Bruschetta Pizza

The weekend evenings are pizza nights.  I love pizza.  I think that it may be one of the most perfect foods on the face of the earth.  A little bit of meat, veggies, lots of cheese, bread…. yum!  It doesn’t get any better than this!  When I was in Italy this summer, I ate pizza every day.  It was amazing, but a lot different than North American pizza.  It is baked on thin crusts, with just a few toppings.  This really lets the flavour of the toppings shine through, and creates a simple, but amazing dish.

That being said, this pizza is definitely not an Italian style pizza.  And that’s ok with me.  Being a North American, I grew up with fully loaded pizza!  Bruschetta Pizza is fully loaded.  I had 1-1/2 pieces last night, and I was STUFFED!  The husband had 2 pieces and he was stuffed.

This pizza is the perfect pizza for our marriage.  It has a meaty layer at the bottom that will satisfy any meat lover (like my husband).  Then, it gets a layer of mozzarella cheese and the pizza is then baked to golden brown perfection.  After it comes out of the oven, the pizza gets a full on bruschetta treatment.  Tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic, some balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  The heat from the pizza warms the toppings ever so slightly and releases the aromatic basil scent.  It’s enough to make my mouth water, just thinking about it!

I realize that this is more of a summer pizza.  It is, in fact, much better in the summer with tomatoes and basil fresh from the garden.  But, I needed a taste of summer in the middle of January.  So, we made do with hot house tomatoes and basil from the grocery store.  To quickly slice basil, place a few leaves on top of each other and roll up tightly.  Slice into thin strips.

Leftover pieces of this pizza are amazing.  I don’t ever heat up leftover pizza, as I prefer it cold.  I don’t think I would heat up this pizza, because of the tomato topping.  I think it would get soggy.  When the pizza is refrigerated overnight, the leftovers are not soggy.  Seriously!  It defies logic, but it works.

Bruschetta Pizza
adapted from Taste of Home

1/2 lb bulk Italian sausage (we used hot sausage for the kick, but mild would be great too!)
1 recipe pizza dough or prebaked pizza crust (I used dough, it did not need to be prebaked)
6 oz sliced turkey pepperoni (I used pepperoni sticks and sliced them)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1-1/2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink.  Break up sausage as it cooks; drain.  Place crust on baking sheet.  Top with pepperoni, sausage and cheese.  Bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.

In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, oil, garlic, thyme, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Spoon over pizza.  Enjoy!

The Hungry Teacher

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