Cast Iron Skillet Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

I’ve long been fascinated with the concept of pizza in a cast iron pan, and I finally got around to giving it a try.  Now I’m wondering why I waited so long.  This method is a keeper!  With half a recipe of pizza dough languishing in the refrigerator, plenty of cheese, and the requisite protein and vegetable toppings, I was ready to take on the skillet pizza project.

It couldn’t have turned out better!  There was just enough dough to fit comfortably into a nine-inch skillet.  I added tomato sauce, cooked Italian sausage, sauteed mushrooms (with a little shallot added for flavor), and mozzarella and fontina cheese.  After the pizza came from the oven and rested a few minutes, I showered it with plenty of bright, fresh basil.  Pizza perfection!

As you can see, it’s not a thin crust pizza.  But that’s okay, because the crust is tender and chewy and crunchy with cheese and sauce at the edges.  The heat of the pan ensures that the bottom of the crust is completely baked, and the edges crisp up quite nicely.  So next time it’s pizza night at your house, give this one a try.  Your family will thank you.

Cast Iron Skillet Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

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Serves: One 9-inch pizza, to serve 2to 4 people
An easy to make pizza, baked in a sturdy cast iron skillet. Customize it with whatever ingredients you have on hand, and you will have the perfect pizza dinner.

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 ounces Italian sausage, bulk, or removed from the casing
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, (baby bella, white button, or a combination of your favorites), roughly chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely minced
  • 12 ounces pizza dough (I used half of this recipe)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato sauce or purchased pizza sauce
  • A generous cup of shredded cheese, mozzarella and fontina are good here
  • Non-stick vegetable oil spray (optional)
  • Olive oil, for brushing the dough
  • Fine cornmeal, to sprinkle in the skillet
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, cut into chiffonade, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Crumble the sausage into a small non-stick skillet and cook, over medium-high heat, until lightly golden brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate. Add the mushrooms and shallot to the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender and the mushrooms lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray a thin coating of non-stick spray in a 9-inch cast iron skillet. Sprinkle in a few teaspoons of fine cornmeal, just to coat the bottom of the pan. Flatten the pizza dough into a uniform circle on your work surface. Brush it lightly with olive oil. Place the dough, oil side down, in the prepared skillet. Push the edges of the dough up the sides of the pan, pressing evenly all around. Place the skillet on the stove and turn the heat to high. Cook just until the edges of the dough start to firm up and the surface looks a little "bubbly".
  3. Remove from the heat and quickly spread the sauce over the dough. Cover the edges as well (it will caramelize nicely in the oven). Sprinkle on a little less than half the cheese, then top with the sausage and mushrooms. Add the remaining cheese and set the pan in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the crust is set and nicely browned around the edges and the cheese is bubbling. Carefully lift an edge of the dough to check the underside for doneness. When the pizza is fully baked, remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the fresh basil and cut into wedges to serve.