Last week I had one of those meals that will change the way I eat for a long time. The food I made was pizza. I know what you are thinking…pizza is a life changing food? Since when? Seriously, this pizza goes to a whole other level and my husband totally agrees with me.
It starts with homemade pizza crust, which I already know elevates the taste of any homemade pizza. Then it’s topped off with a spicy vodka sauce. Mozzarella cheese, roasted tomatoes and sausage are spread across the sauce. Then a dusting of Parmesan cheese goes on top.
The funny thing is that I’m not a big fan of sausage. Plus I don’t really like tomatoes unless they are in a sauce. But something about the combination of vodka sauce, caramelized tomatoes, and sausage made this pizza something special. It was seriously the best pizza I’ve ever eaten! My husband asked me to make it again almost everyday for a week until I gave in and made it for us. It’s that good!
I love that it’s simple enough to make anytime but the flavors are complex enough to serve this for company. I think next time we have a party this will be on the menu for sure!
Pizza alla Vodka (slightly adapted from Pink Parsley)
For the roasted tomatoes:
1 c. halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1 T. olive oil
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
For the vodka sauce:
1 T. butter
1/2 onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
2 T. tomato paste
1 (14 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 c. vodka
1/2 c. fat free half and half
For the Pizza:
1 lb. homemade pizza dough
cornmeal, for sprinkling
2 links Italian sausage
1 c. mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a small baking dish toss the tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake at 475 degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 7 or 8 minutes during baking. Watch the tomatoes during the last 10 minutes as they will quickly go from caramelized to burnt.
2. Meanwhile, make the vodka sauce. In a medium skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute.
3. Add in the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the vodka and cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the half and half.
4. Remove the sausage from the casings and crumble into a small skillet over medium heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until it is browned and cooked through.
5. Sprinkle a pizza pan with cornmeal. Stretch the dough to fit the pan. Spread 3/4 of a cup of vodka sauce over the dough. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Then top with sausage and toasted tomatoes. Finish with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
6. Bake at 475 degrees for 15-17 minutes, turning halfway through baking, until the crust is brown.
7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Slide off of the pizza pan and cut into 8 slices.