Sausage and Ricotta Pizza with Castelvetrano Olives

The combination of the meaty, briny, vegetal flavors in this pizza hits so many satisfying notes that it is sure to be a hit at your table. The olives, peppers, sausage, and ricotta combine to bring sweet, savory, salty, and creamy notes to this pretty pizza. Bright green and meaty Castelvetrano olives offer a refreshing upgrade from the standard canned black olives served at many pizzerias, and mirror the Mediterranean seasoning in the crumbled Italian sausage generously topping this pizza.

Sausage and Ricotta Pizza with Castelvetrano Olives
Photo: Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 40 mins


  • 1 ball Artisan Pizza Dough

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting

  • Semolina flour, for dusting

  • 2 tablespoons Basic Pizza Sauce (recipe follows)

  • 3 tablespoons ricotta

  • 1 ounce cooked, crumbled Italian sausage

  • 1 ounce roasted mixed bell peppers

  • Torn pitted castelvetrano olives (optional)

  • Fresh basil leaves


  1. Let chilled covered dough stand at room temperature until dough is cool (not cold) and a fingerprint remains when dough is pressed, 1 to 2 hours. Transfer 1 dough ball to a heavily floured surface. Using floured fingertips, firmly press all over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border.

  2. If cooking in your home oven, preheat to 500°F with a baking steel or large round cast-iron pizza pan (such as Lodge 15-inch) on middle rack. Let pan preheat in oven for about 30 minutes. If using an outdoor pizza oven, preheat pizza oven and pizza stone according to manufacturer's instructions on high 20 minutes. (Note: Cooking with wood takes more experience to control the heat, so we've only included instructions for gas oven cooking here.)

  3. Form a C-shape with the outer edge of your hand, and press firmly inside dough border to define a 1/2-inch wide ring around edge of dough. Lift dough onto the knuckles of both hands, and gently stretch, rotating dough after each stretch to maintain its round shape. Continue gently stretching dough, allowing gravity to help it expand, until a 10-inch circle of even thickness forms, with a slightly thicker outer ring. Lay dough round on a semolina-dusted pizza peel, reshaping as needed to form a circle. Spread dough round with Basic Pizza Sauce. Dollop with ricotta. Top with sausage, peppers, and olives, if using.

  4. Gently shake pizza peel with prepared pie to loosen. If pizza feels stuck in any areas, carefully lift pizza edge with a bench scraper, and dust peel with a 1:1 mixture of semolina and bread flour. Unload pizza onto preheated pan in home oven, or into stone in outdoor pizza oven using quick, decisive movements: Set the peel edge on the pan at about a 20-degree angle, and quickly pull back peel to slide half of the pizza onto the pan. Gently shake the peel side to side while pulling it back to slide the rest of the pizza onto the pan, allowing it to stretch slightly.

  5. If baking in home oven, bake at 500°F until edges of crust have puffed slightly, about 3 minutes. Rotate pan 90 degrees, and increase oven temperature to broil. Broil until pizza is cooked through and crust is browned, 3 to 6 minutes. If baking in an outdoor pizza oven, cook pizza, using peel to rotate pizza 90 degrees every 20 to 30 seconds, until cooked through and crust is risen and charred in spots, 2 to 4 minutes.

  6. Using peel, transfer pizza to a cutting board. Garnish with fresh basil and cut into wedges.

Basic Pizza Sauce

Simple is best when it comes to tomato sauce. In our many rounds of testing, we tried cooked, raw, canned, and jarred tomato sauces and found the best flavor came from a raw sauce based on Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce. Open the can, grate in a little garlic, add a glug of olive oil, and stir in some fresh oregano, salt, and pepper. Spooned onto dough, it has bright acid and sweet-savory flavor that's the star of a cheese pizza and lets other toppings shine.

1 (15-oz.) can Muir Glen; Organic Tomato Sauce

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane

1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano

3/4 tsp. fine sea salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Stir together all ingredients in a bowl. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. —Hunter Lewis

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