Pizza Gets a Fall Makeover

I make pizza at home once or twice a month. We love it and it's less expensive than going out for pizza and no frozen food section has quite the variety our kitchen does! So, this time of the year, I like giving my pizza a fall makeover:

Brimming with everything from fresh sage leaves to crispy pork sausage to bubbly melted blue cheese all over a creamy pumpkin sauce, this is a great pizza to enjoy between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when pumpkins are still readily available and in season. Besides, it's just lovely to see this find its way out to the table:

Part of how I make homemade pizza easy in my home is by using my bread machine to do the heavy lifting and timing for making the pizza dough. Since opting to use this handy appliance for the dough step, pizza has become about how to make it special for me and my family. By the way, we opted for spicy pork sausage on this pizza pie, but you could go for mild sausage or even cooked, crumbled bacon. Then it's time to pour some pints of beer and/or cider and dig into a perfect family pizza night as we gather around our table and break bread.

Pumpkin-Sausage-Sage Pizza

For the crust:
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
For assembling:
  • 3/4 c. pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 T. grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz. pork sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, sliced into wedges
  • Handful of fresh sage leaves
  • 1 c. grated colby jack cheese — or choose a favorite variety of good melting cheese
  • 1 c. blue cheese crumbles

Combine the water and oil in the bread pan of a bread machine. Whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Carefully place the flour mixture on top of the liquid ingredients in the bread pan. Place the yeast in a small indent formed in the top of the flour mixture. Set the bread machine to the dough setting and run it. If needed, scrape the sides of the bread pan during the mixing phase.

When the dough setting cycle has completed (about 1 1/2 hours), preheat the oven to 400° F.

Using lightly floured hand, press the dough evenly into a large baking sheet. Combine the pumpkin, mayonnaise, and parmesan cheese to form a creamy sauce. Spread the sauce evenly over the crust in the baking sheet. Sprinkle the sausage, onion, sage leaves, grated and crumbled cheeses evenly over the crust and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheeses are melted and bubbly. Allow the pizza to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings (one serving = 2-3 slices)
  • Preparation Time: 2 hours (30 minutes hands-on time)