When my family gets together, you can bet on 2 things. One, we will find a restaurant with a Bring Your Own Beverage policy and a proprietor who knows your name, even if you just walked in. Two, most of our conversations, especially those had during a meal, are most likely about other meals. We like to talk about food–what to order, what we’ve ordered in the past, how to make the best _____, what’s on the menu for the week, and of course, our favorite meals growing up.
I love that we do this. Because of this blog I feel a ridiculous amount of self-appointed guilt when I make the same thing twice, unless it’s tacos, which happens at least once a week. I’m always asking people what they make for weeknight meals to get inspiration. Talking about old favorite recipes of mine not only take me for a trip down memory lane, but these meals that my parents would make on a weekly basis for their busy family are now exactly what I find myself wanting to eat. Quick, easy, and delicious.
Sitting around the table this past weekend, we were doing just that–talking about what my parents would throw together for family dinners. My brother brought up pepperoni rolls, which I had completely forgotten about, but could almost taste once I was reminded. Pepperoni and cheese rolled up into canned breadstick dough, baked, sliced, and dipped into marinara sauce was dinner, and it was good.
I needed to make pepperoni rolls happen, and I needed to do it fast. I decided to sub the canned dough for pizza dough, and to make one version traditionally, with pepperoni and mozzarella, then branch out for the other roll and make it with Italian sausage and creamy ricotta cheese. Both were dreamy and exactly as I remembered them.
Let’s roll some pizza!
Remove the casings from hot Italian sausage links and brown, breaking up into bits as you go.
When the sausage is completely cooked, drain the fat and transfer to a plate. Set aside.
For the actual pizza roll construction, I started with homemade pizza dough that was made not at my home, and not at any home actually, but at the grocery store pizza kitchen. My new grocery store, with which I’m in a very serious relationship, has a fresh pizza counter in the “cafe” section, so I went and asked for 2 dough balls, which together were about as big as one recipe of homemade pizza dough. You can usually also find fresh dough in the deli section, in which case split it in half.
Drizzle some olive oil over a baking sheet. Spread out half of the dough as thin as you can. Add some shredded mozzarella, then some good pepperoni (go to the deli for this one!), and some fresh mozzarella.
Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat.
Roll it up by tucking in the two shorter ends about an inch, then bring the two longer sides together to meet in the middle. Pinch all seams together, then sprinkle some more shredded mozzarella on top.
Repeat with the other half of the dough, substituting fresh mozzarella with dollops of ricotta cheese, and pepperoni for sausage. Roll it up and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes, until deeply golden brown. I would lean more towards over cooking than under cooking, because you don’t want the ends to be doughy. And I like well-done pizza. So there’s that.
Let them cool about 5 minutes before slicing. You’ll want to slice right away, but you shouldn’t. That cheese is lava and it will ooze out everywhere while burning off your fingertips. Be careful.
Slice them into strips and serve with marinara sauce that has been heated up. (If you are from my home state, or you just like to trash up your food, you could serve them with Ranch Dressing and live happy. But if you’re totally grossed out by that, pretend you never saw this).
The pepperoni roll was spicy and cheesy and I loved it. The sausage roll was meaty, savory and the creamy ricotta was divine. K ended up liking the sausage roll best, while I leaned more towards the spicy pepperoni. However, both were amazing, just as I remembered.
These are delicious, fast, and couldn’t be simpler. You could make your own dough, or you could buy it. You could change up the fillings, the cheeses, or the dipping sauce. They are endlessly customizable and perfect for a weeknight meal. They’ll please anyone in your party, I promise. Oh! A party! They’d also be perfect for that.
Here’s the recipe!
Stuffed Pizza Rolls, Two Ways
- 1 recipe pizza dough, divided into two equal pieces
- Olive oil
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1/4 pound pepperoni
- 1 package spicy Italian sausage (usually about 5 or 6 links), casing removed
- Fresh mozzarella, sliced or torn into pieces
- Ricotta cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Marinara sauce for serving
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.
- Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking up as you go. When completely cooked, drain and transfer to a plate. Set aside.
- Stretch or roll 1/2 of the dough into a long rectangular shape. Add half of the shredded mozzarella, then the pepperoni, then the fresh mozzarella slices. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Fold the ends of the dough in and then bring together the two longer sides to the middle. Pinch all seams, then sprinkle with a little more mozzarella.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the sausage roll, but add sausage instead of pepperoni and ricotta instead of mozzarella.
- Bake for 15 minutes, rotating once, until the rolls are deeply golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Slice into pieces and serve with marinara sauce.