Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza baked hot and bubbly and garnished with fennel fronds.

Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

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I say start the new year with pizza! Yes, that’s right, crispy, cheesy, flavour-packed Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza. We can not make just any pizza, it truly needs to be a cast-iron pizza to start the new year right. It creates the best golden and crisp underside that you’ll ever create at home, and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making all your pizzas this way. Most new year resolutions include some form of healthy eating, but I think the new year (because it’s gonna be great) deserves full-on, carefree, in your face deliciousness. The sausage and fennel combination has not only become my new favourite, cooking it in a cast-iron pan tips it over the edge of my pizza nirvana. So move over plain ol’ pepperoni pizza… grown-up pizza just walked in.

A cast iron skillet full of of ingredients for Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza.
Pizza dough, marinara sauce and fennel ready for Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza.

With the new year upon us, we have no choice but to be hopeful for a more user-friendly year. Even though I can consider 2020 a good year, it hasn’t been without its frustrations, and for many people, it has been a year of hardship and heartache. While we can’t eat cheesy, sausage laden pizza all the time, it’s a good reminder to enjoy a few of the simpler things that we can. It’s also great fun to create homemade pizza at home with loved ones lending a helping hand.

All the best in 2021, let’s eat!

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza garnished with fennel fronds and cut into slices on a black cutting board.

Sausage and Fennel Cast Iron Pizza garnished with fennel fronds and cut into slices on a black cutting board.
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Sausage and Fennel Cast-Iron Pizza

Course Main Course
Keyword baked, cast iron, cast iron pizza, fennel, garlic, Italian sausage, mozzerella, olive oil, pizza, pizza dough
Cook Time 14 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 8-10 ounces pizza dough homemade or store-bought
  • 8 ounces Italian sausage about 2 links, casing removed
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1/3 cup marinara sauce homemade or store bought
  • 3 ounces shredded mozzarella about 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced plus fronds for garnish
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Set oven rack to its uppermost position. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  • Drizzle room temperature pizza dough with 1 tbsp olive oil and press out to a 10" round. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a 10" cast-iron skillet. Add Italian sausage and cook over medium, breaking up any large pieces. Once cooked and slightly crisp remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • With the heat still on medium/low, immediately lay pizza dough in the pan, stretching out to the edges using a spatula or spoon if necessary. Top dough with marinara, then mozzarella, fennel, garlic and sausage. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and check the underside which should be starting to brown and crisp. Transfer pan to oven and bake until bubbling, about 10-14 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with red pepper flakes, and fennel fronds or fresh basil. Lift out of the pan and cut into wedges and serve.

Notes

-The dough will press out better on a wooden surface such as a cutting board as opposed to granite or super-smooth surfaces.
-I prefer a thinner crust and opt for 8 ounces of dough vs 10.  It is 10 ounces pictured in the blog.
-Makes one 10" pizza, however, a 12" cast-iron skillet would work too, just use the 10 ounces of dough.  There's plenty of topping, so there's no need to adjust unless you'd like more cheese.
-The original recipe from Bon Appétit suggests garnishing with fresh basil, however, I enjoy using fresh fennel fronds instead, but it's a matter of preference and both are delicious. 

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Meaty Baked Pasta

Meaty Baked Pasta

Well, baked pasta is far from anything new.  This little version is my own yet very similar to many that are out there.  It’s more of a reminder of how wonderful a baked pasta can be.  There are a few steps involved so I wouldn’t call it the best weeknight meal.  However, Meaty Baked Pasta is just what the family calls for on the weekend.  

With this pasta casserole, you will find a meaty sauce that includes ground beef and Italian sausage, a light and creamy ricotta cheese layer that helps to balance the acid in the tomato sauce.  More sauce hugged pasta with chunks of tomato that is broiled oozy with mozzarella and parmesan.  It’s the kind of dish you know you should stop eating, but just can’t.

It serves many with even a few leftovers.  If planning ahead, you may want to assemble in two casserole dishes, bake one and freeze the other for a later meal when time is not your friend. 

Meaty Baked Pasta is homey, satisfying and best of all cheesy!  It’s not diet friendly, so I won’t pretend that it is.  Everything in moderation, right?  Enjoy!

