Roasted Fennel and Italian Sausage Pizza with Garlic White Sauce

Several years ago, before Dustin and I moved to San Diego…

Roasted Fennel and Italian Sausage Pizza with Garlic White Sauce by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Before we had Jordan…

Before I even knew what a blog was…

Roasted Fennel and Italian Sausage Pizza with Garlic White Sauce by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Before I really discovered my passion for cooking — and love — and happiness — and family — and passion…

Roasted Fennel and Italian Sausage Pizza with Garlic White Sauce by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Dustin and I watched the Food Network.  Wow, did we actually watch television?  Seems so foreign now.  We watched Mario Batali, Giada de Laurentiis, Ina Garten and Alton Brown.

Then, one day, we heard about Mario Batalli’s new restaurant in Los Angeles called Pizzeria Mozza.  And we knew we had to go.

Roasted Fennel and Italian Sausage Pizza with Garlic White Sauce by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Looking back, I can see the new “me” emerging from little moments like these, though I didn’t know it at the time.   All in good time, I suppose.

When we got to the restaurant and had our horribly dirty, needing a wash desperately car valeted, we were very excited to have dinner.  The atmosphere in the restaurant was perfect.  There was a huge beautiful wine bar, long tables and just an over-all good feeling in the place.

Roasted Fennel and Italian Sausage Pizza with Garlic White Sauce by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

We ordered several appetizers, entrees and desserts (some of which were completely in Italian and we weren’t exactly sure what they’d turn out to be), as we knew we wanted the full experience and didn’t know when we’d be back.

Roasted Fennel

One of the pizzas we tried had sausage and fennel and some other fresh and delicious ingredients.  To this day, neither Dustin nor I can remember exactly what else was on that pizza or completely how it tasted, we just knew we enjoyed it and we wanted to make it at home.  It was so unique and different.

Roasted Fennel and Italian Sausage Pizza with Garlic White Sauce by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Finally, I made it.  My own way.  And it was pretty darn good.

Roasted Fennel and Italian Sausage Pizza with Garlic White Sauce by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Good memories.

Roasted Fennel and Italian Sausage Pizza with Garlic White Sauce by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

As some of you know, I have aspirations to start a little pizza and wine bar of my own in Austin someday.  And, yes, this pizza will be on the menu in my restaurant.

Roasted Fennel and Italian Sausage Pizza with Garlic White Sauce

For the Garlic White Sauce:

(yields enough to cover 1-2 medium pizzas)

3 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup parmesan, shredded

Directions

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add flour and stir completely to make a roux. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Whisk in milk slowly and cook until thickened to desired consistency. Add cheese and stir to melt. Season with salt and pepper, adding more to taste if necessary.

For the Roasted Fennel and Italian Sausage Pizza:

(yields 1 medium pizza, about 8-10 slices)

I pizza crust (might I suggest my Honey Whole Wheat Pizza Dough?)
1/2 cup Garlic White Sauce, prepared (see recipe above)
1/4 cup fennel, thinly sliced
2 links good quality Italian sausage
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread out sliced fennel evenly over sheet. Season with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Roast fennel in oven for 10-13 minutes, or until it starts to turn golden.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add Italian sausage.  Break apart into small pieces. Stirring frequently, cook sausage until well-browned and crumbled.

Once fennel is roasted, remove from oven and set aside. Turn heat in oven up to 500 degrees.

Top prepared pizza crust with Garlic White Sauce, then roasted fennel, then crumbled Italian sausage, then mozzarella. Bake 5-10 minutes, or until edges are golden and cheese is bubbly.

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Comments

  1. Patricia says

    I had a similar pizza at a local restaurant and was on a mission to find a recipe (I dislike experimenting on my own). I am so glad I found your recipe because it’s great and easy! I added roasted red peppers to the top and they were delicious.

  2. Chef Matthew says

    This was wonderful Lacey. I adore Fennel and since Italian sausage has Fennel seed in it, was a natural pairing. Had a nice clean flavor that was pleasant and not overwhelming. I used the hot Italian sausage because well, I am a Heatseeker and adore hot foods :) Keep up the great work hon.

  3. satchmo says

    Just had to let you know that this is on the family rotation of YUM- in fact made a couple pies for daughter’s graduation party and everyone raved- Thank you!

  4. Neal says

    Just took this beauty out of the oven, and it’s FANTASTIC! I’ve never cooked with fresh fennel before, but after this, I think my eyes have been opened!

    Thanks for sharing with us! :3

  5. says

    I make homemade pizza all the time and when I saw this featured on Tasty Kitchen, I knew I had to try it. Made it last night and my husband and I ate the entire thing. I’ll be featuring it on my blog and giving you a shout out!

  6. KarenC says

    I love fennel and am always looking for new and different pizza recipes, so I’ve wanted to make this since you first posted the recipe. Finally got around to it Saturday night, and it waa DELICIOUS! It got rave reviews from everyone who ate it…. even my picky 14 year old niece who eats NOTHING. LOL

    I’ll definitely be adding this to my pizza rotation.

    Thanks, Lacey.

  7. says

    well shazam. I just made a batch of pizza dough yesterday and divided it up for individual pizzas and then froze. as I was making it I was thinking about changing things up and making something really different for a change, because all I ever do is make Cory’s with pepperoni/sausage and veggies and my own with the usual – blk olives, gr. peppers, onions, yada yada yada. boring. so now here’s this post. thanks for helping me change it up Lacey!!!

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