Archive for the 'Sauces' Category

Pizza with Pesto, Sausage, & Tomatoes

Pizza with Pesto, Sausage, & Tomatoes

Pesto on pizza is a great alternative to pizza sauce.  I love making homemade pizza dough, and it’s fun to experiment with different toppings.  Usually I just use whatever I have on hand, and this time I happened to have a package of artichoke and garlic sausages (Aidells brand), mozzarella cheese, and cherry tomatoes.  I decided to make pesto to go with it, and it turned out to be a great combination.  I used my favorite pizza crust recipe, as well as my sister’s recipe for pesto.  The pesto was delicious!  Enjoy!

Pizza with Pesto, Sausage, & Tomatoes


  • 1 ball of pizza dough, rolled out on parchment paper (pizza dough recipe here)
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 pre-cooked sausage link, sliced thin (I like Aidells brand… there are lots of different flavors.  Artichoke and garlic is a good choice.)
  • Pesto Sauce (recipe below)


  1. Place a pizza stone on rack in lower third of oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
  2. Spread pesto sauce onto rolled out pizza dough.  Top with desired amount of cheese, tomatoes, and sausage.  (I like to put half of the cheese on now, and then the other half of the cheese on a couple minutes before the pizza is finished baking.  This prevents the cheese from browning too much).
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.  Lift the parchment and pizza onto the heated pizza stone.  Bake the pizza about 8-12 minutes, until the crust edges brown and the cheese is golden brown in spots.

Pesto Sauce


  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup (2 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups loosely packed fresh basil
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. With food processor running, drop garlic through the feed tube to chop.  Then add pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and basil; pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Add olive oil in a steady stream while the processor is running and blend until incorporated.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: approx. 1 1/3 cups (recipe can be halved)

As you can see in this photo, I went a little light on the cheese because I don’t like my pizza too cheesy. Half of the pizza had less cheese (my half) and Eric’s half had extra cheese- just the way we both like it :)

Source: Pizza Dough recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, ‘Italian Classics’ Cookbook;  Pesto recipe from Kristine’s Kitchen


Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce

I love Italian food, and tomato sauce is something I use a lot in my kitchen.  There are so many different things you can make with basic tomato sauce, such as chicken parmesan, lasagna, baked pasta, pizza, or simply boiled pasta topped with tomato sauce and cheese.

I often use store bought tomato sauce (my favorite is Rao’s Tomato Basil), but tomato sauce is super easy to make from scratch.  It only requires a few ingredients, and most of them are pantry staples.

This is a simple recipe for basic tomato sauce.  The sauce takes less than 30 minutes to make, and then it just has to simmer for 30-45 minutes.  The recipe makes a lot of sauce, and it can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for several months.

Adapted from: The Food Network, Mario Batali

Tomato Sauce

(print recipe)


  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 carrot, shredded (using a box grater)
  • 1 – 28-ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (including juice)
  • 1- 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (including juice)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped


  1. Sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until translucent, but not brown (about 10 minutes).  Season with salt & pepper.
  2. Add the garlic, thyme, Italian seasoning, and carrot, and sauté 5 minutes more.
  3. Add the tomatoes, broth, and basil. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to just bubbling, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. If you want your sauce to be less chunky, blend with an immersion blender.
  6. Serve immediately, or set aside for further use. The sauce may be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for up to 6 months.

Serving idea: serve this tomato sauce with boiled pasta and top with parmesan cheese & parsley

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