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Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Stromboli Rolls

Pizza lovers: this one's for you.

Stromboli rolls filled with sausage, broccoli rabe, and provolone, topped with basil.

Pizza rolls beware: stromboli rolls have arrived to steal your thunder. Filled with sweet Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, and provolone, these rolls will deliver all the saucy, cheesy pizza goodness we crave in a soft fluffy package.

Pizza dough rolled out and topped with marinara sauce, sausaage, broccoli rabe, and provolone.

Buying good quality dough from a local pizzeria is usually an acceptable short-cut for me, but for this recipe, I highly recommend making your own dough from scratch. This ensures your dough will be soft and elastic enough to roll out, layer with the toppings, and shape, and will also prove and bake into super fluffy rolls.

While making dough from scratch might be intimidating, it’s really not difficult. Here are a few tips to set you on the way to pizza roll perfection:

Use a scale. Flour is notoriously tricky to measure correctly using measuring cups, and measuring incorrectly might result in as much as 20% extra flour in the mix—a sure recipe for dry rolls. Set yourself up for success by using a scale to weigh out all your ingredients  and ensure you’re adding the correct amounts.

Proof your yeast. I love using active dry yeast (as opposed to instant) because it requires that you proof it: mix it with warm liquid and a little sugar and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. During that time, the mixture should turn creamy, froth a bit, and start smelling yeasty: definitive evidence that the yeast is alive and active. If it just sits there, looking like a bowl of warm water with grey specks floating in it, toss it out and start again with a new packet. Better to throw away a little water and sugar than dump an entire batch of unrisen dough in the garbage.

Knead using a machine (if possible). This dough will be sticky, so if you’re kneading by hand, you may need to dust it with a little more flour in order to work with it. Adding extra flour risks drying out the dough (see #1 above!), so it’s best to keep this “bench flour” to a minimum. Kneading in a machine eliminates it entirely, which means that your bread promises to be its maximum moisture—and ultimate texture.

Punch the dough down. Before turning the dough out onto the work surface to roll out, you’ll want to punch it down. This releases the carbon dioxide built up inside the dough, eliminating the random air pockets that have formed inside. This step, while seemingly small, will make it easier to roll out and fill.

These stromboli rolls can be filled with any combination of meat, cheese, and veggies. Sausage, broccoli rabe, and provolone is a classic combination that I personally love, but if you’d rather mix it up, you could do pepperoni, olives, and mozzarella (another classic combo), or even ham and pineapple if you want to get a little crazy. Anything that you’d put on a pizza, you can put in a stromboli roll.



Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Stromboli Rolls

(Makes 12)

Stromboli rolls filled with sausage, broccoli rabe, and provolone, topped with basil.

For the dough:

1 1/3 cup (320 mL) water, heated to 110 ° F, divided

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

2 ¼ tsp. (1 pkg, 7 g.) active dry yeast

3 ¾ cups (450 g.) bread flour

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. Diamond Crystal kosher salt

Cooking spray, for greasing


For the filling:

1 tsp. kosher salt

8 oz. broccoli rabe, trimmed

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

16 oz. sweet Italian sausage

½ tsp. red pepper flake


For assembly:

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 cup (4 oz.) finely shredded Provolone cheese

1 cup marinara sauce, plus more for serving

Fresh basil, for serving

Special equipment: stand mixer (optional), rolling pin, two sheet pans, parchment paper.



For the dough:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 2/3 cup water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast over top and let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until foamy.

Pizza dough in a bowl.

Add flour, olive oil, salt, and remaining 2/3 cup warm water, and stir at low speed until a tacky dough forms. Increase to medium-high speed and beat for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough slaps against the bowl and becomes smooth and elastic (it will still be a bit sticky).

Grease a large bowl with cooking spray. Using a bowl scraper, turn out dough into bowl, cover, and let sit in a warm room for 60-90 minutes, or until doubled in size.  

Pizza dough rolled out and topped with marinara sauce, sausaage, broccoli rabe, and provolone.

For the filling:

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over medium heat, bring ¼” water to a boil. Stir in 1 tsp. kosher salt, then add broccoli rabe. Cover and steam until just tender, 2-3 minutes. Uncover and remove from pan, draining carefully. Transfer to a cutting board and shop into ¼” pieces. Set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat and add olive oil. Add sausage and cook, breaking up into pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5-7 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more, then add broccoli rabe and toss until incorporated. Remove from heat and let cool.

For assembly:

Preheat the oven to 400 ° F, racks positioned in the upper and lower thirds.

Stromboli roll filled with sausage, broccoli rabe, and provolone.

Lightly flour a clean work surface. Punch down dough and turn out onto work surface. Roll out into a large rectangle, about 18”x12,” and spread with 1 cup pizza sauce, leaving an inch border on the long side furthest away. Top with sausage and broccoli rabe mixture and sprinkle evenly with provolone cheese. Starting at the long side opposite the border, roll up into a neat log. Using a sharp knife, cut log into twelve even slices.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange 6 rolls on each baking sheet. Cover lightly and let rise for 25 minutes or until the rolls appear slightly puffed.

Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking 7-12 minutes longer, or until golden brown on the sides and bottom. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, then serve warm.

Stromboli rolls filled with sausage, broccoli rabe, and provolone, topped with basil.

Originally posted February 25, 2024.

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