Italian Sausage Bread

  • Yield: 12 to 14 servings

"I watched my mother cook as a young girl and have added my own touch to her Italian food. I made sausage bread on Christmas Eve for my family raising seven children and it is still their favorite dish when they visit. Buono Appetito!"

Ingredients

2 (1-pound) packages frozen loaf bread dough
2pounds Italian sausage
7 eggs
2pounds ricotta cheese
2tablespoons Italian seasonings (any combination of oregano, basil, rosemary, garlic, red or black pepper, celery, and salt)
2tablespoons bread crumbs
1/4cup grated Romano cheese
1/4cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2pound provolone cheese, sliced
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2cup sliced black olives (optional)
10ounces frozen spinach, thawed, chopped, and patted dry (optional)
Olive oil

Instructions

  1. Thaw the bread dough according to the package instructions. Allow it to complete its first rising.
  2. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch deep casserole dish.
  3. While the dough is rising, cook and crumble the Italian sausage.
  4. Boil 6 of the eggs.
  5. Slightly beat the remaining egg. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, Italian seasonings, beaten egg, bread crumbs, Romano and Parmesan. Add the cooked sausage, mozzarella, and tomato sauce to the ricotta mixture. Chop the hard-boiled eggs, and fold them in. Add the olives and spinach, if desired. Place half of the bread dough into the prepared dish.
  6. Press the dough evenly on the bottom of the pan with about 2 inches of extra dough rising up the sides. Spoon the sausage filling into this shell. Cover the filling with the provolone slices. Roll the second piece of dough out flat enough to cover the top of the provolone slices. Pinch the edges of the dough all around to seal. Punch holes in the top with the tines of a fork. Baste with a thin coat of olive oil, and let it rise for 30 minutes, covered with plastic wrap in a warm place. While the bread is rising this second time, preheat the oven to 350F.
  7. After the second rising, bake the stuffed bread for 45 minutes, until lightly browned and well cooked in the center.

Tips From Our Test Kitchen:
Make this recipe ahead of time and freeze it if desired. This hearty dish makes a great meal with a green salad.

Recipe by Angeline C. Green, Sebring, Fla.

 

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