Spicy Sausage Ragu Pizza

I love a good sausage pizza. Who doesn’t? My one complaint is the inconsistency of the bites – large blobs or small blobs of sausage, do you put the sausage on uncooked or cooked, etc. What’s the right ratio of sauce to meat? All of these decisions are stressful. That’s where the ragu comes in – evenly distributed bites of cheesy, meaty goodness.

The sausage ragu consists of relatively few ingredients thanks to the spices already in the italian sausage. The grated onion adds body and a velvety smoothness that you won’t get with just chopping the onion. Alternatively, you can also pulse the onion in the food processor until it reaches a finely minced, almost paste-like consistency.

My last words of advice are: make this pizza. The ragu makes approximately 2 cups, so use the leftovers for another pizza, pasta, or eat it with a spoon.


For the spicy sausage ragu:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, grated
  • 1/2 red or orange bell pepper, finely diced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz hot italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I prefer Better than Bouillon)

For the pizza:

  • 8-10 oz pizza dough
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sausage ragu (use more or less depending on size of pizza)
  • 1 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley


For the spicy sausage ragu:

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the onion, bell pepper, and a healthy pinch of salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the pepper is softened, approximately 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and crumble the sausage into the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until the sausage has browned, approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and cayenne pepper (if using) and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. This helps caramelize the tomato paste and deepens the flavor.
  4. Add the chicken broth. Stir. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer (low heat) and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, approx 10-15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and season with additional salt to taste (this will depend on how salty your chicken broth is). Let cool.

For the pizza:

  1. Preheat your oven, with a pizza stone on the lowest rack, to the highest setting (typically 500 degrees) for at least an hour. Alternatively, preheat your pizza oven to 700 degrees.
  2. Bring the pizza dough out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes before you’re ready to stretch it out. Let it rest on a floured countertop (or cutting board) under a dish towel to keep it from drying out.
  3. When you’re ready to make the pizza, stretch out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10-12 inch round, allowing the dough to rest for a few minutes if it springs back. *Optional: I prefer to place the dough on parchment paper and then trim the excess paper off around the dough – I think it’s way easier to handle than cornmeal on the pizza peel.
  4. Scatter the shredded mozzarella evenly over the pizza dough, leaving a 1-inch border for the crust. Spoon the ragu over the pizza, followed by the torn mozzarella and jalapeno slices.
  5. Using a pizza peel or cookie sheet, transfer the pizza to the oven. For a standard oven at 500 degrees, the pizza will likely take 12-13 minutes. For a pizza oven at 700 degrees, it’ll take 5-6 minutes. Rotate 180 degrees halfway through so that the crust browns evenly.
  6. Remove from oven and set the pizza on a cooling rack set on the counter. Scatter the grated parmesan and chopped parsley over the top of the pizza. Let it cool for a few minutes, and then cut and enjoy.