[Recipe] A Niman Ranch Pizza 20 Years in the Sausage-Making

We fancy sausage. Italian sausage. With peppers and onions. And some mozzarella and sauce too!

When it comes to sausage-making, we are all eyes if the link is Niman Ranch.  Over the years we have gotten to know Sarah Willis and her humanely and sustainably-raised beef, lamb and pork at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink and most recently Genuine Pizza® and Harry’s Pizzeria®.  We believe so strongly in Willis’ mission that we made a commitment last year to exclusively source all our pizzerias’ pork and beef from Niman Ranch and have since then rolled out new menu items like Italian Sausage Pizza so our guests have more ways to enjoy them.  On special occasions, we are able to experience the roots of where it all began in person and reaffirm why we do what we do in the first place.  Next month we will have another such opportunity at the 20th annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner celebrating the farmers living Niman Ranch’s mission on the ground with a feast cooked by a handful of its favorite supportive chefs.

Click here to watch culinary assistant Brandon Green make the sausage pie shine at Genuine Pizza Aventura.

“When I was first invited to visit the original Willis family farm and cook at the 2011 hog farmer appreciation dinner, going there and seeing where it all started that was the ah ha moment for me,” Michael explains. “We work really hard to operate our restaurants and create experiences for guests – and take care of our people. It’s all consuming. When we can get out and make a personal connection it really is everything, especially having enjoyed working with their ingredients for so long and in so many different ways.”

From September 6-9, Michael, Brad and I will make a trip to Iowa for a weekend of activities that connect the dots between source and recipient culminating in Saturday’s feast, a collaboration with chefs including Cal Peternell, Andrea Reusing, Ann Kim, Charles Phan and Todd Fisher.  Follow along on the Michael’s Genuine Instagram for an inside look at the people and the place that makes us feel good about this Italian Sausage Pizza in more ways than just taste.  Make it at home or enjoy it at a Genuine Pizza or Harry’s Pizzeria near you!

Italian Sausage Pizza with Peppers & Onions, Tomato Sauce & Mozzarella

Makes 1, 12-inch pizza

1 ball Pizza Dough (recipe follows)
1/4 cup tomato sauce (use your favorite)
4 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup sliced roasted red bell pepper
1/4 cup yellow onions, sautéed until translucent
1/2 cup Niman Ranch Italian Sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick on the bias

Pre-heat the oven to 500F.

Place pizza stone or baking pan on the middle rack and preheat it along with the oven for at least a good 20 minutes.

To prepare 1, 12-inch pizza, dip the ball of dough into a little flour, shake off the excess, and put the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface. Stretch the dough with your hands, turning the ball as you press down the center. Continue spreading the dough into a 12-inch circle either with your hands or a rolling pin. Leave the dough slightly thick so the topping does not seep through. Dust a pizza paddle (if you don’t have a paddle you can use a rimless cookie sheet as a substitute) with flour and slide it under the pizza dough; it’s easiest to top the pizza with the dough already on the paddle. Using the back of a large spoon, and starting from the center and spiraling your way out, distribute the tomato sauce in a thin, even layer. You want to see some of the dough peeking through. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top, then the peppers and onions and finally the sausage. Slide the prepared pizza onto the hot pizza stone or baking sheet and bake until the crust is properly browned, about 10 minutes. Check the bottom of the pizza to make sure it has been cooked properly—it should be rich brown and burnished. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and cut into slices. Serve immediately.

Pizza Dough

Makes enough dough for 4, 12-inch pizzas

½ cup (120 ml) beer, such as lager or pilsner, at room temperature
2 tablespoons mild honey
1 (1/4 ounces/7 g) packet active dry yeast
3 cups plus 6 tablespoons (455 g) bread flour, plus more for stretching the dough
1/3 cup (40 g) whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl

In a small bowl combine the beer and honey with 1 cup (240 ml) room temperature water. The beer will foam a great deal when being poured into the measuring up, so let the foam subside before adding more liquid to get to the right volume. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid and stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture stand until it starts to foam, 5 to 10 minutes.

