If you love playing in the kitchen as much as I do, then you probably know that one of our best friends for pulling together creative, fun meals has got to be a ball of pizza dough. Of course, fresh, homemade pizza is its number one responsibility, but it doesn't end there. Not by a long shot. We've used our pizza dough to make little buns for sliders; and these amazing breadsticks; this incredible monkey bread; these scrumptious sausage roll bites; and even crackers. And when I saw Jeff Mauro making his childhood favorite sausage bread with his Grandmother (which he turned into a brunch sandwich), I immediately saw a chance to give my pizza dough another job. She made hers with frozen bread dough, which you could totally do, but pizza dough gives this bread something of the charm of a calzone.
And before I go much further, I want to clarify that although our aforementioned sausage roll bites, look suspiciously similar to this sausage bread, they are totally and completely different. Sure, they're both a version of pizza dough stuffed with sausage, but with distinctly divergent outcomes. Our sausage roll bites have a decidedly British lineage, while sausage bread is a much beloved Italian-American treat.
... which will most assuredly become a regular around here. Oh, how we loved this warm and soft from the oven. Then we loved it re-heated and sliced for lunch, and even cold straight from the fridge. It really is a wonder of heavenly deliciousness.
Here's how to make my version of the much beloved sausage bread...
Roll your pizza dough into a squarish rectangle. You will quickly get the idea that this is sort of a free-form kind of thing. Improvisation and creativity are highly encouraged.
Then you're going to want to sprinkle your dough with lots of shredded mozzarella cheese, leaving a one-inch border on the edges.
Then you're going to top that cheese with lots of cooked Italian sausage and then some chopped pepperoni.
Sprinkle that with a liberal amount of grated parmesan or pecorino cheese,
and then roll up your dough until you've got it in a neat little roll,
and then pinch the edges of the dough to seal it up tightly and then brush the top and sides with olive oil.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Let it cool for a few minutes, slice, and well, you can take it from there. We debated the possibility of marinara sauce for dipping, but we concluded that it just doesn't need it. But that doesn't mean you couldn't do that if you wished to. Mostly you're just going to want to get this made and on your table. Here's the recipe...
This has quickly become a favorite in the Circle B Kitchen and one of the most requested dishes. It really is good stuff that makes a fabulous appetizer, awesome party fare, great with soups or wonderful on a brunch table. If you're using spicy Italian sausage, you can leave out the crushed red pepper flakes.
One ball of pizza dough, about 1 1/2 lbs (here's my recipe)
1 lb of cooked Italian sausage
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
lots of chopped pepperoni
8 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese
plenty of grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Roll the pizza dough out into a large-ish rectangle.
Top the dough with the grated mozzarella and then sprinkle that with the crushed red pepper.
Top that with the cooked Italian sausage and then the chopped pepperoni. Sprinkle the pepperoni with the grated parmesan and then roll the dough to enclose the toppings.
Pinch the edges to seal tightly and then place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the dough with the olive oil and the place in the preheated oven.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool 10-15 minutes before slicing. Best served warm.