Feeds 8 to 12
This is my version of a recipe that's been bouncing around my family for years. It's more Italian than barbecue, but who cares? It's definitely a crowd pleaser. We get our fresh bread dough from the Columbus Bakery, a legendary family-run bakery in Syracuse.
1-1/4 pounds Italian bread dough
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/4 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
Pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 to 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
8 ounces sliced provolone cheese (about 10 slices)
1/4 cup pitted, chopped kalamata olives
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
10 fresh basil leaves
Remove the bread dough from the bag it was sold in, and shape it into a ball. Set it on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and cover with a dish towel. Let it rise at room temperature for about 1 hour, or til doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pour the oil into a large skillet. Fling in the onions and peppers, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sizzle over medium-high heat til soft. Toss in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Crumble in the sausage and cook, chopping and stirring to break up the meat into small pieces. Once it loses its pink color, slide the pan off the heat. Drain the cooked mixture in a colander and let it cool down.
Stretch the dough out into a 15-inch square. Cover with the provolone, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Top with the sausage mixture, followed by the olives and Pecorino Romano. Wash and dry the basil leaves, chop them, and sprinkle over the stuffing ingredients.
Grab the edge of the dough nearest you with two hands, and fold it up over the filling to the middle of the square. Flop the newly folded edge nearest you over again, this time three-fourths of the way up the square. Now reach over and bring the last part of the square—the part farthest from you—toward you and up onto the top. Pinch the dough together along the length of the seam and along the edges to seal.
Oil a large jelly roll pan, and carefully flip the loaf onto the pan, seam side down. Brush the bread with oil and bake for 45 minutes, til golden brown. Cool for at least 20 minutes, and then cut into 1-inch slices. Serve warm.
An American Roadhouse
By John Stage and Nancy Radke
Ten Speed Press, 2001
192 pages, full-color photographs throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created September 2001