Thursday, July 5, 2012

Roasted Fennel and Tempeh Sausage Pizza

It all started with a bunch of fennel from the farmers market.... and an intense craving for something with cheese.. and bread... and more cheese.

I love the savory/sweet taste of fennel, probably because it tastes like a black jelly bean flavored vegetable.
For those of you that have never experience the deliciousness that is fennel, it tastes like licorice and pairs well with several foods. 

Fennel is great thinly sliced and added to a salad, but one of my favorite ways to enjoy this vegetable is to toss it with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast it up, 'till it's soft and slightly browned around the edges. You can then toss it with pasta (either hot or cold), add to a sandwich or use it as a pizza topping.

I could have kept this pizza simple... a little roasted fennel, some caramelized onions and a bit of cheese, but I wanted something with a little more substance.  I had a brick of tempeh hanging out in my fridge and decided to make some sausage crumbles to go on top.  Now, for those of you that eat meat, you're probably all like.. tempeh on a pizza.. gross, and tempeh that tastes like sausage, yeah right.

But whatever... This stuff is DANG good...and GOOD for you.  I've had many a meat eater impressed with these crumbles, and really, it's all in the spices.  Fennel seed, garlic, sage, crushed red pepper.  All in sausage.  The texture is a little different but once blanketed under a layer of cheese, you would never know the difference.  All you taste is savory, cheesy, bready goodness.

And thats's all that matters.

So, anyways...

Make this pizza.

It's good.

Roasted Fennel and Tempeh Sausage Pizza (makes 2 10" pizzas)

1 batch pizza dough
1 medium sized fennel bulb, halved, cut into 1/2" thick slices
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. grated pecorino romano
1 batch tempeh sausage crumbles (recipe below)
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
black pepper

Tempeh Sausage Crumbles

4 oz. organic tempeh
1/2 T. fennel seed
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. oregano
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t. sage
1 t. garlic, minced
1 T. tamari
1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 t. lemon juice

In a sautee pan, crumble tempeh and add just enough water to cover. Over high heat sautee tempeh until most of the water has been absorbed.  Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat until tempeh is browned, about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place fennel in a bowl, drizzle with 1-2 T. extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Spread on a sheet pan and bake for 15-20 minutes (stirring fennel halfway through), until soft and lightly browned. Set aside.
Meanwhile, make your tempeh sausage crumbles. Set aside to cool.
Now, make the caramelized onions. Heat 2 T. olive oil and a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook the onions, stirring every five minutes, until golden brown. Set aside
Now.. let's make some pizza!
Place a pizza stone in the middle of the oven and increase heat to 500 degrees.Roll out your pizza dough on a piece of parchment paper. Place on the bottom side of a large metal sheetpan (you'll use this to slide the pizza onto the stone) and drizzle with a very thin layer of olive oil, just enough to lightly coat the crust.  Scatter on a layer of onions, some mozzarella, roasted fennel, the tempeh crumbles and top with a little more mozzarella. Carefully slide the pizza on to the stone.Bake for 5 minutes, rotate 180 degrees, and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes, until the crust is browned and the cheese is melty.  Slide the pizza off the parchment paper onto a cooling rack and top with grated pecorino. Repeat with the remaining crust. 

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