Unless you’re new here, you already know about my pepper hating issues from the Jalapeño Popper Pizza post. I had no range of acceptable peppers beyond jalapenos, and I didn’t care to change either. If you’re pepper challenged like I am, you might be thinking this recipe isn’t for you – and I get it, I do! Until a few years ago, I wouldn’t have touched this Sausage, Pepperoncini & Feta pizza recipe with a ten foot pole – but I saw the error of my ways and now this is in my top three favorite pizzas of all time!
It was my wife Mellissa’s Uncle Tom who finally introduced me to the joys of the pepperoncini – a spicy, thin skinned pepper that is usually light green to yellow in color. Tom has traveled the world and worked in some of the biggest food towns in the country as a Chef and General Manager, finally settling in Portsmouth, NH where he now owns the award winning Mombo restaurant.
Years ago, while his father (Mellissa’s Pepere) was ill, Tom came back to CT to run a small steakhouse. While there, he put a calamari appetizer that had Pepperoncini peppers in it on the menu.
As you may know, calamari is a big deal in New England. They come to you (ideally) lightly fried, crispy but tender..never chewy. There is lemon. There is marinara, or sometimes a garlic based sauce – always on the side. Now remember, I said the peppers were in the dish, not on the side. IN the the dish, WITH the marinara. Normally, I’d pick every last one of them out – however, I’d never eaten anything Tom made that I didn’t love, so I knew what I had to do.
Now, I don’t want to use fru fru words like ethereal or transcendental to describe the experience…but I may or may not have blacked out for a moment when I tasted them. My first thoughts upon recovering my scramble wits were something along the lines of “You stupid fool! Look at what you have been missing all these years!!!” Needless to say, now I can’t get enough of those things.
I will be forever grateful to Uncle Tom for introducing me to the spicy joy that is pepperoncini – though it would take a miracle for even him to get me to eat green bell peppers! (Note from Mellissa: I can almost hear Tom’s “Challenge Accepted” response when reading this! If anyone can do it – he can!)
This is a deceptively simple pizza that was a big hit with my pals in CT and is still one of my favorites. The vinegary bite of the pepperoncini perfectly complements the earthy sausage and sweetness of the tomato sauce, and the salty tang of the feta cheese fills in the blanks, engaging every last one of your taste buds. Uncle Tom hasn’t been down to try this one yet, but we’re pretty sure he’ll approve!
- Press out your pizza dough to form a 10" disk. Spread the sauce evenly onto the dough, leaving a 1 inch rim of unsauced dough. Sprinkle the crumbled sausage evenly over the top, then the pepperoncini, followed by the feta cheese. Then, evenly cover with the shredded mozzarella cheese. (see photo above)
- Bake for 1 - 2 minutes in your wood fired oven, turning as necessary to avoid burning one side, OR bake for 8 - 10 minutes in a 500 degree (F) preheated oven on a preheated pizza stone, OR bake for 12 - 14 minutes in a 500 degree (F) preheated oven on a metal sheet pan.
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