Hey, everybody. Sorry for vanishing for a while there. I’ve essentially become a hermit over the past few weeks since MBW ended. I think I’ve left my house twice in the last week. I’m going to try to post here about twice a week from now on, and topics may vary. But I’m also dead broke and cooking a lot at home these days, so get prepared for a lot of cheap, tasty and relatively healthy recipes.
This one is an old family recipe for a rolled pizza dough stuffed with broccoli and sausage. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods. In the images below, I used chicken sausage, since GirlfriendBites doesn’t eat pork. But you really want to use sweet Italian pork sausage. Trust me on that one.
This is also a very malleable recipe. So modify it, personalize it, do whatever the hell you want. For a healthy variation, try whole wheat dough stuffed with swiss chard, toasted pine nuts and feta cheese. But here’s The Classic:
- 1 lb. pizza dough
- 1 lb. sausage
- 1 lb. broccoli florets
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 egg
- olive oil
(All of the above ingredients can be easily purchased at Trader Joe’s. I was a lazy bastard and even got my pizza dough there. But if you really want do it right, buy a ball of dough from your favorite local pizza place. For me, that’s Brunello in Culver City, just down the street from where I live.)
- Preheat your oven to 375°.
- Set your pizza dough out to rest so that it gets down to room temperature (it’ll be a lot easier to work with)
- If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven on the middle rack. If you don’t, go buy one. They’re awesome. If you still don’t want to get one, just use a baking sheet.
- Chop your garlic and set it aside. This is a rustic dish, so the degree of the chop, slice, mince or dice is essentially up to personal preference. But I like a rough chop.
- Chop your broccoli florets until they’re each about a quarter of their original size. But again, it’s rustic, so do whatever you feel in your heart.
- Heat a large skillet at medium-high heat with enough oil to coat the bottom of the skillet
- Season your oil with a sprinkle of salt
- Fry your garlic for about 1 minute—just before browning (it will brown further with the pork fat).
- Squeeze the sausage out of its casing and into the skillet with the garlic. Again, you really want to be using pork (and that rule is generally true for everything).
- Break up the sausage as best you can in the skillet. You want it to be crumbled, at bare minimum, into bite sized pieces.
- Add your dried basil and oregano into the pan. Fresh basil would be great here, but I’m broke, so today we’re using dried. If you’re going with fresh, use less.
- Now the fat from the sausage should be coming out and combining with the oil. It may look like a lot of liquid, but that’s what you want, since broccoli absorbs moisture like it’s nobody’s business.
- Add said broccoli. Mix it with everything else. Watch the moisture absorb. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the pork is cooked through, start testing your broccoli. Season the pan with salt and pepper to taste. If you over-season, don’t worry. It’s going to be wrapped in pizza dough, which will dull the flavors of the filling a bit.
- When the broccoli is just below your personally preferred level of done-ness, it’s finished (it’ll cook in the oven). But everything should still taste good together.
- If for some reason you just realized that you forgot to buy pizza dough— don’t worry. This stuff is really good tossed with pasta too (farfale is great). If you don’t have any pasta in your pantry—God help you.
- Take your dough and break it into two equal pieces. The completed dish is great cold out of the fridge, so don’t be afraid to make too much and eat it tomorrow. If you still think it’s too much food, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ill come pick up your leftovers.
- Add flour to your dough, your rolling pin and your surface. Roll out your doughs. You want them to be about six inches wide, and as long as you can make them. See picture. (If you have a girlfriend, have her do this part. If you’re a girl, do it yourself. Your average men make terrible patissiers.)
- Distribute the broccoli-sausage mixture evenly in a long, fat strip in the middle of each dough. If you have too much filling to fit inside reasonably— just eat the extra. But you really shouldn’t have extra, since I assume you’ve been picking at the broccoli and sausage this whole time, like I would have been.
- Roll the whole thing up. Carefully. It should almost look like a giant croissant. But with broccoli and sausage inside.
- Make 3-4 shallow slices along the top of your creation.
- Scramble your egg in a bowl with a splash of water to make an egg wash.
- With a brush, or your fingers, coat the top of your broccoli-sausage bread with the egg wash. This step can be skipped if you want to go extra rustic, but then you won’t get that gorgeous golden brown quality.
- Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil on your pizza stone and try to spread it around a little (with that brush, or a paper towel). If you still don’t have a pizza stone, do it to the baking sheet. Then go buy a pizza stone.
- Lay your broccoli-bread doughs on the stone or sheet directly in the oven.
- Let it bake for 20-25 minutes— until it’s golden brown all over.
- When it’s done, take it out.
- Cut yourself a slice and eat it.
- If you’re going to save some, let it get down to room temperature before you wrap it up, or it’ll steam. When it’s down to room temperature, wrap it in foil and put it in the fridge.