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine both types of flour and the salt. With the mixer running on low speed, add the oil, then the yeast mixture, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, 3 to 5 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand for 1 to 2 minutes. The dough should pretty sticky and stick to your hands and the counter. It should leave behind a sticky trail; if you think the dough is a bit too wet, it is probably just perfect. Gather the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl; turn it over to coat with the oil. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Gently punch down the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight and for up to 48 hours. (You can start the dough the night before you plan to make the pizza.)

Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a clean, lightly floured counter and knead gently for a few minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal balls, about 8 ounces (225 g) each—the size of large tangerines. Roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm. Use immediately or wrap the dough balls individually in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks. If using right away, lightly dust the dough with four, and cover with plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out. Let the dough come to room temperature, for about 1 hour, before using.

Wellness in the Schools is Right on Target in Broward County Public Schools!

Like father, like son!  Class is always in session with Wellness in the Schools and last night was no exception at Wynwood Yard where we celebrated some important school year-end milestones with cooking class led by Chef and inspired by recipes from Genuine Pizza and Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, with help from Harry Schwartz and TGHG culinary assistant Brandon Green.  The tireless team behind this cause close to our hearts in NYC and Miami reached this year’s goals with the Broward County Food & Nutrition Services including first annual Cook Camps.  This week they will train 10 new schools and their cafeteria staff on new menu items from local chef partners including:  Michael Schwartz Kale inspired Pizza, Clarke Bowen’s Black Bean and Plantain Quesadilla, Chef Aria’s Pesto Panini, Roasted Veggies from Chef Julie Frans, and Whole Foods Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes.

Back in October, when Chef launched the Kale Pizza at McNicol Middle School, he got to experience a day in the life of the cafeteria. Spending time with Ms. Naomi, the heartbeat of that kitchen, the students and watching them try a new food item such as Kale, made his day.   Every chef who participated in “Chefs Move to Broward” worked to generate excitement in the cafeteria, amongst the students and to get their recipe on the line!  Next year will only get better.  Amazing job as always by NYC founding leaders Nancy Easton and chef Bill Telepan and the team on the ground in Miami led by Allyce Perret-Gentil, our in-school chef partner Leonor Azpurua, and so many more.   As Michael says, they do all the work! We’re just humbled to be along for the ride.  Here are the recipes from last night’s festivities for your home use.

Get Your Hands Doughy and Make Pasta with Chef

Just try to keep up… Chef!   Whether for a creative night out with friends or corporate team-building, this intimate pasta-making evening with Michael provides all the tools to learn how to mix, form and shape your way to pasta perfection. It’s all about learning the basics and taking them with you into your home.  And maybe the student showing the teacher a thing or two?!

Hosted after hours at Ella Pop Café in the Miami Design District, the twinkle light atmosphere of Palm Court sets the tone for a fun-filled evening of good food with the host with the most himself.   We had fun watching the class go down a couple of weeks ago, with plenty of glasses to go around courtesy beverage manager Amanda Fraga.  Each experience includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a three course meal prepared by the chefs of Michael Schwartz Events when the interactive session is complete.  Book it by emailing Director of Special Events Lindsay Guidos today!

Let Them Eat Kale Pizza for World Food Day

Testing a few versions for the final recipe with WITS chef Laura Culbreth.

Today we bring Kale pizza out of the restaurant and into the cafeteria for World Food Day!  Our effort continues this new school year to support Wellness in the Schools’ work in South Florida to improve what’s on kid’s plates and educate them on healthy eating in the process.  Chef will visit McNicol Middle School in Hollywood at lunch to serve a made-from-scratch Kale Pizza recipe inspired by a menu favorite at Harry’s Pizzeria, sourced and approved by Broward County Public Schools’ Food & Nutrition services.  It’s amazing to know that whole wheat dough, caramelized onions and fresh kale will be on the line! Michael is the South Florida Chef Ambassador to the NYC based non-profit organization, now initiating “Wellness Chefs Move to Broward” after a successful launch last year.  We laid the groundwork for kid-approval too for this recipe, hosting WITS chef Chef Leonor Azpurua and her students at Harry’s Pizzeria in the Miami Design District for a field trip in the spring.  They were able to watch how our pizza is made from flour to table and hear from our kitchen team first-hand.  Chef Leonor said the kids enjoyed the Kale Pizza more than any other pizza they tried. “It was amazing watching the children asking for more kale, and then hearing about it on the bus ride home!”

