Sausage and broccoli rabe rolls are a New York pizzeria classic that combines pizza dough wrapped around slices of Italian sausage, roasted broccoli rabe, mozzarella, and Pecorino Romano cheese.  Topped with sesame seeds and baked until golden, these rolls are perfect with a side of marinara and make a fantastic lunch, snack, or dinner.  

Hands holding sausage broccoli rabe roll dipped in sauce.

 

Editor’s Note: Originally published on 6/6/2018.  Updated with full process shots and expanded info.

One of the greatest things about pizza dough is its versatility.

While I use it for many different pizzas, like white pizza or Sicilian pizza, it’s also used for other goodies, like these sausage and broccoli rabe rolls.

These rolls, along with chicken rolls, broccoli rolls, or spinach rolls, etc., are typically found in pizzerias in and around the New York metro area and are certainly a staple near me on Long Island.

As good as they are from a pizzeria, they’re even better at home and are easier than you may think.

If you want to make it even simpler, you do have the option to use store-bought pizza dough, but it is worth the effort to make your own, I promise!

Ingredients shown: pizza dough, sesame seeds, Pecorino, mozzarella, egg, olive oil, broccoli rabe, and sausage links.

How to make it

First, make the dough

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.  Note: You can use store-bought pizza dough and skip the dough making process

  1. To a very large bowl, add 9 ounces (260g) of water.  To a different bowl, add 3 1/4 cups (406g) of bread flour, 1/2 teaspoon (2g) of instant yeast, 1 1/2 teaspoons (8g) of fine sea salt, and 1 teaspoon (4g) of sugar, and stir until combined.
  2. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the water a little at a time, mixing thoroughly to form a rough, dry mass.

Dough process shot collage.

  1. Drizzle 1 tablespoon (14g) of olive oil over the dough and mix again to remove any residue stuck in the bowl.  Move the shaggy dough to a work surface and knead for 5-7 minutes.  If the dough feels too sticky, place a clean inverted bowl over the dough and let it sit for 30 minutes before continuing.
  2. Return to kneading (be sure to knead for at least a total of 5 minutes), and place the bowl over the dough one more time, allowing it to sit for 30-40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, form a dough ball and pinch the seam side and place the ball seam-side-down into an oiled bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, but preferably 1 day before making your sausage broccoli rabe rolls.  

Next, make the sausage broccoli rabe pizza rolls

  1. 2 hours prior to using, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up.  Preheat the oven to 425f and set the rack to the middle level. Shred 12 ounces of block mozzarella and grate a 1/4 cup of Pecorino Romano and set aside. Place 1 pound of Italian sausage (we used mild with fennel) links on a baking sheet and poke a few holes in each link.  Roast the sausage for 15-20 minutes.  Rinse 1 bunch of broccoli rabe and remove the bottom 2 inches from the stems.  Chop the rest into 1-inch pieces, toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder and spread out onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Roast the broccoli rabe for 10 minutes.

Sausage broccoli rabe roll recipe process shot collage group number one.

  1. Once cool enough to handle, slice the cooked sausage on a diagonal into 1/2″ thick slices. 
  2. On a floured work surface, open the dough ball with your hands and shape it into a 1/4″ thick circle about 17-18 inches in size.  For more on how to open a dough ball without degassing it, see our New York pizza recipeIf you’re not comfortable with this step, you can definitely use a rolling pin to roll it out.

Recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. Cut the dough into 4 equal-sized pie-shaped pieces.
  2. Arrange the dough slice with the point facing upwards and lay 1/4 of the sliced sausage perpendicular to the point in the center of the dough.  Be sure to leave at least 1 inch of dough without sausage on each side.  Layer 1/4 of the broccoli rabe on top of the sausage. Sprinkle 1/4 of the mozzarella and Pecorino on top. 

Recipe process shot collage group number three.

  1. Take the point of the dough and wrap it over the filling, then tuck it underneath leaving the seam side down. Repeat the process for the next 3 rolls and place all seam-side down on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  2. Beat 1 large egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush it on top of the rolls.  Cut a few slits on top of each roll to allow venting.  Sprinkle each roll with sesame seeds (about 1 tablespoon total), but more if you like. 

Recipe process shot collage group number four.

  1. Bake the sausage rolls on the middle rack for 18-22 minutes at 425f or until golden brown.  When done, allow the rolls to rest for at least 5 minutes.  Slice the rolls in half and serve with a side of marinara for dipping.  Enjoy!

Overhead shot of four sausage broccoli rabe rolls on parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Top tips

  • Cold fermentation. If you choose to make your own down for this recipe, it’s important to allow the dough to ferment in the fridge for at least 12 hours to get that classic NY-pizza taste.  You can allow it to ferment for up to 72 hours for maximum taste.
  • Store-bought dough. You can definitely use store-bought dough in place of making your own.  If you have access to a great pizzeria, ask them if they’ll sell you a dough ball.  Most in the NYC area will do this, and I’d imagine it’s the same in other locations.
  • Sausage. I used mild Italian sausage with fennel as we think it creates the most authentic NY pizzeria-style sausage rolls, but you can use spicy, or other types of sausage if you prefer.
  • Broccoli rabe. This green veggie is a favorite and is readily available where I live, however, in some areas, it may be trickier to find.  If you can’t find broccoli rabe, you can use another veggie, like broccolini or broccoli. 
  • Mozzarella. I love Galbani brand for this recipe because it tends to be on the dry side.  When making pizza or rolls like this, it’s better to use lower-moisture cheese.  As an alternative, you could use sliced mozzarella from a deli counter, or even mozzarella sticks as those tend to be low in moisture as well.  No matter what type of mozzarella you choose to use, ball it and place it only in the middle since it will melt and slide on its own during the baking process.

