Italian Sausage Roll

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.


Pizza dough
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)
Garlic Powder
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.

Buon appetito!

Pizza with Proscuitto and Arugula

Pizza, Proscuitto, Arugula



Who doesn’t like Pizza? My favorite is Napolitano style Pizza with Proscuitto and Arugula. Living in New York City, pizza is available practically on every corner.  Some of the best pizza in the world can be found here, but my favorite style is Napolitano. Even though New York pizza is so good, I sometimes prefer to make my own.  This way I can control the quality of the ingredients, and the result is a lighter, healthier pizza.

I tried for years to make my own pizza, but I was never satisfied with the pizza dough.  It was never quite right, until my friend, Roberta, gave me her recipe.  It is easy to make, and it comes out perfect every time for me.

Give it a try! Be creative–use any toppings you prefer.

Ingredients for pizza dough:
4 – cups all purpose flour
4 – tbls. olive oil
3 – tbls. sugar
1 1/4 -cups water
1 – envelope of dry yeast*
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Marinara Sauce
1/2- lb. Proscuitto (thinly sliced)
1 – lb. fresh mozzarella
3 – tbls. Pecorino Romano cheese (optional)

*I use an Italian brand of yeast called Livieto di Birra, by Paneangeli. This is the secret to my success with pizza dough. If you can’t find the yeast, however, you can substitute any brand you prefer.

In a large bowl, add 4 cups of flour, and make a well in the center. Add the package of yeast, sugar, salt, olive oil, and 1 cup of water.

Mix with a fork to incorporate the ingredients and add the rest of the water if needed to bring the flour together. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and soft about 4 minutes.

Rub a little oil in the same bowl and place the ball of dough in the center. Top with a drizzle of oil on top of the dough to prevent it from getting hard.

Cover with a towel and set in a warm area to rise for two hours.

After about 2 hours, the dough should at least double in size, then you are ready to make the pizza.

Doubled in size

Time to Assemble the Pizza:

Place a ceramic pizza stone in the oven and preheat it to 500° (Use the Convection setting if you have it).

Divide the dough into three equal portions.  Spread a little flour on a board or countertop, and with a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 12″-14″ roundshape.

Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper.  Spread a little marinara sauce, sprinkle with a little pecorino romano cheese (optional), and place small pieces of fresh mozzarella all over the surface.

Using a pizza paddle, slide it under the parchment paper and place it  in the preheated oven on top of the pizza stone.  Cook until the crush starts to brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Do not leave the pizza unattended.  It cooks quickly.  It takes about 4-6 minutes depending on your oven.  Using the pizza paddle, lift the edge of the pizza to check the bottom.  It should be browned lightly.

Napolitano Pizza, Mozzarella

Remove the pizza and place it on a cutting board.  Place thin slices of prosciutto over the pizza and top off with arugula.  It’s ready to serve!

Buon appetito!

Pizza, Napolitano, Proscuitto, Arugula


Turkey Taco Pizza

Tonight I was trying to decide what to make for dinner with the ground turkey that I bought.  My family likes Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, so I decided to make my own version of tacos.  The only problem was I did not have corn tortillas, but I did have flat bread.  When I took then out of the package the first thing that came to mind was pizza.

I do not claim that this recipe is in any way authentic Mexican or Tex-Mex, but I can tell you that it is delicious.  It is so much better to season the ground meat yourself instead of using taco mixes.  This way you can control the fat and salt content, and using the turkey meat instead of ground beef makes it a little healthier.

The taco pizza can be used as an appetizer or main dish. I kept it simple with cheese, tomatoes, cilantro and sour cream, but make them the way you like with your favorite toppings.

1 – medium onion
1 – lb. ground turkey
2 – cloves garlic
2 – tbls. tomato paste
1 1/2 – tbls. chili powder
1/4 – tsp. red pepper flake
1 – tsp. cumin
1/2 – tsp. salt
1/2 – tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 – tsp. Adobo seasoning
1 – cup chicken stock
1 – can black beans
1 – package of flat bread or pita bread

16 – oz. grated cheddar cheese or any cheese you prefer
2 – ripe tomatoes
Sour Cream

Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil to a large skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and red pepper flake and sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes. Push the onion mixture to one side and add the ground turkey. Break the meat up into fine crumbles and cook until the pink color is gone. Mix the meat with the onion mixture and then make a small space on one side of the skillet, and add the tomato paste, chili powder, and cumin. Mix together and cook about one minute. This helps to release the flavors of the spices.  Now combine with the meat mixture until the meat is well coated with the spices.

Add chicken stock, salt, black pepper, adobo, and black beans. Stir, reduce flame to a simmer and let cook about 25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

Now it is time to assemble the pizza.

Preheat the oven to broil. Spread a thin layer of the meat mixture over the flat bread and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Place on a pizza stone or cookie sheet and place under the broiler until the cheese melts. Watch it closely so not to burn it.

Remove the flat bread from the oven and top with diced tomatoes, cilantro, and dollops of sour cream.

Serve immediately.

Makes 5-6 ten inch flat bread pizzas