by Debra on January 17, 2011

Musical pairing – Boogie On Reggae Woman by Stevie Wonder

We are pretty big on pizza here at Smith Bites, who isn’t? And I would have to say that we’re pretty snobbish when it comes to good pizza – make that really good pizza – so most of the time that means we make it at home.  About a month ago, we ventured out and tried a new pizza place in Carmel (pronounced like the candy) called ‘Pizzology‘ that was recommended in the Indianapolis Monthly magazine. We ordered a sausage & fennel pizza and enjoyed it so much we wanted to recreate it at home – but with our own twist!

There’s no real recipe but rather a list of ingredients; we’ll let you decide how much of each one you’d like to add to make your perfect pizza!

It all starts with pizza dough; we have made our own using this basic pizza dough recipe but we also pick up frozen pizza dough to have on hand for those times when we don’t have homemade available. My local grocer has it for about $1.49 and will make 2 12-inch pizzas from one dough ball.

For this pizza, we used Trader Joe’s Tomato Bruschetta for the base; we like this better than regular jarred marinara or pizza sauce because we like the lighter, fresher taste and the seasonings are kept to a minimum. We added some caramelized onions too.

The next layer is simply thin slices of low moisture mozzarella; on top of the mozzarella, we added chopped peppadews which are simply a smaller, round red or orange pepper that’s been preserved in a sweet/sour brine that also has a tiny bit of heat to them – just enough to let you know there’s a bit of spice but not anywhere near setting your mouth on fire!

We used a mild sweet turkey sausage here but feel free to use whatever type of sausage you like – or leave it off entirely for a vegetarian version!

Thinly sliced fennel (as thin as you can get it – you don’t saute or cook in anyway before layering it on top; it will cook enough to soften but will still have a slight crunch when the pizza is ready to eat.)

Into a super hot oven – crank that puppy as high as it will go (500 degrees plus if possible) and slide the pie onto a pizza stone that has been placed on the bottom of your oven.  We purchased ours from Target for less than $20 and just leave it on the floor of the oven permanently. The stone gets hot enough to start cooking the crust immediately giving you a crisp and airy crust with a tender interior. Bake for approximately 7-10 minutes depending upon how your particular oven heats.

Perfect! Look at the golden edge of this beauty, the cheese has completely melted and then fennel enhances the sausage while those peppadews give just a pop of sweet/spicy.


© 2011, Debra. All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

megan @ whatmegansmaking February 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I tend to be a traditionalist in my pizza, but something about this recipe just makes me want to try something new! Looks wonderful :)


Peanut Butter Easter Eggs February 4, 2011 at 11:05 am

This pizza sounds delicious. Perfect and just in time for super bowl Sunday!

Reply January 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Beautiful post! Only tip I would offer is to saute the fennel before adding it to the top of the pizza. Also, if you’re into fennel you can read more about it here:

Vince from


Jason's BBQ Adventures January 25, 2011 at 10:29 pm

That is one great looking pizza!


Kristen January 23, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Pizza at home is something I don’t do nearly often enough. This looks scrumptious!


Kath January 20, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Yes, please!! That looks like a fantastic pizza! Great ingredients….thanks for sharing.


sippitysup January 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

Pizza making is an art (and science) and you have it down! GREG


Jeanne @ CookSister! January 19, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Oooh – sausage and fennel is a fantastic flavour combo – I make a sausage and fennel and risotto that rocks. And you DO know that peppadews are South African, right?? ;o) I love them – just enough sweet heat for me! Pls send me a slice of this pizza ASAP!


Renee (Kudos Kitchen) January 19, 2011 at 11:43 am

Holy cow! Your photos here have me drooling. Love this recipe! Thanks for the post.


Nancy @ TheSensitivePantry January 19, 2011 at 7:12 am

I love the idea of fennel on pizza! The crust on your pizza is so thin and crispy. Yum.


