Super Stuffed French Bread Pizza Rustica
|Time somehow got away from me yesterday - and I have no idea how that happened, as I did nothing.. nada.. not a thing. But somehow it got too late to run to the grocery store for the planned meal of Hand Hacked Pot Stickers with a Tangy Ginger Sauce from the Cooking Light book. It might have been something to do with all the fakkin rain. I swear, leave it to me to take a week off when all it does is rain. *sigh* All I could muster up the energy for yesterday was some light cleaning and mostly ploppin me arse on the couch all day watching movies and reading a book. Woo.|
So anyhoo, I didn't have the wonton wrappers to make the meal I had planned, thankfully I remembered I had promised to make Rachael Ray's Super Stuffed French Bread Pizza Rustica for Hubbs at some point in the week. Last night was the night.
I've had some luck with Rachael's recipes and then I've had some major bombs as well. I wasn't sure how these were going to turn out but I didn't have a super good feeling as I'm not a huge french bread pizza fan and well.. I'm a pizza snob in the first place. I really only like the pizza's I make that were taught to me by my Auntie Ann. But what's a girl to do when she's too lazy to round up ingredients? I didn't use the exact "stuffing" ingredients as Rachael did and pretty much just stuffed them with what we had in the fridge. But let me tell you.. these were fanfarkingtastic! I think the two reasons these turned out sooooo damn good was because of Rachael's idea of browning sausage onions and bell pepper then combining them with ricotta cheese. That was the base of the stuffing. The other reason I think they were so delicious is that I used a pork sausage made with sage that Hubbs always buys when he goes out to farm land to visit his brother's cabin. I use to never like sausage on my pizzas before, until I tried this particular sausage made exclusively at this tiny mom and pop grocery store in Jefferson, Ohio. It is fabulous.
They are very heavy as you really stuff them with a lot of "toppings". And you use a good sized loaf of French bread that you hollow out. I got about 6 nice sized slices for each half of the pizza and I could barely get two of them down, it was so filling. The bread crisps up nicely and gives a good chew along with a nice crust on the bottom - and the best thing is, with all the stuffing plus my addition of some of my marinara, the bread did not get soggy whatsoever. I sliced one half for us to enjoy and froze the other half for another day when we wanted something super quick to munch on. Had I known they'd be so damn filling, I wouldn't have baked the other half and just froze it instead. Next time I'll know.
I'm going to post Rachael's recipe as I found it on Food TV and I'll note the changes I made to ours. Try this if you are in need of something really quick and filling one night.. they were awesome. =)
1 (2 foot long) loaf French bread
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 package frozen chopped spinach defrosted and squeezed dry (I didn't have spinach, so it was omitted)
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups part skim ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 pound sweet sopressata, from the deli, sliced thick, chopped (Didn't have this as well, so it was omitted)
1/2 stick pepperoni, chopped (I didn't chop mine, but made a layer under the cheese of sliced pepperoni)
1 sack (10 ounces) shredded mozzarella (I used the crumbled Italian 4 cheese blend type cheese)
1 sack (10 ounces) shredded provolone
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
I added maybe 1/4 cup of my marinara, which I spread lightly over the sausage mixture, before adding the rest of my toppings. It wasn't much - but enough to add a little more moisture to the mix. I also added mild banana peppers, black olives and sliced mushrooms.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Split bread lengthwise and hollow it out. Cut in half across, making 4 shells for pizzas.
Heat a skillet over medium high flame and brown sausage in extra-virgin olive oil. Brown and crumble sausage. Add red bell pepper, onion and garlic. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, add spinach. Remove mixture from heat and season with a pinch of salt and black pepper, to your taste.
Transfer to a bowl. Combine sausage and veggies with ricotta, Parmesan, sopressata and pepperoni. Fill bread shells and top with mounded mozzarella and provolone cheeses. Place in hot oven on cookie sheet and bake until cheese melts and bubbles and bread is super crisp, about 10 to 12 minutes. Top pizzas with oregano and hot pepper flakes. Serve immediately, or snack all night!