Meaty Baked Pasta is hot and cheesy from the oven in a blue casserole dish with handles. There is a serving spoon half tucked into the pasta. The dish rests on a cork pot holder that is draped with a white and navy towel. Fresh basil sits in the background.
Meaty Baked Pasta
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    8-10 people 40 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    40 minutes 5 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    8-10 people 40 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    40 minutes 5 minutes
    Meaty Baked Pasta is hot and cheesy from the oven in a blue casserole dish with handles. There is a serving spoon half tucked into the pasta. The dish rests on a cork pot holder that is draped with a white and navy towel. Fresh basil sits in the background.
    Meaty Baked Pasta
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      8-10 people 40 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      40 minutes 5 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      8-10 people 40 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      40 minutes 5 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      1. Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften, stirring often.
      2. Add ground beef and Italian sausage. Cook until browned and no longer pink, breaking apart any large chunks and stirring often. Dab out any excess fat with a paper towel.
      3. To the meat add marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and chili flakes.
      4. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 20- 25 minutes to meld flavours.
      5. While meat sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions using well-salted water. (about 1 tbsp regular salt to 4 litres of water). Drain pasta and set aside.
      6. Preheat oven to 350℉.
      7. In a small bowl stir together ricotta, half of the mozzarella, half of the parmesan, dried basil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
      8. Lightly spray a 9"x13" casserole dish with non stick spray. Add half the cooked pasta and half of the meat sauce to the casserole dish. Stir to combine. Spread with ricotta cheese mixture.
      9. To the pot with the remaining pasta add remaining meat sauce. Stir to combine and pour over ricotta cheese layer. Top with remaining half of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
      10. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes until bubbly. Broil for 2-3 to blister the cheese. Remove and allow to rest 3-5 minutes prior to serving.

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      Rustic Potato and Sausage Soup

      Rustic Potato and Sausage Soup

      The new year is upon us…

      Many of us are thinking of eating healthier, and I’m a firm believer that eating well and eating foods you enjoy should go hand in hand. Rustic Potato and Sausage Soup is guilt-free comfort food that’s loaded with kale and vegetables.  It’s a homey soup that’s warming and hearty with a rich tomato laced chicken broth, tender baby potatoes, Italian sausage and vegetables. Paprika, garlic, and fresh herbs give added depth of flavour to this rustic, chunky soup. 

      Healthy potatoes, rich in potassium and vitamin C add fibre with their skins and a rustic earthiness.  Tender kale, also rich in nutrients, gently clings to all it surrounds for a wonderful spoonful.  It’s the best of both worlds, being hearty and comforting while still being healthy, satisfying, and full of flavour.  So even if eating better is not on your resolution list this year, you’ll still want a big bowl of this satisfying soup.  Enjoy!

      Author:  Compelled to Cook

      Rustic Potato and Sausage Soup
      Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      8 cups 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      35-40 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      8 cups 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      35-40 minutes
      Rustic Potato and Sausage Soup
      Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      8 cups 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      35-40 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      8 cups 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      35-40 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: cups
      Instructions
      1. Over medium heat add 1 tbsp of olive to a large pot or dutch oven. Add sausage links and cook until golden and no longer pink, turning often about 15 minutes.
      2. Remove cooked sausage to a paper towel-lined dish to absorb any excess fat. To the same pot add remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic, sauté for 4-5 minutes until starting to soften and have sweat off some of their moisture.
      3. Pour in chicken broth and tomatoes crushed with your hands. Add potatoes, bay leaf, oregano, parsley, and both paprikas. Cover and simmer on low for about 10 minutes until potatoes are almost tender. While soup is cooking, chop kale and cooked sausage into bite-size pieces.
      4. Add kale and sausage to the pot and continue to cook partially covered for about 5 minutes until kale is cooked but still has some colour and bite. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately with crusty bread if desired.

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      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
      Italian Turkey Kale Rolls

      Italian Turkey Kale Rolls

      With this weeks wintery weather here in western Canada I can safely say it’s casserole season! Which for me is a great because I love saucy and satisfying dishes that warm the house and fill it with mouth watering aroma. So while I’m not actually crazy about the weather, it does give cause to make Italian Turkey Kale Rolls. They’re a tasty way to warm your belly and beat off this weeks chill.

      Ground turkey is spiced up with Italian sausage, herbs and spices then combined with rice and rolled into kale leaves. Baked until flavours meld and the turkey is cooked through then topped with a sprinkling of cheese and given a quick broil. The resulting roll is tender, full of flavour and laden with tomatoey sauce. These tasty rolls are hearty and satisfying without being heavy, not to mention a great way to eat a little kale.

      I would consider Italian Turkey Kale Rolls a weekend recipe as there’s some prep and an hour long baking time. So a lazy Sunday afternoon is in order. The recipe does make 14 large rolls which for many of us will mean leftovers. Easy to portion out and freeze the leftovers to save for another wintery day when your time is limited.  Enjoy!