Overhead shot of two sausage broccoli rabe rolls on parchment paper lined baking sheet.

More New York pizzeria-style recipes

Here are a few of our very favorite pizzeria-style recipes.

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Sausage Broccoli Rabe Rolls

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Cold fermenting time: 1 day
Total: 1 day 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4 rolls
Sausage broccoli rabe rolls combine sweet Italian sausage, roasted broccoli rabe, and melty mozzarella, wrapped up with pizza dough that's topped with sesame seeds and baked until golden.

Ingredients 

For the dough

  • 3 1/4 cups (406g) bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons (7g) diastatic malt powder optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) instant yeast I always use SAF brand
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (8g) fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) sugar
  • 9 ounces (260g) cool water
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) olive oil

For the sausage broccoli rabe rolls

  • 1 24 ounce pizza dough
  • 12 ounces block mozzarella shredded, I use Galbani
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe rinsed and bottom 2 inches cut off and discarded
  • 1 pound Italian sausage links with fennel
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Instructions 

For the dough

  • Place water into a bowl large enough to hold both the water and all the dry ingredients and still have room to spare. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in another bowl.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the water a bit at a time and mix thoroughly to form a dry rough mass. Pour the oil over the dough, mix again to scrape off any dough residue stuck to side of the bowl, and place the rough shaggy dough onto a work surface.
  • Knead the dough for 7 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, place a clean bowl inverted over the dough and wait 30 minutes before resuming. Return to kneading (just make sure to knead for at least a total of 7 minutes).
  • Place the bowl over the dough once more and let sit for 30-40 minutes to warm up before forming the dough ball.
  • Once the time has elapsed, pull the dough towards its end repeatedly to form a smooth ball. Pinch the seam side and place the dough ball seam side down into an oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before using.

For the sausage broccoli rabe rolls

  • Remove the dough 2 hours before using so that it warms up. Preheat oven to 425f and set the rack to the middle level.
  • Place the sausage in a baking dish and poke a few holes in each link. Roast the sausage for 20 minutes.
  • Remove and discard the bottom 2 inches of the broccoli rabe. Chop the rest into 1-inch pieces. Toss the broccoli rabe in the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and spread out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Roast the broccoli rabe for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, on a floured worked surface, open the dough ball with your hands or roll it out to a 1/4" thick circle about 17-18 inches in size. Cut the dough into 4 equal sized pie shape pieces.
  • Slice the sausage on a diagonal into 1/2" thick slices.
  • Arrange the dough with the point facing upwards and lay a 1/4 of the sausage perpendicular to the point in the center of the dough. Leave at least 1 inch of dough without sausage on each side. Place 1/4 of the broccoli rabe on top of the sausage.
  • Sprinkle 1/4 of the mozzarella and Pecorino on top of the broccoli rabe.
  • Grab the point of the dough and wrap it over the filling and then tuck it underneath leaving the seam side down.
  • Repeat for the next 3 rolls. Place all 4 rolls seam-side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Beat the egg and water together and brush it on top of each roll. Cut a few slits on top of each roll for air venting. Sprinkle each roll with the sesame seeds.
  • Bake on the middle rack for 18-22 minutes at 425f or until golden brown.  When done, let rest for at least 5 minutes.  Cut the rolls in half and serve with a side of marinara if desired for dipping. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Feel free to substitute 24 ounces of store-bought pizza dough.  
  • The dough can be cold fermented for as little as 12 hours in the fridge, to as long as 72 hours.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and can be reheated at 350f on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet until hot. About 10 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 1171kcal | Carbohydrates: 86.3g | Protein: 57.5g | Fat: 65.6g | Saturated Fat: 24.6g | Cholesterol: 209mg | Sodium: 1130mg | Potassium: 790mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3.7g | Calcium: 572mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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This recipe was originally published on June 6, 2018.  It was completely updated on April 16, 2023.

 

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    How come you used the malt powder in this one and not the others. Just asking because I use it in all of my bread including yours

    1. Hi Ileen, Jim used it in this one for added color. He didn’t use it in the older recipes because he was trying to make it in the simplest matter possible. Many people can’t access malt powder so he created the recipes with that in mind. That said, for this recipe it’s entirely optional.

  2. 5 stars
    yummy, making these tonight already have the dough in fridge for 2 days for sicilan pizza and this looks so good, two birds one stone

  3. I make these pizza rolls all the time. I would prefer ground sausage sautéed in a frying pan and then layered with the broccoli rabe. What do u think?

    1. Hi Anthony, videos take about 5 times the amount of effort and resources – they’re far more involved than a blog post. For this reason, I don’t have a video for every single recipe on my website. That being said, at some point I will likely do a video for this one or chicken rolls, however, in the mean time I’d direct you to the very detailed process photos and steps that should suffice in explaining how to make this recipe.