McNicol approves of Harry’s.

Each month, a local chef will introduce a new scratch cooked menu item to the cafeteria, culminating in nine new healthy and delicious recipes for the Broward school lunch menu, kicking off today with Kale Pizza. WITS chefs in each school will prepare the pizza and train Broward cooks for continued implementation. Each month a new Chef Partner will launch one of their recipes. The goal is to bring serve new healthy restaurant style dishes meals to the children!  Thank you to our restaurant chef partners for their work, including Clark Bowen (Bistro Moderne), Aaron Brooks (Edge Steak & Bar), Julie Frans (Wynwood Yard), Aria Kagan (Whole Foods Market), and Chef Bill Telepan (Oceana, NYC).

Wellness in the Schools is a national non-profit that teaches kids healthy habits to learn and live better. They partner with public schools to provide nutrition and fitness education, healthy scratch-cooked meals and active recess periods. Trained culinary graduates partner with cafeteria staff to feed kids real food, and fitness coaches encourage schools to let kids play. Our approach improves student outcomes and drives systemic, long-term change, shifting school cultures and ultimately fighting the childhood obesity epidemic.

Follow along @harryspizzeria and @wellnessintheschools, one recipe at a time.

[RECIPE] Oven Roasted Gold Bar Squash with Aribella Cheese, Prosciutto & Soft Herbs

Gold bars ahead!

“Quality is never an accident,” chef recently scribbled on his office closet door.  When we speak of what quality and its companion, creativity, mean in a kitchen or to dish creation specifically, out of the box thinking, big ideas and originality come to mind.  But would it take some of the magic away if what is really at play is much more grounded?  That instead of some high falutin divination, it’s a process — not unlike recipe-writing itself — that is detailed in every way.  I am starting to see it as an algorithm based on timing: what is seasonal, what is available and what is the context.  This produces the best creativity, and when the chefs nail it, it falls into focus.  A dish becomes instructive and expressive of the approach.  The why is in the how.

Words to stand by, and for, at The Genuine Hospitality Group.

Take Oven Roasted Gold Bar Squash with Aribella Cheese & Prosciutto, little bundles of the perfect, simple bite and part of the first course of next Wednesday’s Rancher Appreciation Supper at Harry’s Pizzeria® in the Design District.  As culinary assistant Megan Hess explains, “This dish is an opportunity to highlight three ingredients that each work to add something to the equation. The squash is something seasonal and fresh. Belgioioso’s Aribella cheese – think Taleggio – shows up all over the menu at Harry’s, from pizza to salad, so we wanted to rethink its potential and uses.  And the prosciutto, while we would be happy eating it out of the package, is something we don’t get to use everyday in the restaurant nor as an ingredient in a dish. It works great here to wrap it all together.”

Enjoy our calculations in your home kitchen, but first get a taste of the gold standard by purchasing tickets here!

Oven Roasted Gold Bar Squash with Arabella Cheese, Prosciutto & Soft Herbs

Serves 4 as an appetizer

10-12 baby squash, preferably Gold Bar
1 cup shredded Arabella cheese
½ pound sliced Niman Ranch prosciutto
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup picked parsley
1/4 cup picked cilantro
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Cut each squash lengthwise. Sandwich some cheese in between the zucchini halves, pressing and shaping to secure. Wrap each bundle with a piece of prosciutto. Place each stuffed squash on a sheet tray about an inch apart, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and prosciutto has lightly crisped. Toss parsley, cilantro, lemon and olive oil in a bowl. Present squash family-style on a platter topped with soft herbs and serve immediately.