So remember last month when you were all clamoring for Mike’s cast iron skillet pizza recipe? Here it is in all its glory, brought to you by the man himself. Enjoy!

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

NOTE: The original recipe says this makes two 9-inch pizzas. We have a used a modification of this recipe several times in a 12-inch iron skillet and have finally decided that it’s too much dough, even for a 12-incher. When next we make this, we’ll reduce the flour from 4 cups to 3, and we’ll reduce the amounts of other ingredients accordingly. When we do, we’ll post the revised recipe. For now, though, our original version:

Crust:

1 package (1/4-ounce) active yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (about 110°F)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for oiling the bowl and skillet, divided

Toppings:

1 recipe Mike’s Pizza Sauce
1 lb. hot Italian sausage
1/2 to 1 ball fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmagiano Reggiano
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the yeast, sugar and water and let stand 5 minutes until foamy. Add the butter, flour and salt and combine well, using the paddle attachment. Knead, using a dough hook, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and crawls up the dough hook. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if dough is dry and not coming together. If dough is too wet, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Remove the dough from the bowl. Grease the bowl with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let the dough rise until it doubles in bulk, about an hour. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide in half. Shape the dough into two balls, cover and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

(This recipe calls for letting the dough rise at room temp for about an hour. For this latest pizza, however, we made the dough a day before and allowed it to rise overnight. Heidi Swanson has a great explanation of this process, if you want to know more. We did find that it makes a better crust.)

Heat a cast-iron skillet on the stove top over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil; crumble 1 pound of Italian sausage into the skillet and brown. Remove the sausage to a plate lined with paper towels. Do not remove the oil and fat from the iron skillet. (If your sausage is on the fatty side, you might remove some of the fat, but be sure to leave the skillet well greased.)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Pat or roll dough into a circle and transfer it to the skillet. Press dough down into bottom of skillets and up the sides. Drizzle a little olive oil over the crust then layer the sauce, sausage and mozzarella. Bake on bottom rack of oven for 30 minutes. Start checking the pizza for doneness; you’ll want the pizza crust to be golden brown, and the toppings to be just starting to brown. Remove pizza from oven and top with grated parm and basil.

Mike’s Pizza Sauce:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
Half of a 28 oz. can of imported San Marzano tomatoes (tomatoes and juice)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Add olive oil to a small saucepan and warm over medium heat. Chop garlic and add to the pan, sautéing until golden and fragrant. Add the tomatoes with their juice, crushing lightly. Add salt, oregano and chile flakes, stirring well. Make a hot spot in the bottom of the pan and add tomato paste, allowing it to caramelize a bit before stirring through. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the sauce thickens.

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