Pizza can be just as romantic as chocolate and roses....right?!
I was flipping through an issue of Vegetarian Times from February 2009 and I spotted a recipe for deep dish pizza cooked in a cast iron skillet. Well, I love cooking in my cast iron skillet and I never can resist a good pizza so I couldn't wait to give it a go.
The original recipe called for a yummy mix of feta, kale, Neufchatel cheese, fennel, garlic, fresh oregano and tomato. I would have loved every bite of the original pizza but I knew my family might be a little less enthusiastic so I went a little more mainstream with the ingredient list. My deep dish pizza was topped with a tomato basil sauce, an Italian cheese blend, basil oregano, spinach, mushrooms and mild Italian chicken sausage.
I've been trying to cut my meat intake and up my intake of veggies and whole grains. It's tough when I have a meat lovin' husband in the house. ;) With all of the wonderful vegetarian choices out there these days, the chicken sausage could be easily replaced with a meat free sausage. I bet no one would even notice the difference if the veggie sausage was tucked inside a deep dish pizza. Shhhh. I won't tell!
Cast Iron Deep Dish Pizza
1 18 oz package of fresh pizza dough (Winco has a fabulous dough made fresh in their bakery)
3 tbsp tomato basil pasta sauce
1/4 lb Italian chicken sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
3/4 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (Trader Joe's has a great one!)
Fresh or dried basil and oregano, season to taste
Preheat oven to 475. Oil bottom and sides of a 12" cast iron skillet with olive oil. With floured hands pat and stretch dough over bottom and half way up sides of skillet. Let dough rest for 5 minutes. Evenly spread sauce over dough. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese. Evenly spread the sausage, spinach and mushrooms over the cheese. Top with remaining cheese. Season with basil, oregano and kosher salt.
Place on lowest rack and bake for 15 minutes or until crust is browned and crisp. Let stand for a few minutes before slicing.
Happy Valentine's Day!