A GREAT SNACK RECIPE FOR YOUR NEXT SPORTS PARTY!
Step-by-Step instructions on how to prepare this amazing Sausage bread recipe.
Great Sports Snack – Sausage Bread
Living in Pittsburgh, PA – there is always a sporting event in search of a great snack.
Here’s a great game-day food anyone can make. With the basic ingredients of sausage, cheese and pizza dough, how can you go wrong? Sausage bread is not really a recipe. It’s a method handed down from Italian-American mothers or mothers-in-law. Every cook who makes it puts his or her own spin on it. It can be a very involved dish, or, with some shortcuts, a very simple, mid-week treat.
1 package sweet Italian sausage (links or bulk sausage)
1 box frozen chopped spinach or 1 bag fresh baby spinach (optional)
1/2 ball fresh or packaged mozzarella cheese or 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella or pizza blend cheese
1 tube Pillsbury thin-crust pizza dough
Salt and pepper (for fresh spinach)
Olive oil (for fresh spinach)
Non-stick aluminum foil (this is the key to your success with this dish!)
About 2 cups tomato sauce for dipping (jarred or make your own)
A note about the pizza dough: the traditional choice here is to buy a ball of fresh pizza dough from a pizza place or supermarket, or make your own. Forget it. Get a tube of pizza dough. Stretching real pizza dough is a skill. It takes forever, requires covering the counter with flour, and if holes start forming, you’ll be on this step all day.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°. This is lower than what it says on the Pillsbury package directions.
2. In a saucepot with no oil, brown the sausage. If you bought links, cut them open and tear up the filling as you throw it in the pot. A whole package will be more than you need, but don’t worry about making too much filling. You can save any extra sausage, spinach and sauce for a quick pasta dish for 1-2 people another day. Keep breaking up the sausage with a wood spoon or spatula as it browns. Then remove to a bowl. Do not clean the pot!
3. Cook the spinach if you want to include it.
For frozen, microwave it about 30 seconds less than the directions require. Frozen spinach must be drained well. Place it in mesh strainer or colander and press as much water out as you can. Then wrap the whole bunch in two or three layers of paper towels and wring it out hard.
For fresh spinach, get a large sauce pot or pasta pot. Put just a drizzle of olive oil on the bottom and dump the whole bag in over medium heat. If it does not all fit at first, just wait. Spinach shrinks as it cooks, and then you can add the rest. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Stir it around a lot. This only takes 4-5 minutes to cook. As it cooks, the giant heap of spinach will shrink down. When all the leaves are wilted and darker, remove it from the heat onto a plate or plastic cutting board (it will stain your wood board). Cut it up a bit so you sprinkle it throughout the bread.
4. Cut up the cheese unless you bought a bag of shredded cheese. A serrated knife works best on a soft ball of mozzarella.
5. Unroll the dough and assemble your bread! Unroll the dough on a clean counter and gently stretch it out just a bit. Then sprinkle with crumbled sausage, spinach and cheese. Go almost to the edge in every direction. Don’t over-stuff it. You’ll probably use about three-quarters of your sausage and spinach.
6. Roll up your bread. Carefully start rolling one long side towards the other long side. Pinch any small holes closed when you’re done.
7. Put the bread carefully on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil. Bend it as you pick it up, so that it makes a horseshoe or ring shape. Don’t join the ends together, though.
8. Bake for about 30 minutes or until dark brown. You just want to feel sure that the dough in the center is cooked.
9. While the bread is baking, heat up the tomato sauce in the pot you used to brown the sausage. If the pot has a lot of grease in it, just dab with paper towels first. Scrape the bottom of the pot while the sauce is heating up, to get the flavor from the sausage off he bottom. To make your own sauce, use 1 can tomato sauce (sold near the canned and crushed tomatoes), and a couple dashes each of oregano, parsley flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. You can also add a bay leaf, a dash of red pepper flakes or a dash of red wine, if you like. Let all this simmer until the bread is ready to slice.
10. Let the bread rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes. Serve sliced with hot dipping sauce.
Sausage bread is a great dish if you are having people over to watch the big game. However, if you use a tube of pizza dough and jarred sauce, it can be quick and easy to make. After you’ve made it, you’ll realize the possibilities are endless with this method. For example, brown ground turkey instead of sausage, and you have a great healthy meal that will get kids to eat their spinach.
Enjoy your party!