Cauliflower-Crust Pizza with Fig, Turkey Sausage & Sage

Fall sweaters and warm candlelit suppers typically summon heavier cuisine: bowls of pasta, hearty soups, braised meats and butternut squash...I am not quite yet ready for that filling feeling, though; I want to stay light and embrace the airy ambiance! 

Rather, I gladly introduce the epitome of grain-free gratification, in the form of cauliflower-crust pizza. Hinting to autumn with slender sprigs of fresh sage and clouds of fresh ricotta, this recipe sweetens the table while calling to a revisited palette of darker hues and richer bites. I hope you enjoy this sweet and savory sample of the gorgeous season ahead.

Makes 2-4 servings

1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 egg

3 figs, sliced lengthwise
1 Italian turkey sausage link
1/2 cup reduced-fat ricotta
1 tablespoon olive oil
Rosemary, sage, fresh herbs, to garnish

1. Cut cauliflower into florets, and pulse in a food processor until reaching a snow-like consistency. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl. Cook for 3 minutes. Transfer cauliflower to a tea towel and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat oven at 450 degrees and place pizza stone or baking sheet in oven. Prepare a piece of parchment paper with non-stick spray on countertop surface.

3. Gather corners of tea towel and wring out water from cauliflower over the sink! Then, transfer cauliflower back to microwave-safe bowl.

4. Add parmesan, mozzarella, garlic powder, salt, and dried herbs. Combine with hands; then add egg and mix again until a consistent ball is formed. Transfer ball of "dough" to parchment paper, and press into a 1/2-inch-thick pizza crust.

5. Carefully place parchment paper pizza crust atop preheated baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven.

6. While pizza crust is cooking, heat olive oil in small pan over medium heat. Remove turkey sausage from casing and place in pan, browning for 10 minutes with a wooden spoon.

7. Top pizza crust with a drizzle of olive oil, dollops of ricotta, sausage, figs, and herbs. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired, and place back in oven for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.