sauce, Chorizo and Chorizo Oil
Top Pizza with Sauce, Chorizo and Chorizo Oil
Add Mozzarella
Add Mozzarella
Finished Product
Finished Product