October is national pizza month, and although I honestly have been a little too busy closing up our two houses and with our olive harvest to celebrate it as I wanted to, I did manage to create this pizza using some of my favorite fall ingredients. Pumpkin, sage, and sausage work together well, whether they are used in a pasta dish, a tasty stew, or on a pizza such as this one. I also included Taleggio cheese which is an Italian cheese that melts really well and has a subtle musty, yet delicious flavor. It is also my favorite Italian cheese!
I make my own pizza dough using THIS recipe, but if you are short on time, feel free to use a store bought pizza dough. I also prefer a very fresh tasting tomato sauce for my pizza and use either Mutti or Pomi brand chopped tomatoes. I do not cook my sauce, but simply add some finely chopped garlic, dried oregano, fresh basil, salt, pepper, red chili flakes, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. I find it best to roast the pumpkin first since the baking time is quite short and you want to ensure that the pumpkin is very tender. I also precook my sausage before I use it on pizza again to ensure it is fully cooked.
Here in Umbria, it is much more common to pair a tasty pizza with beer rather than with wine, and if you dining at a pizzeria you will even see 80 year old Nonna’s enjoying a cold beer with their pizza. Our favorite brand of beer at home is Moretti beer, and it works amazingly well with any type of pizza you match it with.
Deborah Mele 2013
- 1 (14 Ounce) Can Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- Salt & Pepper To Taste,
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
- 2 Teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive OIl
- 6 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
- 2 Cups Diced Fresh Pumpkin
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 3 Links Italian Sausage, Casings Removed
- 8 Medium Fresh Sage Leaves, Torn
- 4 Ounces Taleggio Cheese, Diced
- 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 2 (8 ounce) Balls Pizza Dough
- In a bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients then stir well, cover, and let set for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Lightly toss the diced pumpkin with two tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Spread the pumpkin out onto a baking sheet, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning over halfway, until the pumpkin is tender and lightly browned. I
- In a frying pan or skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil, and cook the sausage until no longer pink.
- Season with black pepper and set aside. Preheat your oven to the highest setting (usually 500 degrees F.).
- For Each Pizza: On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to press your dough out to a 12 inch circle.
- Lightly cover a baking sheet (or pizza peel if using a pizza stone) with cornmeal, and place the dough on top.
- Lightly brush the outer edge of the pizza with olive oil, then spoon some of the sauce into the center and smooth with the back of a spoon, leaving a 1 inch border all around.
- Scatter half the two cheeses over the sauce, then scatter half the pumpkin and sausage over that.
- Scatter the sage leaves over the pizza, and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
- Finish the second pizza in the same fashion and serve immediately after baking.