Flavor Explosion Pizza

Andrew and I love making homemade pizzas. I have posted recipes for our favorite pizza crust recipe and our favorite veggie-style pizza, and so I thought I would share the delicious creation we made last night. Back in Minnesota when Andrew used to live in St. Paul, there was an amazing restaurant just down the street called Mama’s Pizza. They did both take and bake and hot, fresh pizzas, and when we wanted to indulge we ordered their flavor explosion pizza (pictured below). The toppings: sausage, pepperoni, bacon, pineapple, and banana peppers.

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We have never had the chance to take a photo of the pizza before we devoured it…

To digress a little before getting into the recipe, Andrew and I are fairly conscious about what we eat. We like to staying healthy and supporting local farms and businesses. So when it comes to meat, we mostly avoid purchasing it at the supermarket. In the Fall we took weekly trips to the local outdoor farmer’s market and were enjoying splurging on pork chops or sausage from local farms. When the cold weather put the outdoor farmer’s markets on hold until spring, we decided to head down to the indoor farmer’s market in Trenton, which we have had many people rave about. Even though it was past the time for typical farmer’s market fresh fruits and veggies, we still hit the jackpot – Cartlidge’s Quality Meats. Great farm-fresh eggs (way cheaper than those we were getting at the other farmer’s markets), delicious sausages of all varieties, and awesome boneless pork chops. We have made this a part of our weekly shopping trip (along with the Halo Farm Dairy and Store, right next door, but I will save that for another post), and now we are buying more meat than ever before. So it was time for us to indulge with our own flavor explosion pizza.

Ingredients:
1 pizza crust (our favorite recipe can be found here)
1 cup pizza sauce
1/4 to 1/2 lb hot italian sausage (or sweet if you want a milder pizza)
(Optionally: Fry 2 cloves of garlic with the sausage)
1/8 lb sliced pepperoni (~12 large slices – 2 inch diameter)
1/4 lb strips of bacon (~3 strips)
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
1/2 cup banana peppers rings (mild or hot – depends on your heat tolerance – mild was just right for me)
1 lb mozzarella cheese (we like the fresh stuff)
OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.) Fry up the bacon! We typically fry up 1/2 – 1 lb at a time and then save the extras for putting on sandwiches or adding to dishes. Once it is cooked, the possibilities are endless! While the bacon is going cook up the sausage. We are complete garlic lovers, so we added two cloves of garlic to add some flavor. I was nervous that the hot Italian Sausage would make the pizza to spicy for my taste, so we got a little sweet Italian sausage as well and cooked them together to make it mild. Next time we will go completely hot, since we want it a little spicier, and we bought mild banana peppers.

2.) Once the meat is done let it cool on a paper towel to help absorb some of the grease. Added bonus: save the bacon grease from the pan! It is a bit indulgent, but we like to make stovetop popcorn with the grease. It gives the popcorn a pretty yummy flavor. This time, however, I think I am going to use it to make some refried beans.

3.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

4.) Spread the sauce evenly over the crust and apply the toppings! We started with the pepperoni, and built a solid meat layer with the sausage and crumbled bacon. Finally topped with the pineapple tidbits and banana peppers.

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It really is the most amazing balance between sweet, savory, tangy, and spicy.

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I didn’t actually measure out the ingredients, so the amounts I have on here are estimates of what we had. The best part about making pizza is that it is so easy to customize.

5.) We like to use fresh mozzarella, so we chopped it into strips and covered our pizza completely. Using shredded or some sort of pizza cheese would work just as well. We also like to sprinkle a little parmesan cheese around the crust and over the top to give it a little additional saltiness and flavor.

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Before going into the oven… our mouths were already watering!

6.) Bake in the preheated over for 20 – 25 minutes. You want the cheese to be nice and golden, as well as the crust. We pre bake our crusts, so sometimes they tend to get a bit crispy.

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The finished product.

Now for the best part: enjoying it! Beer is optional, but recommended. We had it last night, and I want to make it again this weekend! So delicious!

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