      Recipe source for Italian Turkey Kale Rolls:  Compelled To Cook

       

      Italian Turkey Kale Rolls
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        14 rolls 45 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        63 minutes 5 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        14 rolls 45 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        63 minutes 5 minutes
        Italian Turkey Kale Rolls
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          14 rolls 45 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          63 minutes 5 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          14 rolls 45 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          63 minutes 5 minutes
          Ingredients
          Rolls
          Servings: rolls
          Instructions
          Rolls
          1. Bring water and salt to a boil, add rice, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool while continuing.
          2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a simmer. Trim the bottom 2-3 inches from kale leaves. Blanch leaves in water for 3 minutes. Remove using a slotted scoop to a cold water bath or cold running water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
          3. In a large bowl combine ground turkey, Italian sausage, onion, green pepper, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Mix gently just to combine all ingredients. Gently mix in rice.
          4. Preheat oven to 350℉. Lay a kale leaf flat and dab with a paper towel to grab any excess moisture. Scoop a generous 1/4 cup of filling onto leaf and roll leaf over filling, tucking in the sides as mush as possible. If the leaf is not large enough to tuck the sides simply press them around the filling. Place roll into a greased 13"x 9" casserole dish. Repeat with remaining kale and filling, stacking rolls tightly in pan getting 2 rows of 7.
          5. Pour sauce evenly over rolls, cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired and broil 2-3 minutes. Allow to rest for 5 minutes prior to serving.
          Sauce
          1. In a medium bowl whisk together all ingredients and set aside until rolls are assembled.
          Recipe Notes

          I found that it takes 3 bunches of fresh kale to yield the 14 large leaves.  Save the smaller leaves for another use. It may be necessary to trim out about 1" of the center stem from the bottom of the cooked kale leaf to allow the leaf to roll nicely.  Don't worry too much about tucking in the sides as they are packed tightly in the pan and hold their shape when cooked.

          Kale and Sausage Pastry Roll

          Kale and Sausage Pastry Roll

          Kale and Sausage Pastry Roll is a fantastic brunch or appetizer dish. It combines convenience with rustic flavours by using Pillsbury Crescent Roll Dough, kale and Italian sausage. A great way to use kale as its sturdy leaves stand up to a little braising and pairs well with Italian sausage and cheese.

          This perfectly golden pastry roll can easily be made up in advance and popped in the oven at the last minute, saving you time to spend with friends and family. The slices are plump with braised kale, melty cheese and Italian sausage, making it delicious with eggs. It’s a great addition to your brunch table.

          Recipe Source:  Compelled To Cook

           

          Kale and Sausage Pastry Roll
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            5-6 people 15 minutes
            Cook Time
            55-60 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            5-6 people 15 minutes
            Cook Time
            55-60 minutes
            Kale and Sausage Pastry Roll
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              5-6 people 15 minutes
              Cook Time
              55-60 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              5-6 people 15 minutes
              Cook Time
              55-60 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: people
              Instructions
              1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet. Cook sausage until no longer pink and starting to brown. Remove sausage to a paper towel lined plate. In same skillet over medium heat, add remaining tbsp oil and sauté onion for 3-4 minutes, add garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Stir in kale, broth, Italian seasoning, pepper and chili flakes. Allow to simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until liquid is absorbed and kale is tender, about 15 minutes. There should be no visible liquid left. Remove to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
              2. Preheat oven to 375℉. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Unroll dough and separate each triangle. On the prepared pan, place 4 triangles in a horizontal line, lining up the corners of the shorter side. Place remaining 4 triangles parallel to the first 4, joining the bottoms of each triangle. 4 triangle tips will be pointing toward you while the other 4 away from you. See blog post for photo. Press dough together along the seam and press out slightly with your fingers, creating an approximate 3" dough surface for the filling.
              3. To the kale mixture, stir in sausage meat, gruyere cheese, and 2 tbsp of parmesan. Scoop out filling onto prepared dough bed in a straight horizontal line, keeping filling on the dough seam and leaving a 1" border at the ends. Slice tomato into 1/4" thick slices and lay slices in a flat row along the top of the filling row. Sprinkle tomatoes with remaining 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese. Lift and bring triangle tips over and across filling, alternating tips. Cut excess dough from triangle tip and tuck end under. Use any excess dough to stretch and cover any filling spots that get missed in the first pass. Tuck and pinch ends together. The roll should be approximately 14" long.
              4. Whisk egg with a 1 tbsp of water and brush over roll. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove and cut into 2-3" slices and serve immediately.
              Recipe Notes

              Makes a great brunch item or appetizer.