This is a great tart which manages to straddle the hearty and healthy line. It can be served in bite size pieces as holiday hors d’oeuvres, or in larger squares for a casual meal accompanied by a green salad or bowl of soup. The dough comes together quickly and has a short rise, but can also be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use. Similarly, many of the elements can be prepared ahead, and the tart assembled just before baking. Should you prefer, it is possible to substitute an all-butter store-bought puff pastry, though be sure not to use store-bought pie crust, which will not rise while baking. In my notes I explain how to reduce balsamic, though many groceries now carry balsamic glazes that serve the same purpose.
Sausage and Roasted Bell Pepper Tart with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Drizzle
For the crust:
- 2 ¼ teaspoons dry yeast 1 packet
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup fine cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup warm water
For the topping:
- 4 roasted bell peppers* sliced into strips, or use jarred
- 1 medium sweet onion
- ¾ pound mild pork sausage
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons reduced balsamic vinegar*
- freshly cracked black pepper
For the dough:
- Prepare the dough. Combine the honey and water in a small bowl. Stir in the yeast, then let sit a few minutes until foamy.
- Combine the flours and cornmeal in a stand mixer. Pour the olive oil into the yeast mixture, then with the machine running, pour it into the flour. Using the dough hook, knead, adding more flour if it seems too sticky, for 5 minutes. Remove and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise one hour (you can put the dough in the refrigerator at this point for up to 6 hours. Bring to room temperature before proceeding).
For the topping:
- Slice the onion thinly, then saute it in olive oil until softened and beginning to caramelize, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the sausage from its casing and add to the onions, stirring to break it up. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until the sausage is done. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Oil a standard baking sheet and using your hands, press the dough out to fit on the baking sheet. You can use a rolling pin if it is stiff, but it should be able to be pressed and coaxed to fit most of the pan without one.
- Scatter the peppers evenly over the dough, followed by the rosemary and remaining salt. Distribute the sausage and onions, then tear the fresh mozzarella into pieces and scatter them on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until the crust is golden. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, and crack some fresh black pepper over top.
Tips & Tricks
- To reduce balsamic, start with ¼ cup in a small saucepan and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in 1 teaspoon honey and let cool.
- To roast bell peppers, seed and stem the peppers and cut along the ribs into 3 or 4 sections. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and broil until blackened. Wrap up the foil around the peppers and let them steam until cool enough to handle, then peel off the charred skin.