Abigail’s Crusty Sausage Rolls
1 1/2 pounds ground pork sausage
2 cups (about 1/2 pound) coarsely ground mozzarella
1 cup (about 2 ounces) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil OR 1 tablespoon dried basil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 packages pizza dough (2 pounds total), thawed, if frozen
1/4 cup flour
Prepared whole-grain mustard
If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Break up the sausage into small pieces and sauté it in a large skillet over medium-high heat until completely brown and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to paper towels to drain.
When drained and completely cooled, put sausage in a bowl with the cheeses, basil, eggs, cloves, allspice, sage, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Place 1 pound of the pizza dough on a lightly floured board. A small amount of olive oil rubbed onto your hands will assist you in handling the dough. Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour and roll it out to a 10-by-12-inch rectangle, 1/2-inch thick. Once you begin to roll out the dough, you may find that it resists staying in a rectangular shape; rather it contracts like doughy rubber band. The idea is to get the dough to form an uneven rectangle as it is rolled and remain in that shape.
Spread half the sausage filling (about 2 1/2 cups) over the dough, allowing a 1 1/2-inch border of dough on all sides. Fold in the 1 1/2-inch border of dough and press down. As you do this, nudge the dough into a rough rectangular shape with the edges enclosing the filling. Roll the rectangle jelly roll-style, beginning with the short side.
Place the filled roll, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Make the second roll with the remaining ingredients and place it on the same baking sheet about 3 inches from the other roll. Bake the rolls until crusty and brown, about 40-45 minutes. (Do not be concerned about any filling oozing out of the dough.) Cool the rolls on a wire rack. Serve warm on a clean bread board, allowing guests to cut their own slices and spread with the mustard.
Suggested beverages: earthy red wines with a hint of spice and moderately high acidity, such as Chianti, pinot noir, crianza Rioja, or cru Beaujolais. If you like a white wine, try an Alsatian pinot gris.
Makes 8-10 appetizer servings.
From Abigail Kirsch, “Cooking with Les Dames d’Escoffier”