Sausage and Red Pepper Mini Deep-Dish Pizza


Santa had our passion for pizza in mind this year, as he brought Cath a set of four mini deep-dish pizza pans from Williams-Sonoma.  (Apparently, the elves needed to save a little time this year!)  To test them we decided to make this delicious pizza with some of our favorite ingredients.  The red peppers were sauteed rather than roasted, but their smoky sweetness was still tremendous with the tang of the hot Italian sausage.  We also upped the flavor of the tomatoes with a hit of balsamic vinegar.  For us, it’s a must.  As an accompaniment, I also enjoyed a Samuel Adams Boston Lager, using the new Sam Adams glasses which Santa brought me!  This dinner was delicious, and we owe it to to the fat man.  Thanks, Santa!

Ingredients for pizza crust:

  • 1 cup very warm water
  • 1 pkg bread yeast (2-1/2 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3/4 cups all purpose bread flour

Ingredients for pizza topping:

  • 3-1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • Kosher and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 slices provolone cheese
  • 1/4 lb mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar


In the bowl of food processor, combine the yeast, water and honey and whisk by hand until dissolved.  Let stand for 5 minutes to proof, then add the olive oil, flour and salt.  Using dough blade, pulse several times to mix.  Turn on food processor and allow processor to run until all the flour has been incorporated into one piece, then allow to run for one minute longer.

Note: If not using food processor, combine 3/4 cup flour and yeast mixture in bowl, and mix with electric mixer for three minutes.  Add remaining flour, approximately 1/4 cup at a time, and mix with wooden spoon.  When mixture becomes too stiff to mix, empty onto floured countertop, and knead in remaining flour.  Knead for ten minutes.

Divide dough into four equal sized balls.  Wrap and freeze 2 for later use.  Place the remaining 2 in a warm place, and allow to rise for two hours.

Meanwhile, prepare topping.  In a saute pan over medium heat, warm 1 tbsp of the olive oil.  Add the bell pepper slices, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cook until soft and lightly carmelized, 5 to 7 minutes.  Transfer the peppers to a bowl.

For the tomato sauce, combine the tomatoes and tomato paste in a bowl, stirring gently until the paste is dissolved into the juices.  Add the dried basil and oregano, along with the balsamic vinegar, and stir gently.  Set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat, add the sausage and cook, breaking the meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the sausage to a separate bowl.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.

Divide the remaining olive oil among 2 of the mini deep-dish pans, thoroughly greasing each pan.  Place a dough ball in each pan, and using your fingers, press the dough in an even layer across the bottom and up the sides of the pans.

Place 1 provolone slice on each dough round.  Top with the mozzarella, bell peppers and sausage, dividing evenly.  Using the back of a spoon, spread the tomato sauce on top of each pizza.  Finally, sprinkle the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano over each pizza.

Bake the pizzas until the crusts are golden, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Remove the pizzas from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.  Makes 2 mini deep-dish pizzas.



2 Responses to Sausage and Red Pepper Mini Deep-Dish Pizza

  1. Sister2U says:

    Now those little gifts sound fabulous! Did you make one with each family member’s favorite ingredients? The only thing I frown on is the prep time of the dough. Do you think I can cram a p[re-made Boboli crust into those little pans? lol.

    Love the idea of adding balsamic vinegar to the tomato sauce though. I’m a huge fan of balsamic vinegar!

  2. Nate says:

    Yes, everybody gets what they want out of these little gems. The girls are getting really good about trying new foods, but they’re still not ready for some of the things Mom and Dad like. This way we get personalized service, and it really isn’t any more effort than making a single pizza. I think you should get yourself going on making your own pizza dough. It’s easy to do, and – while I do like Boboli crusts – you’ll spoil yourself for most anything else. I read a restaurant review tonight for a Black Sheep Pizza in Minneapolis, and apparently they use a hint of rye flour in their crusts. I’m intrigued, and I may have to do some experimentation. Long live the pie!

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