I’ve been super busy lately, but I got a few last-minute recipes knocked out the other week (my last recipes in that kitchen!) and these ciabatta rolls stuffed with cheese and sausage were the main star. They’re very similar to my steak and cheese stuffed pretzel bites (I even took the same photos pretty much…oops), but they have that Italian twist that makes them special. I was wary when I made these that stuffing them would deflate the dough or they’d be hockey pucks, but I was surprised they weren’t at all. They were pretty light and airy despite being stuffed – you just have to make sure that you crimp them completely – it’s so important to make sure they’re sealed tight!
Speaking of hockey pucks, this weekend, instead of staying at my apartment and packing up more boxes, I went down to see my brother. Last minute on Saturday, we decided to ditch our plans at a fancy restaurant and went with his friend to go see a hockey game. We ended up getting dinner downtown then walked over to the rink to catch the last two periods of the game. We sat in the first row and drank a couple of overpriced beers and I have to say, it was pretty awesome – especially when they won. I hung out with my brother and his friend all weekend and it was a great time to catch up and have some fun before this coming weekend. I’m going to be extra busy the next couple of weeks trying to get all settled in my new apartment, and unpacking is definitely going to take a while. I move on Friday (fingers crossed) and I’m hoping to start cooking again the following weekend. I don’t know if that’s a lofty goal or not (I’m leaning towards way lofty), but we’ll see. You can always follow along with me on Instagram to see what I’m up to – it will probably be filled with boxes, obligatory new apartment shots, and messes.
Stuffed Ciabatta Rolls with Italian Sausage and Cheese
(Adapted from The Kitchn)
Ciabatta dough from here
1/2-3/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/2-3/4 cup fontina, shredded
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 links hot italian sausage, cooked and crumbled (you can also use mild if you prefer)
*Note – normally I would re-write the recipe for the ciabatta dough, but The Kitchn did such a great job with step by step photos, that anything I would do wouldn’t even compare. You want to make the dough exactly as directed; we’re picking up after the dough has gone through it’s first rise after mixing (2-3 hour rise).*
Begin by mixing the cheeses, garlic, and sausage together in a bowl, this will make it easier to stuff the rolls. Also prepare two sheet pans with parchment paper and set near your workspace. Dust your surface with plenty of flour; the dough is very sticky. Scrape the dough out of the bowl right onto the flour. Dust your hands with a little flour then cut the dough into 16 even pieces.
Working one roll at a time, gently spread the roll out, trying not to flatten too much (don’t worry if you flatten it, I had a couple I messed up on and they still tasted good). Take about 1-2 Tbsps of the cheese/sausage mixture and place on top. Bring up the sides and crimp the dough tightly so that the filling will not escape and dust the crimped side with flour. I had a couple of rolls where the filling ran out because I did not crimp them effectively enough – they were still cheesy inside, but the ones where the filling didn’t get out were the best! Repeat with remaining rolls and place crimped side down on the parchment. Even though we’re deflating the bread we worked so hard to make rise, these still rise/bake off really well – I made a batch of plain ciabatta rolls with some leftover dough and they tasted nearly identical (minus the cheesy filling, of course!).
Since we have handled and crimped the dough, we don’t need to make the dimple marks on their tops. Let the rolls rise, uncovered, for about 40 minutes in a warm place. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place in the oven for about 25-30 minutes (some of mine even took a little longer – just watch the tops) until the bread is golden brown. During the last 15 minutes or so, I sprinkled on some leftover cheese and garlic on the tops, but that’s completely optional. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack, and finish baking the second pan. These are best same day, although you can eat them for 1-2 days after you’ve baked them.