Seems like as good a day as any to have lamb — a beautiful, sunny, spring Sunday. While I have a lamb shank defrosting in the fridge and Diane Kochilas’s recipe (form The Glorious Foods of Greece) for lamb stew with wild greens in an egg-lemon sauce — arni me horta avgolemeno — bookmarked in my mind (coming soon), today was all about lamb sausage and pizza.
I love lamb. It’s strong, earthy, and exceptionally flavorful. While the rapini, feta, and fresh rosemary were all yummy additions to this pizza, lamb was the shining star. The rapini was sauteed in the same pan as the lamb, which imparted those unmistakable lamb flavors. The crust soaked up the natural oil from the lamb sausage — more lamby deliciousness. And really, what pairs better with lamb than fresh rosemary. Each bite made me ponder, Why don’t I prepare lamb more often? I’ve just scratched the surface with the lamb sausage — there’s roast leg/shank of lamb, rack of lamb, lamb chops…
On another note, decided to try out Saveur’s no-knead pizza dough this time around. Appears to be comparable to other variations I’ve tried (and you save yourself a few minutes of kneading). Although, I don’t mind kneading, it’s kind of like a mini upper-arm workout. Unfortunately, the little oven in my rental apartment doesn’t have a top broiler element (it’s on the bottom, what good is that??), so I couldn’t get the crust as dark as I wanted. It still tasted quite good — crispy and chewy in all the right places, but missing those nice charred parts. How nice would it be to have a wood burning oven…oh, to dream.
Lamb Sausage and Rapini Pizza
Rapini (aka broccoli rabe)
Lamb sausage (recipe to follow)
Feta (used a feta with herbs de Provence), crumbled
Red pepper flakes
Place the pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees (or your oven’s hottest setting) for at least one hour.In the meantime, prepare the sausage (recipe below). In the same pan used to cook the sausage, sauté the rapini for a few minutes, until just wilted. Lightly flour a work surface, and roll out the dough. Place the dough on the pizza peel and top with tomato sauce, rapini, sausage, cheese, fresh rosemary, and red pepper flakes.
Bake until the bottom of the crust is crisp and cheese is melted.
Savuer’s No-Knead Pizza Dough
makes 3 (10-12 inch) pizzas
3 1/4 cups flour (all-purpose or 00)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
Whisk the flour, salt, and yeast together in a medium bowl. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups water; stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until well incorporated. Mix the dough gently with your hands to bring together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until dough is covered with tiny bubbles and more than doubles in size, about 18 hours (I let the dough rise overnight).
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, divide into 3 portions. Gently form each portion into a ball. Place seam side down. Dust with flour. Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel, until soft and pliable, about an hour. Do ahead: Can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and chill. When ready to use, unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap, for 2-3 hours before shaping.
1 pound ground lamb (preferably grass-fed)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Gently form into small balls. Heat a small amount of olive oil (a teaspoon or two) in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add a third of the sausage to the pan. Sear about 1 minute per side (they should still be rare in the middle, as the sausage will continue to cook on the pizza). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining sausage