Italian Sausage and Cauliflower Bread Roll


Rotolo means roll in Italian.  This recipe for filled bread roll (rotolo) has a savory cauliflower and sausage filling.  The process is similar to making cinnamon rolls – except you don’t cut it before baking.  You can stuff a rotolo with just about any combination of ingredients you desire – spinach, ricotta, and pancetta; Italian sausage, peppers, and onions; pizza sauce, ham cubes, and mozzarella, etc. It makes a great appetizer or sandwich.


Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 envelope yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water, divided
1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
3 cups cauliflower florets, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper

1 large egg, beaten
Sesame seeds (optional)

MAKE THE BREAD:  Place flour in a medium bowl and whisk in salt.  Place 1/4 cup water in an electric mixer bowl, stir in sugar and yeast.  Let stand about 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy.  Using a dough hook attachment, at low speed, stir in flour, remaining water, and olive oil.  Beat for approximately 8 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.  Place in a large bowl greased with olive oil and let rise until double in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  You can also let the dough rise in the refrigerator for several hours, until you are ready to bake it.

MAKE THE FILLING:  Using a covered skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the cauliflower and 1/4 cup of water.  Cover and cook over low heat for 6 minutes. Season with salt to taste.  Remove the cover and continue cooking 5 minutes longer, until tender and lightly browned.  Stir occasionally.  Transfer cauliflower to a medium bowl.  Add sausage to the hot skillet.  Using a wooden spoon break the sausage apart into small pieces and cook over med-high heat, until the sausage is cooked through and no longer pink, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Place into the bowl with the cauliflower using a slotted spoon to drain some of the fat.  Stir in the parsley and cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

MAKE THE ROTOLO:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Roll the dough into a 15-inch by 20-inch rectangle, with the longest side towards you.  The dough should be about 1/4-inch thick.  Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all around.  Beginning from the edge closest to you, using both hands, fold the edge of dough over the filling and lightly roll the dough away from you into a log.  Pinch the dough together along the seam. Carefully turn the roll over and place seam-side down onto the prepared pan.  It may be necessary to lay the roll diagonally across the pan so that it fits.  You can also place it on the pan folded in a horseshoe-shape. Fold both of the open ends under and lightly squeeze along the roll to even out.  Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds if using.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until browned.  Let rest for 30 minutes.  To serve, cut into individual portions with a serrated bread knife.

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