I love seasons, but most of all, I love fall. It’s just awesome–colorful in a deep, rich way; perfect temperatures; and great holidays. Plus, fall food is pretty fantastic. Apples! Squash! Pears! Brussel Sprouts! (Admittedly, this last one is a new favorite of mine…but ohmyroastedbrusselsproutsdamn). So in early October, when Alison was craving pizza, I decided I wanted to incorporate two quintessential fall foods–apples and leeks.
(Yes, yes, I’m posting a month after making this. I KNOW.)
So, this recipe is not difficult to make, except in the time devoted to caramelizing the leeks. But it’s worth it.
If you haven’t dealt with leeks before, a few tips: Clean them really well. A lot of instructions suggest cutting off the root and then slicing the whole thing lengthwise so that it’s easier to get between the “leaves” of the vegetable to clear out the grit. I do not do this, but it’s certainly a good idea if you are squeamish. I just cut off the stem, clean them as well as I can by pulling open the sections a little at a time, and then start slicing from the base. You want to use the white and light green parts, discarding the darker green sections.
Caramelizing leeks works much the same way caramelizing onions does. First, heat just enough oil to coat the bottom in a large pan. Transfer the leeks to the pan, toss to coat, and cook on medium high for about 10 minutes. Stir every 2-3 minutes. Then reduce heat to medium and add a pinch of salt and a touch of small amount of honey (about 1/2 teaspoon). Continue to stir every 2-3 minutes.
When the leeks were close to being done, we threw the apple pieces in to cook for the last 5 minutes, enough to soften and brown slightly.
Once everything was ready, we rolled out our Trader Joe’s dough and arranged the ingredients.
Bake and then…
And for the details…
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
2 apples (we used Macons, but I think next time we might try a more tart apple)
2 links of sweet italian sausage
Trader Joe’s pizza dough (or use your own recipe if preferred)
salt and honey to taste
about 2 tablespoons oil
- Pre-heat oven to 425-degrees.
- If you are using pre-baked dough, set out on a counter to thaw while preparing ingredients.
- Clean leeks well, cut off root, and slice from base in about 1/4 inch slices. Use white and light green sections.
- Heat enough oil to coat bottom of a large pan on medium-high heat. Add leaks and cook for 10 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add a pinch of salt and a small amount of honey (about 1/2 teaspoon). Continue stirring every 2-3 minutes until leeks are caramelized, about 40 minutes.
- Slice apples to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut into half moon wedges. Add to leeks when about 5 minutes remaining.
- In a large pan, cook sausages with a small amount of oil on medium-high heat while breaking into small pieces using a wooden spoon. Cook through, then set aside.
- Grate cheese and set aside.
- Flour a clean surface and roll out dough to shape of prepared pan. Oil and lightly dust pan with flour, then set dough on pan and stretch/shape to fit.
- Spread grated cheese. Scatter leeks, apples, and sausage evenly.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove pizza from oven. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut and serve.