When the world makes me tired and cranky and life gets a little too hectic, I cannot think of anything better than an autumn day at home, reading, baking, puttering about the house and making this bread.
I am an Aquarius, and not a homebody by nature. Unlike my crabby, cancer husband, who prefers to stay in his shell most of the time. I view home as a resting place. A place to recuperate before venturing back out into the world again. So it is important for me to have a well stocked kitchen, with a lot of delectable foods on hand to cozy up with when I am in nesting mode.
That's the reason I love this recipe so much. It's my ultimate, stay at home, comfort food. Something savory and delicious to bake on chilly autumn days when the oven is just begging to be turned on.
I made this for a neighbor once who had just had a baby, and her family loved it. They devoured the entire loaf in one setting. It's the type of food you can pack up easily and transport. Just add a salad and some red wine and your talking heaven in my book.
You can use any type of bread recipe you like here. A loaf of Rhodes frozen bread dough works fine in a pinch. Just thaw, roll out, add the sausage filling and bake.
Occasionally, I like to add pepperoni slices to the sausage mixture. But most of the time, we prefer it plain, with just the sausage and cheese. There's something so satisfying about the soft, yeasty, bread and the spicy Italian sausage. I can't get enough.
For the bread -
1 box Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix
Yeast packet that is included in mix
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cup warm water
In a food processor, add the Hot Roll Mix, sugar, salt, and yeast. Pulse a few times to combine. Add olive oil and 1 1/2 cups warm water and mix until dough forms a ball. You want it to be the consistency of a smooth, thick, pizza dough.
Place in bowl or on a cookie sheet dusted with flour and allow to rise for 1 hour.
For the sausage filling -
1 lb. Italian Sausage
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cups shredded mozzerella cheese
Cook sausage in skillet along with Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Set aside to cool. After it has cooled, add cheese and 1 egg lightly beaten. The egg will help bind everything together.
On a floured surface, roll dough out into the shape of a long rectangle. Sometimes I make two smaller loaves, sometimes I like to make one giant loaf. It's your choice. Spoon sausage filling into middle of dough, then fold over edges to form a loaf shape and pinch seams shut.
Gently turn loaf onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, seam side down. Brush with olive oil. Allow to rest for another 20-30 minutes. While dough is resting preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.