I seem to be on a Brussels sprouts kick recently, using them in pasta with salty guanciale, shredded in a salad with grated Pecorino cheese and walnuts, or as a side dish roasted with crumbled Italian sausage. In Italy where vegetables are much more seasonal in their availability, they are usually available only in the fall. Here in the states where sprouts are available year round, I buy them often. When buying sprouts, choose firm, bright green heads that show no splitting, or browning. The smaller sprouts are more tender and sweet, so bigger is not always better. To store sprouts, loosely wrap them in paper and then place them in a plastic bag. Store in the vegetable crisper for up to 3 days. The sprouts used in this recipe are sliced thinly and cooked just until they are tender crisp.
We have pizza at least once a week in our house, and having a pizza oven both here in Florida as well as one in Italy ensures that we can produce top quality pizza. My husband is a creature of habit and would be happy eating the same pizza each and every week. His favorite pizza is a Margarita pizza, topped with fresh peppery arugula and thin slices of prosciutto after it has been baked. I on the other hand, prefer to try different toppings frequently, often never making the same pizza twice for months. This pizza is one I created this year for the first time, and it has become a personal favorite of mine. Although you would be hard pressed to find a pizza in Italy topped with Brussels sprouts, it is truly delicious. I combined diced guanciale sautéed until golden brown with thin slices of Brussels sprouts that I sautéed in the same pan. For the cheese, I use a combination of diced mozzarella and Taleggio, and briny Kalamata olives complete the pizza.
I recently discovered some wonderful guanciale online at Nduja Artisans because it is unavailable to me locally in stores. I love guanciale and prefer to cook with it since it is a common ingredient I use in Umbria, but feel free to substitute pancetta, or even bacon if you need to. Taleggio cheese is my favorite Italian cheese and is a semi-soft, washed rind, smear-ripened Italian cheese that is named after Val Taleggio. It is a creamy, thin rinded cheese that has a unique, subtly musty flavor. If you are unable to find Talegio locally, I’d suggest using a full flavored Brie in place of the Taleggio.
My Husband, Our Resident Pizzaiolo!
The Pizza Baking In Our Pizza Oven
Deborah Mele 2015
- 1 Pound Prepared is Dough (Either Store Bought, or This Whole Wheat Dough, or Deb's New & Improved Dough)
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 4 Ounces Guanciale or Pancetta, Diced
- 1 Pound Brussels Sprouts, Trimmed, & Thinly Sliced
- Cracked Black Pepper To Taste
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (Optional)
- 2 Cups Full Fat Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 1/2 Cups Diced Taleggio Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Pitted Halved Kalamata Olives
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Divide the dough up into 8 ounce portions, rolling each in a ball.
- Place two of the balls on a lightly oiled plate and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
- Remove the dough balls from the refrigerator 2 1/2 hours before needed, allowing them to completely come to room temperature before using.
- Preheat your oven to the highest setting (usually 500 degrees F.).
- In a frying pan, heat the olive oil until piping hot, then cook the guanciale until lightly browned, about 6 minutes.
- Remove the guanciale from the pan.
- Add the Brussels sprouts to the same pan, and season with black pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Cook the sprouts, stirring often, until cooked until tender crisp, 3 or 4 minutes.
- 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 flour, and place the dough on top.
- Lightly brush the surface of the pizza with olive oil, then scatter the mozzarella and crumble the Taleggio over each
- pizza, leaving a 1 inch border all around.
- Divide the Brussels sprouts, guanciale, and olives over each pizza.
- Sprinkle the top of each pizza with some sea salt, then bake each pizza until bubbly and golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.