The Recipes

I want pizza, Steve.

Ever see the movie "Multiplicity?"  Then you'll get the reference.

I felt a little down in the dumps and was about to call up my local pizza place, but then I realized I had one of those cans of pizza dough in my fridge!  Hooray.  Normally I'd make my own crust, but I just didn't want to put forth that much effort.

Not-delivery Pizza

Ingredients:

- One tube of pizza dough
- 1/3 of a can of tomato sauce
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 1 T. fennel seeds, toasted
- 2 T. dried oregano
- One link spicy Italian sausage
- 1/4 onion, finely sliced
- 1/4 c. black olives, sliced
- 5 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 c. shredded mozzarella
-  Salt (preferably sea salt)
- Ground black pepper


I rolled out the pizza dough and used a big circular platter to make it even.  Normally, I'm all about the rustic pizza, but I really wanted this perfectly-formed pie that looked more like delivery or cardboard out of a freezer.  I sprinkled the crust with sea salt and cracked black pepper, and pre-baked it, adding 2 minutes to the package instructions because I wanted a crisp crust that would stand up to my ingredients.

Meanwhile, I toasted the fennel seeds in a dry saucepan.  Toasting spices is easy:  throw them in a dry pan, and let them go for 2-3 minutes.  Once you can smell the aroma of the spice, they are ready to go.  I swear that putting fennel on the pizza is the secret to making it taste like the BEST pizza ever:  thin-crust Chicago pizza.  New Yorkers, I love your pizza too, but give me credit for loving the pizza of my youth.

Onto the pre-baked crust, I ladled the tomato sauce, sprinkling the sauce with the spices:  crushed red pepper, dried oregano and the fennel.  I then scattered my chopped ingredients around the pie.  For the sausage, I split it down the side to remove the casing and crumbled it over the pizza.  Finally, I sprinkled the cheese over the top  of the pie and popped it back in the oven.

Perfect comfort food, and cheaper than even the frozen variety.  Plus, I got to put on my tunes and open a bottle of wine before yielding my therapy of choice:  my chef's knife!