Italian Sausage Roll
Italian sausage rolls are one of my families favorite comfort foods, especially my husband. He orders a sausage roll in a pizzeria more often than not. The other day I was making pizza dough and memories of my youth came back to me when my mother would make pizza. She would often save some of the dough to make a sausage roll. She smothered the sausage with peppers, onions, and cheese. It was a special treat for us. So I decided to use only enough dough to make one pizza for my husband and I to share, and I saved the remainder of the dough to make sausage rolls the next day.
Although sausage with peppers and onions is very common, it somehow takes on a different appeal when it is wrapped up in a crispy pizza crust. The key is to use quality ingredients to make a delicious, decadent sausage roll without all the grease.
I start with the pizza dough. You can use my pizza dough recipe here, or you can buy it at your local pizza shop or grocery store. There are a lot of good frozen doughs as well. Next, choose your favorite Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella, and pecorino cheeses. Lastly, a fresh marinara sauce for dipping. You can use my marinara sauce recipe here, or any sauce of your choice.
1 – lb. Italian Sausage
1 – large red bell pepper
1 – medium onion
3 – cloves garlic
8 – oz. fresh mozzarella
1/2 – cup grated pecorino romano
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Ground Black Pepper
1 – egg
Marinara Sauce for dipping
First, prepare the onions, peppers, and sausage. Remove the sausage from the casing and crumble it into bite sized pieces. Next, peel the onion and cut it in half, and then cut each half into thin slices. Lastly, cut the red pepper into thin slices in the same manner as the onion.
Heat about 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet and add the sausage. Cook the sausage through, stirring often so it does not burn. Once it is cooked, place the sausage on a platter on top of a piece of paper towel so it will absorb the excess oil. Now, in the same skillet, then add the onions. Sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper. Sauté until they are translucent and start to caramelize. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Stir often so they do not burn. Remove the onions to a bowl, and add the sliced peppers. Repeat the same steps–sprinkle with salt and pepper, then sauté until they start to soften.
Assemble the sausage roll
You can make one large sausage roll, but I like to make two smaller rolls so cut the pizza dough for one pie in half. Spread a little flour on your board or counter and roll out the dough into a rectangle about 14″ x 7″. I like to work on top of a piece of parchment paper, and then I use the same parchment paper on top of the baking stone in the oven.
Now drizzle a little olive oil over the dough, and spread it out evenly with a pastry brush. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little salt and garlic powder.
Spread half of the cooked sausage over the dough, leaving a 1″ edge on three sides and a 2″ edge at one end for folding.
Next add half of the sautéd red pepper and onion.
Take half of the mozzarella cheese and tear into small pieces and spread it evenly over the top of the sausage, peppers, and onion. Then sprinkle half of the Pecorino Romano and a little red pepper flake over the top.
Brush the exposed edges of the pizza dough with a little water. This will help it to stick together. Start from the top and roll tightly, tucking in the ends.
Continue until you get to the bottom and stretch the excess dough over the top of the roll. Press it together and pinch the ends to make sure the roll stays together. Set aside and prepare the second roll.
Once both rolls are made, place them with the parchment on a ceramic stone or cookie sheet. If you use a stone, you may want to place a pan underneath to catch any juices that may leak out.
Before you put them into the oven, take one egg and break it into a small bowl. Whisk it together, and brush it over the top of the rolls.
Place them into a pre-heated 400o oven, and bake for 25-35 minutes. The top of the roll should be golden brown.
Once they are done, remove from the oven and let set for 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve with Marinara sauce.