When I’m feeling homesick for New York, nothing other than classic NY pizzeria fare will do: pizza, calzone, sausage rolls. A perfect golden crust with oozing mozzarella. Stuffed with sausage and broccoli rabe with a side of garlicky marina. If reading this is making you as hungry as I am, fear not my friends. I’m going to walk you through how to make this classic broccoli rabe sausage roll.
Italian Sausage Rolls, Calzone, and Pizza
These are three of the best things one gets at a NY pizzeria. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the toasty heroes or glistening garlic knots commonly found at these establishments. Rice balls, a side of meatballs, lasagna – all are killer. Come to think about it, there isn’t anything coming out of a pizzeria that I don’t love. That’s why I like to recreate my favorite New York style pizzeria dishes when I’m missing my home.
The one I’m focusing on today, the broccoli rabe sausage roll, is great plain, but is even better when dipped in a side of marinara sauce. I like to bring it to a higher level with the addition of fresh mozzarella. Harder to make? Nope, just as simple. I think adding a special twist to a common dish is always a winning idea. I did this in my recipe for Roasted Garlic White Pizza. Check that one out for a standard New York style white slice taken up a notch with the simple addition of some roasted garlic.
Before I go on, you might be asking yourself, “what is broccoli rabe?” Here’s some good info on it. This veggie, also known as rapini, is beloved in my home. Though it shares its name with broccoli it is from a different family, and definitely does not taste similar. It has an excellent bitterness to it and goes so well in a variety of sausage dishes. A side of cherry peppers with it – delicious!
Ingredients For The Broccoli Rabe Italian Sausage Roll:
Fresh Italian sausage is a must. I always recommend getting the best ingredients. If you live in an area of the country where there is an Italian-American population, you may already be familiar with a local Italian grocery, or pork store. Go there – go straight there and don’t look back! My favorite pork store in Long Island was A&S in Massapequa – the quality of their meat was just unsurpassed. If you don’t have access to a pork store, the sausage sold at supermarkets or Costco will suffice. Fresh mozzarella is usually pretty easy to get as well.
Finding broccoli rabe might be more challenging so if you’re unable to find it, kale or broccoli would both be good substitutes. Basically, any dense, green veggie will combine well with the melted cheese and sausage.
Pizza dough is used for these rolls and the store bought variety can make this dish even easier. As with my roasted garlic white pizza recipe, try to get pizza dough from the best pizza place in your neighborhood. If no luck there, Trader Joe’s makes a good pizza dough that I have used many times in a pinch.
As far as the sauce, a quick marinara can be whipped up with 4 ingredients. Garlic, tomatoes, olive oil and salt. If you are not feeling that adventurous buy your favorite jarred sauce. I’m not a big fan of any jarred sauce so I really recommend making your own.
Sausage Roll Process:
The sausage and broccoli rabe are both roasted prior to cooking the roll. The sausage takes longer, about 25 minutes and the broccoli rabe takes 12 minutes or so. The brocoli rabe does not need to be precooked. I do it because I prefer the roasted flavor of it in the roll, and I think it adds another flavor dimension.
While the sausage is roasting prepare the dough. Pizza dough needs to be brought up to room temperature so take it out of the fridge 2 hours before starting. Roll it out into a rectangle about the size of a sheet pan. Make sure you flour your hands, rolling pin and cutting board so the dough does not stick. Place the dough in an oiled pan or on top of a parchment paper lined pan.
After the dough is set in the pan cut up the sausage on a bias and roughly chop the broccoli rabe. Place the sausage into the middle of the dough, as pictured above. Next place the fresh mozzarella and broccoli rabe onto the sausage. Move onto folding the dough.
The dough should be rolled up with the seam left on the bottom. The sides can be pinched together and tucked under as well. Just make sure the dough is pinched together so it does not open. Finally an egg wash is applied on the top of the roll and slits are made so steam can escape while baking. Sesame seeds add a great look and flavor as well.
Other Italian Recipes:
- Margarita Pizza With Store Bought Dough
- Pizza Bianca Recipe
- Italian Sausage Pasta
- Spaghetti Amatriciana Recipe
- Shrimp Fra Diavolo
- 1 16oz pizza dough
- 10 oz fresh mozzarella
- 4 large sweet Italian sausage links
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Set oven rack at middle height and heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Roast 4 links of Italian sausage for 25 minutes in oven safe dish. Poke fork holes in the sausage prior to roasting.
- Wash and chop off bottom 2 inches of broccoli rabe stems. Place broccoli rabe in roasting pan. Pour 3 Tbsp of olive oil onto broccoli rabe, and apply 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of black pepper. Roast for 12 minutes.
- While sausage and veggies are roasting, roll out pizza dough to 1/4" thick and place dough on sheet pan. When rolling out dough make sure you flour hands, rolling pin, and cutting board to avoid sticking.
- Cut up sausage and broccoli rabe after their roasting times have completed. Sausage should be cut into 1/2" thick pieces on a diagonal bias and broccoli rabe can be roughly chopped into 2 inch long pieces.
- Place sausage into a line in the middle of rolled out dough leaving 2 inches on each side. Then add slices of the fresh mozzarella and finally add the chopped broccoli rabe on top.
- Fold the roll together like a jelly roll. The seamed area can be pinched together and placed seam side down. The sides should be pinched together and tucked under.
- Beat the egg and brush onto top of roll with pastry brush. Cut slits on top of roll and top with sesame seeds.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees until golden brown. When done, let rest for at least 5 minutes. Cut into 2 inch thick slices and serve with marinara sauce. Enjoy!
- hot or sweet sausage are both great
- sesame seeds are optional
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