I love pizza. We usually enjoy pizza at least once a week in our house. Many times I just make half cheese for me and half pepperoni for my husband but about once a month I like to make us a gourmet style pizza. It takes a little bit longer then a plain pizza but it's worth the effort. When I make a gourmet pizza I usually like to pair a single meat with several vegetables to give it a wonderful flavor.
I am especially excited to share today's pizza because October is National Pizza Month in the United States! Did you know that? I just found out about it this year but I'm going to use this month to celebrate pizza as much as I can. I found out that National Pizza Month started in 1984. I also read statistics that pizza doesn't really need it's own month since 94% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month! Sounds like a winning food to me.
While I like making my own pizza crust, sometimes it's really time consuming. That's find when I'm making pizza on the weekends but when I'm making it on a work day I need something faster but just as good. I've found that the 99 cent frozen pizza dough at my local market is the best. It tastes very close to homemade, bakes up beautifully, and can stand up to a ton of toppings.
I came up with the idea for the toppings because I had some leftover chorizo in the freezer. It was about half a pound which is just enough for topping a large pizza. I started building from there. I think that peppers are the best pairing for sausage so I took red and green bell peppers and roasted them in the oven. Normally I just put mozarella cheese on pizza but when we do a gourmet pizza night I like to put a combination of Italian cheeses on the pizza. This time I combined Fontinella and Mozzarella cheese. When the pizza came out of the oven I finished it off with fresh arugula to give it a bit of bright green color and spicy flavor.
The pizza was delicious. My husband declared it one of the best pizzas I've made to date. The fresh herbs in with the sauce along with the combination of Italian cheeses was perfect. Then topped with spicy chorizo, roasted peppers, and fresh arugula, it had all the makings of a gourmet pizza we would purchase at an Italian restaurant but with a much cheaper price tag.
Now at our house we like to pair gourmet pizzas with wine. Gallo Family Vineyards has a delicious Merlot that pairs wonderfully with a meat pizza and a Pinot Grigio that pairs well with my favorite chicken pizzas. Since this pizza is topped with spicy chorizo, roasted peppers, and tomato sauce it pairs well with the Gallo Family Vineyards Merlot. With flavors of black cherry, ripe plum, and hints of oak, it's a great pairing for rich tomato sauces, meats, and grilled vegetables. If you'd like to try either of these wines or any of the other Gallo Family Vineyard wines make sure to check out the store locator.
- 2 bell peppers, cut into quarters
- 1 T. olive oil
- ½ lb. chorizo
- Pizza dough
- 2 T. fresh herbs, chopped (I used basil and oregano)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¾ c. tomato sauce
- 1 c. Italian cheeses, shredded (I used Mozzarella and Fontinella)
- 1 c. arugula
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Place the bell pepper quarters, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cut the peppers into thin strips.
- Meanwhile, place the chorizo in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat.
- Spray a pizza pan with cooking spray and stretch the pizza dough to fit the pan. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and garlic. Bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pizza crust from the oven and spread the tomato sauce over top, leaving ½ inch around the edge for the crust.
- Sprinkle the pizza with the cheeses. Top with the chorizo and roasted pepper strips.
- Place the pizza back in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the crust is brown and the cheese is melted.
- Spread the fresh arugula over top of the cooked pizza. Cut into 8 pieces and serve immediately.
Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards.
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Need more ideas for celebrating National Pizza Month? Check out Gallo Family Vineyards’ blog.
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