Thursday, March 19, 2009

As Promised

As promised, here's a (not very good) photo of the pizza I mentioned last week. It was inspired by a recipe I have for a pizza with Sicilian flavors: Spicy Italian pork sausage, pine nuts, and raisins. I used that recipe as a jumping off point and removed the pine nuts (Hubband isn't a fan) and added onions that I first caramelized in some rendered homemade-bacon fat, upped the amount of raisins, and sprinkled on a hint of red chile flakes. Topped with fresh mozzarella, and chopped scallions after coming out of the oven, it's quickly become one of our favorites for its sweet-spicy-salty flavor. 
I tried something new, born of necessity, for my pizza sauce on this pie. Out of cans of good crushed tomatoes, I searched the pantry and found I did have a small can of stewed tomatoes. I crushed them up and added them, along with juices, to a pot with minced garlic, salt, pepper, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I added chopped fresh basil and oregano from our garden at the last minute to preserve their flavor. The vinegar was gorgeous in the sauce; it played up the sweetness of the raisins, rounded out the spice of the sausage, and lent a little acidity, along with the tomatoes, to cut through the richness. The fresh herbal flavors of the basil and oregano also helped to enliven the pizza and play off that richness. The sauce turned out so well that when we made the pizza for the second time last week, I went the stewed tomato route again! It makes a slightly chunky, rustic sauce that just works really well for these toppings. 
No real recipe, as this was purely an exercise in eyeballing amounts. I hope you'll try this flavor combination, if you haven't already!

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