Leonardo R. Mosley January 19, 2011 at 3:34 am

Its nice to make your own pizza because you get EXACTLY what you want on it and you know damn well what quality your ingredients have. Mark and I recently went to a small bar restaurant called Bar Cento in Cleveland and it served Belgian beer and made these great thin crust grilled specialty pizzas. One of the pizzas was called Liver and Onions and to some that might sound gross.


Kim January 19, 2011 at 1:32 am

Ooh, your print button’s back!

Three words: Gorgeous. Delicious. Mouthwatering. :)

We JUST figured out last year that the key to a good pizza was cranking the oven as high as it’ll go. Now we’re addicted. So later this year, we’re “upgrading the RGB” to include a wood-burning oven. Woo!

Most recently, our favorite is: Diced butternut, pancetta and caramelized onions. Then topped off with shaved parmesan and some minced parsley. A second close favorite is the sausage/fennel combination.

Way to go, you knock-off/recipe developer, you!!!



Grace January 19, 2011 at 12:11 am

Mmmm…we love pizza here too! Roma’s in Garwood New Jersey make a mean cheese pie!


Sheila January 18, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Mouthwatering! I love pizza, especially thin crust. I’ve had alot of pizza, it’s hard to pick the best. One of my most memorable and especially yummy pizza’s was the BBQ Chicken Pizza at Wishbone in Jaco, Costa Rica! Yum!


Kita January 18, 2011 at 10:36 pm

This looks perfect. At least in my mind. It’s late and I just ate dinner but I’d totally have a slice of that right now!


Lana January 18, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Oh, Debra, the pizza looks gorgeous! We do not buy pizza anymore – the homemade version is always better! My youngest daughter has had several pizza-making parties for her friends, and they love it.
I still have to learn to like fennel. I know:) It took a while to get to like cilantro, cannot do everything at once. But I know I am missing a lot.
As usual, I LOVE your photos!


Deb January 18, 2011 at 5:56 pm

*drooling*. Drop dead gorgeous pizza, thank you. I think I will drag out the old bread machine this weekend and create something close.

As for the best pizza, that’s hard. But I do miss the Bertucci’s chain in Massachusetts.


Megan January 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I just want to run out the door and go get everything I neeed for this pizza. The family wouldn’t go for the fennel but I think it sounds perfect! I would leave it off half then I know I have sole ownership of the other half! ;)


The Teacher Cooks January 18, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I love pizza! Yours looks divine. I am going to have to look up these peppadews. Never heard of them!


Wenderly January 18, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Oh dear, now I’m craving pizza, may have to change dinner plans this evening. As far as my favorite pizza (that I now want for dinner) goes, it would be fired roasted red pepper, mozzarella and Kalamata olive pizza. *HEAVEN*


Elle January 18, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Gorgeous! We make our pizza at home too–most of the time. There’s nothing like it! We usually get our dough from the local pizza joint–I don’t know what they put in it, but it’s absolutely perfect. I love the fennel idea! We adore fennel


Kat January 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Oh I bet the fennel sausage combination is fantastic! I have so many pizzas I love but right now my favorite has leeks, guanciale, pecorino, a soft egg & cream. Matt had one Sunday night with kimchi & korean sausage that he just loved.


Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Oh, this pizza looks absolutely divine!

And, the best pizza I’ve had? So many to choose from… But, I remember having deep dish pizza in Chicago one time that was absolutely amazing. Have no idea what the restaurant was, but the pizza was good!


Barbara | VinoLuciStyle January 18, 2011 at 12:44 pm

This looks amazing Deb and I don’t usually eat pizza with meat anymore. Nothing against meat but I’ve just become a fan of blending veggies and great cheese (even grated cheese Haha!) on good crust.

My favorite pizza ever came from a local shop that made them fresh while you waited and then took them home to bake. Spinach, red onions, feta, black olives, mozzarella…drat now I’m craving one. I mean NOW!

We get great dough from a local pizza shop, many will sell their prepared dough and so does Whole Foods. Because when I’m in the mood there is no time for proofing!


