Sausage and Ale Pizza with Pickled Mustard Seeds

Sausage and Ale Pizza with Pickled Mustard Seeds
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About This Recipe

Nestled amidst the sprawling vineyards and quaint wineries of Napa Valley lies an abundance of culinary treasures that evoke the very spirit of California's wine country. Among them, a particular creation — the Sausage and Ale Pizza adorned with Pickled Mustard Seeds — stands as a testament to the innovative gastronomy of this region. This sausage pizza recipe marries the robust flavors of local ales and artisan sausages with the tantalizing bite of mustard seeds, culminating in a delicacy that captures the heart of Napa in every bite.

Our journey begins with the mustard seeds, a humble ingredient that holds great significance in this valley. Come spring, Napa is painted yellow with sprawling mustard fields, the plants dancing in the breeze between rows of dormant grapevines. While both black mustard seeds and yellow mustard seeds can be found here, it's the latter that has been used traditionally in pickling recipes. When soaked in vinegar, these tiny seeds transform, softening in texture while packing a punch of tart and tangy flavor. Their innate ability to complement and contrast a variety of flavors makes them a natural fit for our pizza pickled with creativity and a touch of Napa whimsy.

Sausage, with its deep and savory flavor, serves as the hero of this dish. Our sausage pizza recipe is crafted using artisanal sausages procured from local farms, ensuring a genuine taste of Napa in every bite. The choice of ale used to enhance the sausage is no less significant. Opt for a robust local Napa brew, perhaps from the Napa Smith Brewery, where the meticulous craftsmanship guarantees an ale that effortlessly melds with the meat while adding depth to the overall flavor profile.

However, this isn't just any pizza; it's a "pizza ale" delight. Thus, the inclusion of ale not only in the topping but also in the dough gives it a slight yeasty aroma and a beautiful golden hue, resonating perfectly with the amber sunsets of wine country.

If there's one thing synonymous with Napa and Sonoma, it's wine. And what better way to elevate this pizza than with the perfect wine pairings? For those who cherish tried-and-true combinations, a Zinfandel from Ridge Vineyards in Sonoma is a safe choice, its jammy notes balancing the pizza's richness. Dive a bit deeper into the classics, and a Syrah, such as that from Shafer Vineyards, would harmoniously marry its dark fruity flavors with the meaty toppings. However, for those feeling a bit adventurous, a Grenache from Amapola Creek by Richard Arrowood offers a surprising yet delightful counterpoint, its berry-driven profile playing whimsically with the ale and mustard seeds.

A journey through California's wine country, even in culinary form, would be incomplete without embracing its local character. Imagine setting up a picnic in one of Napa's scenic vineyards, a spread of local cheeses, fresh fruits, and this Sausage and Ale Pizza as the centerpiece. Perhaps follow it up with a visit to Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa to explore its myriad gourmet offerings, picking out ingredients for your next Napa-inspired creation.

Including this pizza in a larger menu for guests? Consider starting with a light salad featuring Sonoma goat cheese, transitioning into the pizza, and ending on a sweet note with a Port-infused panna cotta, perhaps using a bottle from Turley Wine Cellars.

To conclude, the Sausage and Ale Pizza with Pickled Mustard Seeds is not just a dish — it's a journey, an experience, and a love letter to the Napa Valley. Whether you're a local relishing the flavors of home or a visitor hoping to take a piece of wine country with you, this recipe encapsulates the essence of this beautiful region in every morsel.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Mustard Seeds

Napa Valley is a treasure trove of gourmet ingredients, but if there's one that deserves a special spotlight in our sausage pizza recipe, it's the mustard seeds. Come spring, the valley is painted in brilliant shades of gold with vast stretches of mustard fields. While both black mustard seeds and yellow mustard seeds are cultivated, it's the latter that holds a deep-rooted culinary heritage in Napa. When pickled, yellow mustard seeds burst with a tantalizing tartness, making them the crown jewel of our pizza pickled in tradition and flavor.

How to Pickle Mustard Seeds Perfectly

Pickling mustard seeds is a technique that transforms these tiny beads into flavor-packed gems. Here's a simple guide:

  1. Measure Out Your Seeds: For our pizza, use a mix of black and yellow mustard seeds to add varied texture and taste.
  2. Prepare the Brine: Combine equal parts of vinegar and water in a saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and sugar to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Add Mustard Seeds: Once boiling, add the mustard seeds to the brine. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Cool and Store: Remove from heat and allow the mustard seeds to cool in the brine. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. They’ll be ready to use in about 24 hours and will stay good for several weeks.


  1. Can I use store-bought pickled mustard seeds? Absolutely! While making them at home adds a personal touch, store-bought varieties work just as well, especially if you're short on time.
  2. Is there a substitute for ale in the sausage pizza recipe? If you're not keen on using ale, a robust stout or even a non-alcoholic beer can be used. Just ensure the alternative complements the flavors of the sausage.
  3. How do I store leftover pizza? Store any leftover pizza in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It's best consumed within 3 days. For reheating, using an oven or toaster oven will maintain the crust's crispness.
  4. What if I have a gluten allergy? This pizza can be made gluten-free! Use a trusted gluten-free pizza dough recipe, and ensure that your ale or beer substitute is also gluten-free.
  5. Do I need a pizza stone for this recipe? While a pizza stone is excellent for achieving a crispy crust, a regular baking sheet or pizza pan will also suffice. Preheating is key!

Tips for Success

  1. Sausage Selection: Opt for high-quality artisanal sausage, preferably sourced from local Napa farms. The richer the sausage's flavor, the more authentic your pizza will taste.
  2. Dough Rising: Allow your pizza dough, especially if integrated with ale, to rise in a warm environment. This ensures a fluffy, airy crust that beautifully contrasts the rich toppings.
  3. Wine Pairing: Take your dining experience to the next level by pairing the pizza with wines that complement its flavors. A Zinfandel, Syrah, or even a Grenache can elevate your sausage and ale pizza experience, making it reminiscent of a gourmet Napa meal.

Recipe Overview

Sausage and Ale Pizza with Pickled Mustard Seeds
Lily Anderson
2 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 1 pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)
  • ½ cup tomato sauce (homemade or a good quality store-bought brand)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 artisan sausages (like a spicy Italian or fennel sausage), casing removed and crumbled
  • ½ cup ale (preferably a rich, local Napa brew)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • Red pepper flakes (optional, for added heat)

For the Pickled Mustard Seeds:

  • ¼ cup mustard seeds
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Pickled Mustard Seeds: Begin by preparing the pickled mustard seeds. In a small saucepan, combine apple cider vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer, then add mustard seeds. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until needed.
  2. Preheat the oven to 475°F (245°C). If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven during preheating.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the garlic and red onions. Sauté for 2 minutes until the onions are slightly translucent.
  4. Add the crumbled sausage to the skillet. As the sausage cooks, deglaze the pan with the ale, letting the alcohol evaporate and the flavors meld. Cook until the sausage is fully browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface to your desired thickness. Transfer it to a pizza peel or an inverted baking sheet sprinkled with a little flour or cornmeal.
  6. Spread the tomato sauce evenly on the dough, leaving a small border for the crust. Sprinkle half the mozzarella cheese over the sauce. Distribute the sausage and onion mixture evenly across the pizza. Top with the remaining mozzarella.
  7. Transfer the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone or bake on a baking sheet for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for a moment. Garnish with fresh basil leaves, red pepper flakes (if using), and a generous sprinkling of the pickled mustard seeds.
  9. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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