For the pizza crust dough:
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
2 ¼ teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (.25 ounce package)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ¼ cups water room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly, plus 4 tablespoons softened
1 teaspoon plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
For the pizza sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ red onion minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, or oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (no salt)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the toppings:
1 pound Italian Sausage casings removed
½ cup kalamata olives sliced
1 pound shredded mozzarella (low moisture preferred)
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
To make the pizza dough:
1 – Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, cornmeal, yeast, sugar, salt on low speed until blended. Add the water and melted butter. Mix until combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again until well blended. Increase speed to medium and knead until the dough is shiny and smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 to 5 minutes.
2 – Coat the sides and bottom of a large mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Transfer the pizza dough to the clean, oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.
To make the pizza sauce:
1 – While the dough rises, prepare the pizza sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Add the minced onion crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and sugar and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has reduced to about 2 ½ cups, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the fresh basil and olive oil. Check the seasoning and add salt if needed. Cover and set aside.
To laminate the pizza dough:
1 – Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat oven to 425°F. Turn the dough out onto a clean countertop. Roll the dough into a 15 by 12-inch rectangle. Using an off-set spatula, spread the softened butter over the dough leaving a 1/2-inch border along the edges. Starting at the short end, tightly roll the dough into a cyclinder. With the seam-side down, flatten the dough into a 18 by 4-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half crosswise. Working with one half at a time, fold the dough into thirds like a business letter. Pinch the seams together to form a ball. Repeat with the remaining dough and transfer the balls to the oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator until nearly double in size, 45-50 minutes.
2 – While the dough rising, cook the Italian sausage in a large non-stick skillet. Break the sausage up into chunks and sauté until cooked through. Drain well and set aside.
To assemble and bake the pizzas:
1 – Coat two 9-inch cast iron skillets or cake pans with 2 tablespoons of olive oil each.
2 – On a clean countertop, roll one of the dough balls into a 13-inch round disk about ¼-inch thick. Roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin and transfer to the prepared skillet. Unroll the dough and lightly press into the pan, making sure you work it into the corners and 1-inch up the sides. If the dough resists, allow it to rest for 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with the remaining dough ball.
3 – Sprinkle each pizza with 2 cups of the shredded mozzarella. Divide the sauce between the two pizzas, spreading with the back of a spoon until evenly distributed over the cheese layer. Divide the cooked Italian sausage between the two pizzas, scattering to cover the sauce. Top with the olives, then the Parmesan cheese.
4 – Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. If over-browning, tent the pizza with foil until cooked through. Remove the pizza from the oven and cool for 10-minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil leaves if desired.
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