Tickled Red January 18, 2011 at 9:01 am

Oh yum!! How funny the guys and I made homemade pizza Sunday night which is one of our favorite cook together weekend events. My favorite is my Greek Pizza with capers :)


Meeta January 18, 2011 at 8:46 am

And you are calling me a temptress? This sounds utterly addictive! I love fennel and caramelized onions the sausages make this all the more moreish! Coming over!


RJ Flamingo January 18, 2011 at 8:40 am

Do you deliver? LOL!


Amanda January 18, 2011 at 8:22 am

Such a neat combination of ingredients… such a delicious and gorgeous pizza!


Sasa January 18, 2011 at 6:13 am

Hi Debra and happy new year! This looks amazing…My best pizza was probably one I ate in Naples, heaven with its milky buffalo mozzarella ^_^


Monet January 17, 2011 at 11:57 pm

We had some amazing pizza in Spain. There was this tiny shop in Madrid that won our hearts and our stomachs! But I must say that your pizza looks spectacular. I love how thin and crispy your crust looks. The sausage and fennel is a wonderful combination, and I can only imagine how great that first bite must be! Thank you for sharing, my friend!


Miss January 17, 2011 at 10:30 pm

This looks too good right now, especially this time of night! I haven’t had fennel in a long time, I will have to look for it next time I make it to the big town.


Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having January 17, 2011 at 9:19 pm

These pictures are making me want to have dinner all over again.


Aggie January 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I’m such a sucker for pizza. have never had fennel on pizza but paired with sausage sounds perfect!!! I don’t know if I even know what a peppadew is but I’m going to find out. This looks amazing.


Tracy January 17, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Homemade pizza is the best. I love the look of your crust – perfection!


Brian @ A Thought For Food January 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I put fennel on just about everything! Love the flavors of on this pizza.


Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather January 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I am in awww you pizza looks mouth watering! I’ve never had fennel on a pizza but so see how it works perfectly here.


Carol January 17, 2011 at 7:41 pm

This looks so much better than my $4.99 chesse pizza from HyVee!!


Maria January 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Josh would eat pizza morning, noon, and night if I let him! I know he would love this version! Going to make it soon! Thanks guys!


Sherri January 17, 2011 at 6:39 pm

That looks so yummy.

Best Pizza I’ve ever eaten The Original DiCarlo’s Pizza


Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food January 17, 2011 at 6:39 pm

We’re pretty “big” (ahem!) on homemade pizza around our house too. I love that you’ve let us choose our own proportions in this pizza recipe. Tons of fresh fennel for me, please, and some fennel seed for good measure too! Are peppadews available in the US? I haven’t seen them since leaving South Africa.


foodwanderings January 17, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Ooh so hungry now the crust looks so perfect and enticing! I would probably use spicy turkey sausage but yum!! Gorgeous!!


bunkycooks January 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm

You had me at peppadews!! I love those little guys! I bet this is one mighty good pizza with all of those goodies on top. :)


Cookbook Queen January 17, 2011 at 5:14 pm

This looks AMAZING, Debra!!


bridget {bake at 350} January 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Can I come to YOUR house for dinner?!? That looks BEYOND incredible!!!

Best pizza I’ve ever had? Gosh….maybe Grimaldi’s.


Shelby January 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Well, now I have a reason to make a pizza myself this month. ;) Looks yummy and I love the toppings!


Jamie | My Baking Addiction January 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I should not have looked at this until after I ate dinner. Now I want pizza instead of leftovers! Gorgeous looking pizza!


naomi January 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Wow. I’m loving the fennel in this. Your crust looks perfect!


Shaina January 17, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Gorgeous, pizza! I love that you added the fennel. I’m going to have to try that.


Amy | She Wears Many Hats January 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Yummy! Yummy! YUMMY!


The Rowdy Chowgirl January 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Now that is one gorgeous pizza! I really like the idea of putting fennel on it. Also, I have a friend who has just started making his own sausage…a plan is starting to come together in my mind! :)

The best pizza I’ve ever had? Serious Pie here in Seattle. It’s actually worth the couple hour wait for a table. And I rarely say that…


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