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Recipe

Sausage and Sweet Pepper Grilled Pizza

Matt Armendariz

Servings: 2-4

Little Italy’s favorite street sandwich—Italian sausage and peppers—comes to life on top of this crispy, smoky pizza crust. This way you get more toppings and less bread. Now that’s amore!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage, taken out of the casings, if necessary
  • 1/4 cup uncooked grits or polenta, for rolling the dough
  • 1 ball prepared pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup Crushed Tomato Sauce
  • 1/4 cup pickled sweet and hot peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

  • Place the sausage in a large, heavy skillet. Sauté over medium heat, breaking up any large pieces, until fully cooked. Alternatively, grill the sausage in its casing and slice before using. Drain on paper towels and reserve for topping.
  • For a gas grill, heat the grill by setting all burners on high. Close the lid and leave on high for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat of all burners to medium.
  • For a charcoal grill, build a fire with 50 to 60 charcoal briquettes. Once the briquettes have become gray-ashed (20 to 30 minutes), bank them to one side on the bottom grate of your grill.
  • While the grill preheats, sprinkle your work surface generously with grits or polenta. We find that a cutting board, the back of a sheet pan, or a pizza peel works best. Place the dough in the middle of the surface and roll in the grits until the ball is evenly dusted. Drizzle the dough generously with oil (the oil helps generate the crispy crust). Then roll out the dough with a rolling pin, stretch it out with your hands, or press it out from the center against the work surface. Your ultimate goal is to get the dough 1/8 to  1/4 inch thick. Shape your dough according to your grill configuration (long and narrow if you have a three-burner gas grill or charcoal grill; rounder if you have a two- or four-burner gas grill). Don’t worry about making it perfect—organically shaped crusts are part of the charm of grilled pizza.
  • Pick up the dough by the two corners closest to you. In one motion, lay it down flat on the cooking grate from back to front (as you would set a tablecloth down on a table); if using a charcoal grill, place it on the side opposite the fire. Close the lid and grill for 3 minutes (no peeking!) If using a charcoal grill, rotate the crust 180 degrees and continue grilling until the bottom is well marked and evenly browned, another 2 to 3 minutes. If using a gas grill, check the bottom of the crust; it may be nicely browned already.
  • Use tongs to transfer the crust to a peel or rimless baking sheet, grilled side up. Close the grill.
  • Spread the entire surface of the crust with the sauce. Top with the sausage and peppers, then sprinkle with the cheeses.
  • If using a gas grill, switch the grill to indirect heat by turning off the center burner(s) if you have a three- or four-burner grill. For a two-burner grill, turn off one burner.
  • Set the pizza back on the grill over indirect heat (the unlit section) and grill, with the lid down, until the bottom is well browned and the cheese is melted, another 7 to 10 minutes. If using a charcoal grill or two-burner gas grill, rotate the pizza halfway through the cooking time.
  • Remove the pizza from the grill and season with salt and pepper. Slice and serve immediately.

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