Guest Post: Cheesy Spinach and Sausage Roll


Today’s generous, wonderful, appetising guest post comes from Heather at Sugar Dish Me. Heather is a great writer and I am really touched that she’d offer to write me a post for Rock Salt – and what a post it is! You’re in for a big treat today. I am slightly worried that after all these guests posts (there are more to come, oh yes) you will all be spoiled and go off to read these other blogs instead of mine. It is a risk I’ll have to take.
Heather went to extra pains to send me this post, with her photos refusing to be sent in an email without putting up a fight, and I commend her patience and dedication to the task at hand. Thank you, Heather. You are awesome.

So Carol Anne is writing a novel. In a month. Because she’s crazy brave. And so, in support of her efforts, on this day you are stuck with me!

I’m Heather. I write a food blog called Sugar Dish Me, which is basically a collection of homestyle recipes and baked  goods fueled by a steady diet of caffeine and sprinkled with my [slightly annoyed] musings about my family.

I love love love to read, and I love to write… but a novel is a whole different kind of dragon to slay. Two huge thumbs up to all of you that are taking the plunge with the NaNoWriMo challenge. Also cookies. You deserve lots of cookies. Sometimes when I’m reading something particularly well-written, especially because talented authors have the ability to knit words together and make it seem effortless, I have these moments where I think, “Hey!! I could do this!!”

My lapses of grand delusion pass just as quickly as they come though, and I remember I should just stick to what I’m good at: smartass comments and making a gigantic mess in the kitchen. Today the kitchen mess I’m offering is a Sausage and Spinach Roll. It’s kind of like pizza, except I have a deep and unequivocal love for bread and things like pizza crust. So this is all the goodness of pizza toppings, minus the sauce (because sauces are infinitely more fun when you can dip things in them), and with a double dose of chewy bready crust.

I like spicy Italian sausage here, but really this recipe is only limited by your imagination. Pick your favorite flavor combinations and run with them. I make this often with chicken, my boys love turkey pepperoni, and sometimes I just load it up with vegetables. Hellooooo roasted broccoli and red peppers.

Anyway.

For this go I used spicy Italian sausage, slightly wilted spinach, sweet caramelized red onions, lots of garlic, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.

Sometimes the dough tears when you’re rolling it.

Don’t worry!!! Rustic is a thing.

Also, if you are a freak of perfection nature and your dough doesn’t tear when you roll it up, you need to puncture it anyway. I like evenly spaced knife perforations straight across the top. This allows the cheese to get all melty and bubbly. It also keeps the dough from puffing up in an explosive way.

Place the sausage rolls on lightly greased baking sheets and brush the tops with olive oil.

While you wait for these things to bake go read something.

But don’t be like me and forget that you put food in the oven while you are so involved with words on the page.

I slice these like I would a loaf of bread. And serve them with plenty of tomato sauce for dipping.

Works great as party food or as a cozy homestyle meal. Sometimes I do a few different versions and then we all just mix and match.

This also counts as finger food which means that you can hold a bready slice in one hand while clutching a paperback with the other, because nothing is quite as filling as words on the page.

Note: These instructions are a bit long; I was aiming for a detailed recipe, so included are directions for making the dough, start to finish, as well as assembling and baking the rolls. If you like a short cut or don’t have all day to fool around in the kitchen this is still excellent using store bought dough. Just skip through the recipe to the part that specifies “For the Filling” and have at it.

Cheesy Spinach & Sausage Roll

For the Dough: (make your own with this super simple recipe or purchase pre-made dough)

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 envelope)
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and active dry yeast. Stir in the water (I like to use a big wooden spoon) until a shaggy dough forms. Use your fingers to press in any remnants of the dry ingredients and then set the bowl aside for about 15 minutes to let the dough rest.

On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough out and knead for 8-10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic, adding a bit more flour while kneading if you need it. Form a ball.

Pour the 2 teaspoons of olive oil into a large clean bowl. Place the ball of dough into the oiled bowl and turn it a few times to coat. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour. It should have  doubled in size.

Punch the dough down, re-cover it, and let it rise for another 45 minutes to an hour.

During this second rise, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (Celsius conversion, anybody?) (Note from Carol Anne: that’s 200C) and go ahead and prepare the rest of your ingredients (as listed below).

For the Filling:

  • 1 pound Italian sausage, crumbled and browned
  • 1 medium to large red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces fresh spinach OR frozen spinach, thawed with the liquid squeezed out completely
  • 4 cloves garlic, very finely minced
  • 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • olive oil for brushing the tops of the rolls, plus a tad bit more for cooking the vegetables, as needed
  • Tomato Sauce for dipping

Lightly grease a baking sheet; one with sides works best.

Divide the dough into two pieces (dividing the dough in half will yield two large rolls, as shown in the photos above. If you prefer smaller pieces to work with feel free to divide it further. The instructions provided are for a yield of 2 large loaves).

Stretch the dough into rough circles – I’m not really particular about the shape, just that the dough is stretched to an even thickness. Place the stretched dough onto a floured work surface. Sprinkle each stretched dough with half of the sausage.

In the skillet that you used to brown the sausage add the onion, olive oil, butter, and salt. Over medium heat, caramelize the onion. This will take 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of your slices.

Spread the caramelized onions over the crumbled sausage.

In the same skillet add the spinach and garlic. You may need to add another teaspoon of oil. Cook over medium high heat until the spinach is just wilted and the garlic has become fragrant, about a minute. Maybe 2 or 3. (If you chose to use frozen spinach, just cook the garlic here.)

Spread the spinach/ garlic over the onions and sausage.

Sprinkle the cheese over the spinach, 1 to 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella across each, and 1/8 of a cup of parmesan over each.

Pick a side to start rolling (as shown in the photos above), tucking the sides in as you go. If your dough tears keep going and stretch the dough across the tears as best you can. Note that cold dough (store-bought) will tear more easily than dough at room temperature. Tuck the sides in as you go. Place the two rolls on the prepared baking sheets. If your dough did not tear, use a knife to perforate across the top in a few places. Brush each roll with olive oil.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Let them rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Eat.

Thank you again Heather, this looks amazing. Can’t wait to give it a go – maybe even a sourdough version? It’s a possibility… I have taken two main lessons from this post, as follows:

  1. Rustic is a Thing
  2. Explosive dough is not the desired result here

Important lessons for us all, I think you will agree.

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About Rock Salt

Seasoning while rocking out since 1983. View all posts by Rock Salt

6 responses to “Guest Post: Cheesy Spinach and Sausage Roll

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