Vodka Sauce and Sausage Pizza

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| Servings: Makes one 12 inch pizza

Author’s Notes

Call it a 1970s throwback if you will, but this works so well on pizza that every time I look at this recipe, I want to drop everything and make it (and sneak a shot of vodka into my diet). Top it with fresh mozzarella (the kind you find wrapped in plastic, not brine-packed for di latte), fennel sausage, and tomato sauce that’s blended with vodka and cream; any leftover sauce is great for pasta.


  • 1 dough ball
  • 15o grams (5 ounces) link fennel sausage or Itatian sausage
  • 90 grams (⅓ cup) Vodka Sauce
  • 11o grams (4 ounces) fresh whole-milk mozzarella, thinly sticed
  • 4 or 5 basil leaves


  1. If you use a dough recipe that calls for refrigeration, remove your dough ball from the refrigerator about 60 to 90 minutes before baking pizza. Put your pizza steel or stone on an upper rack in your oven no more than 8 inches below the broiler. Preheat the oven to 55o°F (29o°C).
  2. Cut the link sausage at an angle into ½-inch slices. Place the slices in an ovenproof skillet and, while the oven is preheating, partially cook them for 2 to 3 minutes (they will finish cooking on the pizza).
  3. Set up your pizza assembly station. Give yourself about z feet ofwidth on the countertop. Moderately flour the work surface. Position your wooden peel next to the floured area and dust it lightly with flour. Have the sauce, cheese, and sausage at hand, plus a ladle or large spoon for the sauce. Switch the oven to broil 1o minutes before loading the pizza.
  4. To shape the pizza, put the dough ball on the floured work surface and flip to coat both sides with flour. Use one of the shaping methods (New York or Neapolitan) on pages 92 to 95. Transfer the disk of pizza dough to the peel. Run your hands around the perimeter to relax it and work out the kinks.
  5. Spread the tomato sauce over the dough to within ¼ inch of the edge, smoothing it with the back of the spoon or ladle. Place the sausage link pieces cut side down on top of the sauce. Layer the sliced mozzarella over the pizza, draping some of it over the sausage
  6. Turn off the broiler, then gently slide the pizza onto the pizza steel or stone. Close the oven door and change the oven setting to bake at 55o°F (290°C).
    Bake for 5 minutes, until the rim is golden. Change the oven setting from bake to broil and let the pizza cook until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden with spots of brown and a few small spots of char, about 2 minutes (check it after 1 minute to be safe). Use tongs or a fork to slide the pizza from the pizza steel or stone onto a large plate. Use scissors to cut the basil leaves over the top of the pizza and serve immediately, halved or sliced.


  1. We grilled this for five minutes on a pizza stone in a Weber gas BBQ. I preheated the stone and the BBQ for 25 minutes. We turned on the oven broiler 10 minutes before putting the pizza on the BBQ. We then broiled it for 2 minutes after the pizza cooked for five minutes on the BBQ.
  2. Source: The Elements of Pizza by Ken Forkish
Stretching the dough

Stretching the dough

Jo Ann layering the sauce

Jo Ann layering the sauce

Napoli Style Pizza with Vodka Sauce and Sausage

Napoli Style Pizza with Vodka Sauce and Sausage