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Recipe: Spicy Fennel Sausage Pizza With Manchego, Lemon, and Sweetpea Mint Pesto

This recipe uses the pizza stone for a super crisp crust. Alternatively, if you don’t have a stone, you can par-bake the raw pizza crust on the grill grates for about 5-8 minutes, remove to cover with toppings, then return to the grill for about 8-10 minutes. Par-baking your crust will give it the structure it needs to support the toppings on the grill grates.

Serves: 2-4
Tools: Spark pizza stone and peel

Passive Prep Time: 1 hour
Active Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 portion pre made pizza dough
  • Flour for rolling out dough
  • Cornmeal for dough and peel
  • 3⁄4 lb ground chicken sausage
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 3 lemons with thin skin (Meyer if you can find them)
  • 8 oz. manchego (or sub pecorino or parmesan) cheese, wedge or shredded
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt


Step 1: Remove the dough from the refrigerator or freezer and bring it to room temperature. This is important as it will rip and won’t pull into shape properly if it’s too cold.

Step 2: In a food processor, combine 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves, 3⁄4 cup thawed peas, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1⁄2 cup of manchego cheese, and a pinch of salt. Pulse to a rough chop consistency.

Step 3: In a pan, saute the ground sausage with the fennel seeds, red pepper chili flakes, and pinch of salt until cooked. Remove from the mixture from the pan and reserve in a bowl.

Step 4: Slice the lemons into thin wheels and then cook them in the same pan the sausage cooked in, medium heat. Pay attention and flip them as soon as the bottom side begins to caramelize. Remove from the pan and put off to the side.

Step 5: Using a high heat briq, preheat the grill to 800 degrees with the pizza stone on the grates. Make sure the stone heats with the grill so that it doesn’t crack.

Step 6: Dust your hands and countertop with flour and begin to stretch your dough ball into the shape of the pizza peel. Press from the center out, pulling the edges and working the dough until it reaches the desired shape and size. Use flour as needed so the dough does not stick to your hands or the counter and rip.

Step 7: Dust the pizza peel well with flour and cornmeal, transfer the dough to the peel. (Or par-bake it now if you don’t have a stone.)

Step 8: Cover the dough with the pea pesto, sausage, lemons, and the remaining whole peas. Resist the urge to top it too heavily or it won’t cook well!

Step 9: Transfer the pizza to the stone on the grill with a swift shove/push motion of the peel, shaking it a bit if needed to get it off. This is the most difficult part of the recipe! I often have a large spatula on hand to help guide it off if I’m really having a tough time.

Step 10: Close the lid and cook for 5 minutes, check it and cook a few more minutes accordingly. Remove when the crust has risen and is browning.

Step 11: Using the peel, remove the pizza from the grill and transfer to a safe cutting surface. Using a vegetable peeler, slice long thin pieces of mangecheo on top of the pizza. Slice and serve hot.

Photography and Styling by Morgan Ione Photography

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