Not Your Mama’s Pizza! – this may not be your run of the mill, everyday, ordinary mama’s pizza but it is my mama’s pizza…………….. well, kind of………….
You see I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s in the Midwest where dinner wasn’t dinner unless it had all the elements of the royal trinity – meat, potatoes and veggies – and my mom stuck to these rules quite religiously. Living in a small town in Wisconsin, everyone ate their big meal of the day at noon……………. and I mean precisely noon; there was a whistle that would blow and let me tell you, that whistle could be heard in every crook and cranny of town. When it sounded, we knew that if we were climbing trees, building forts, splashing in the creek, playing dress up or WHATEVER it was we were up to, it was time to RUN home and wash our grubby little hands because on the table would always be waiting…. yep, you guessed it – a hearty lunch of meat, potatoes and vegetables.
So I guess you could say that my mom was the inspiration for this unique pizza since it does fall into her definition of a meal! It starts out with a pesto base, a shower of delicious shredded cheese, a scattering of sausage, applewood bacon, Italian dry salami, diced potatoes and fresh tomatoes. One more layer of cheese, this time diced fresh mozzarella, is the last step before the pizza visits a piping hot oven where a metamorphysis occurs! ……………eight minutes later this yummy pizza emerges all golden and fabulously fragrant. The grand finalé is s sprinkle of dazzling green, herb/garlic infused tiny peas. This may not be your mama’s pizza but it is a fun, delicious, beautiful to behold twist on an old-fashioned classic combination. We love it and I’m thinking you will too!
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon each, finely chopped fresh basil and fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup cooked, cooled, diced potatoes (bite size pieces)*
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces Italian sausage, crumbled, cooked and drained (I like Johnsonville brand)
6 ounces apple wood smoked bacon, diced in medium dice, cooked and drained
2 ounces thinly sliced Dry Italian Salami, cut each piece in quarters, you can find this at most grocers in the deli section, I like this brand as it comes sliced very thin and has a delicious herb/pepper coating
1 medium fresh tomato, cut in 1/4 inch slices
1 ball of pizza dough, this recipe or purchase a ball of dough**
3 tablespoons pesto***
6 ounces shredded Italian style cheese
4 ounces fresh Mozzarella, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Get a few things ready before you actually start assembling your pizza…….. Preheat oven with pizza stone**** on middle shelf to 450˚F.
2. Place the 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a small microwave safe bowl or measuring cup. Add the garlic and the fresh herbs and heat on high or 10 seconds, stir and repeat for another 10 seconds. You should have unleashed a lovely garlic/herb aroma. Add frozen peas and a pinch of sea salt to oil/herb mixture and stir to coat. Set aside while you prepare pizza; peas will infuse with delicious garlic/herb flavor.
3. Get your pizza peel ready by covering it with a sheet of parchment paper approximately the same size as the peel. Sprinkle the parchment paper lightly with corn meal.
4. Place sliced tomatoes on several thicknesses of paper towel. Cover with two thicknesses of paper towel and pat lightly. Set aside.
5. Place diced potatoes in a small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and a grind of fresh ground pepper, toss to coat.
6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 14 inch circle. Fold dough in quarters, transfer to prepared pizza peel and unfold. You may have to re-shape your circle just a bit once you have it in place on the peel.
7. Spread pesto over dough leaving a 1 inch border. Cover pesto with shredded Italian cheese, then evenly distribute sausage, bacon, dry Italian salami, tomatoes and potatoes. Lastly scatter the cubed fresh mozzarella over the top along with a few grinds of fresh ground pepper.
8. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown. (I have a convection oven and it takes 8 minutes, time will vary from oven to oven. I recommend setting a timer for 7 minutes, checking and then adjusting accordingly)
*I like to use the tiny potatoes from Trader Jo’s. I just cut them in half and they are perfect for this pizza. If you use larger potatoes, just cut them into small pieces.
**You can purchase pizza dough at many groceries now days. In my area Whole Foods and Trader Jo’s both carry delicious dough. You can also check with your local pizzeria – they often will sell their dough for a very reasonable price.
***There’s really nothing like homemade pesto but I don’t always have the time and it can get quite expensive with the good Parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil so I often will purchase it in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco (it’s good!) and divide it into small containers. I freeze it and when I’m ready to use it, I just pull it out and microwave for a minute or so just to begin to soften it. I scoop out what I need, drizzle the surface with a bit of olive oil and return to freezer. This way I keep pesto on hand all year long.