Homemade Pizza Topped with Sausage & Crispy Kale Recipe
Homemade Pizza Topped with Sausage & Crispy Kale

By Elizabeth Passarella

A Quick Pizza With Plenty of Green

I love making pizza dough, but lately I've been using a certain store-bought dough and, to be honest, it's pretty hard to beat. In fact, this sausage and kale pizza is so good and so easy to make that I haven't ordered a pie in two months. (And I live in New York!)

With store-bought dough, this pizza is a six-ingredient dinner. If you wanted to make your own dough from scratch, it would be eight ingredients -- not that much more difficult. It's easier than you think.

That said, I'm a big fan of Whole Foods pizza dough. I picked up a bag of fresh dough at the store a couple of months ago, and I'm not sure I'm ever going back to making my own. The dough is the tiniest bit sweet, which I like, and you can really feel how alive it is when you stretch it. There are big, plopping air bubbles everywhere. It practically burps while you work it.

So, the pizza. I love something green on my pizza, but I'm not a big fan of broccoli, and I also don't like weighty toppings. The idea of a big mound of kale chips on top of the pizza -- salty, crispy, virtuous -- sounded perfect. And the Italian tomatoes are key; they add a lot of flavor, which is especially important because you're not adding a ton of them. This isn't a super saucy pizza.

I tested this pizza recipe twice with the uncooked kale piled on with the other toppings. The kale got crispy, but it also released a lot of moisture that pooled in the middle of the pizza. It's better to make the kale chips first, and then scatter them onto the pizza once it's cooked.

Sausage Pizza Topped with Crispy Kale

Makes one large (12- to 14-inch) pizza

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning

5 large curly kale leaves (or a small bunch of lacinato kale)

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 pound sweet Italian sausage

1 store-bought pizza dough, at room temperature

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pour the Italian tomatoes into a mesh strainer and let them sit, squishing and stirring with a spoon a few times, until they are quite dry.

Strip the kale leaves from their stems, and rip into 1-inch pieces. Wash and spin dry in a salad spinner or pat very thoroughly with a kitchen towel. In a large bowl, toss them with enough olive oil to lightly coat the leaves (you don't want them to be dripping, just slick). Spread onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until crispy.

Raise the oven temperature to 500 degrees.

While the oven is preheating, cook and crumble the sausage in a pan until no longer pink. Set aside. Take the dough out of its packaging (you'll need a dash of flour to keep it from sticking to your hands) and slowly stretch it. I like to drape the dough over the backs of my hands and stretch it from the middle out. You can also pat it out on a cutting board or baking sheet. Either way, you'll need to stop every once in a while and let the dough sit for a second, so it gets used to its new shape.

Place the dough on a baking sheet and scatter the tomatoes, then the sausage, and then the mozzarella slices over it. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from the oven, pile on the crispy kale, and then slice.

A note on technique: If you have a pizza stone and want to slide your topped pizza onto the stone in the oven, go for it. I'm terrible at this, and I find that I get a decently crispy crust with a baking sheet.

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Recipes: "Homemade Pizza Topped with Sausage & Crispy Kale"

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